September 02, 2012

Distance Learning : An Inverted Model for Indian B-Schools

"No army can stop an idea whose time has come." This quotation from Victor Hugo  has often been used in defence of many new but unpopular ideas and I will invoke it here to justify the usage of distance learning techniques, particularly in business schools that lead up to an MBA degree.
Image "borrowed" from http://smude.edu.in/blog/tags/distance-education

Whether we like it or not, many global trends are first set in the United States and then the rest of the world joins in and distance learning is one of them. Respected and well known schools like Stanford, Harvard and others are offering a large number of undergraduate and postgraduate programs that are based on a calibrated mixture of on-line and on-campus pedagogy.

Despite criticisms of being less effective than face-to-face teaching, distance learning is here to stay and grow because of compelling economic reasons -- many students are simply not able to pay the kind of fees that big US schools charge and unless schools are able to offer education at the price point that students can afford, the invisible hand of the free market will make the business of B-Schools unviable ! So just as US companies have accepted the hard economic reality of software services being outsourced to India, so will B-Schools accept the reality of distance learning.

But as many all cases, the Indian market is different from the US and that is why it may make sense to invert the model that is being followed in the US. In the US, the dominant pattern is that the faculty is sitting in Harvard or Stanford whereas the students are scattered anywhere in the world -- as long as they have a broadband Internet connection and a credit card. You register, pay, log-in and access course material either synchronously ( as in live lectures ) or asynchronously by downloading videos, slide decks and books. The only real challenge is the evaluation or examination process where it is difficult to ensure a no-cheating rule but it is a matter of time before even this will be resolved.

How is this different from the Indian B-School market ?

In India there is no dearth of "customer"s and students are flocking to even some very shady B-Schools that have been created by crooked entrepreneurs with the active connivance of the regulatory bodies for higher education. But the real trouble is that there is no one to teach ! There is no  good faculty, not just in these shady schools but also in the well funded, well known and well regarded Government schools like the IIMs and the IITs !

While the situation is understandable in the small schools, the situation in the big schools may be puzzling but easily explained in economic terms. Let us look at this issue from the perspective of who should be teaching in B-Schools and who are actually doing so.

B-schools act as feeders into corporate management and should typically impart skills that are necessary to run a business profitably and ethically. Ideally, a B-School faculty should be someone who has the practical experience of being in the corporate sector and has been in a senior position. In such positions,  he should have faced and resolved real issues in the area of finance, marketing, operations, HR and business strategy. But instead, what we find in B-Schools ( particularly the IITs/IIMs) are academics with PhD degrees who (a) are paper tigers with scores of theoretical papers published in academic journals that are only read by other academics, not by corporates and what is worse (b) are people who have never had the ability or the confidence of actually working in the industry. What rubbish do they teach ?

Why is this ? Economic reasons. Under the 6th Pay Commission, a senior faculty at a premier Government institute is paid around Rs 12 - 15 lakhs for annum which is just on par with the average salary that an MBA student gets when he or she passes out from the same school !! A well respected manager, with about 15 - 20 years of experience -- the kind that we would like to have as teachers in MBA schools, would be drawing anything from Rs 40 - Rs 80 lakhs per annum. Now no sane person in his senses will leave his corporate job -- however stressful it may be -- and take a 80% salary cut to join a B-School. And even in a moment of madness (for example when he has been passed over in the annual promotions ;-) he were to contemplate this, his financial commitments ( children's education, EMI for flat) will prevent him from doing so. And if this involves moving to a different, non-metro area, then the spouse will have violent objection because she would be cut off from her normal earning and entertainment opportunities. ( This assumes that the person concerned is a man but is even more true if it is a lady who is contemplating this move)

So in the US, they have lots of good faculty in good schools but losing students but in India we have lots of students but no faculty. Hence time to invert our model of distance learning.

In an earlier post on Zoho Show and Google Hangout I have shown how easy it is for a faculty, sitting a distant location, to teach a class full of students using simple and inexpensive technology.

So my model works like this. We set up a B-school and create the infrastructure for students to live and work. In fact this could be at remote and picturesque locations so that academics is not disturbed by the discordant notes of urban life and, perhaps this is more important, land is cheap and so capital costs are low.

There is no need to recruit any full time faculty at all and in any case, if the location is remote,  good faculty will in not join anyway. Only utterly jobless people who cannot go anywhere else or old and retired professors trying to pass of their ancient and out-dated knowledge in their second and third innings of their career will be interested. This is precisely the kind of people whom we do not want in our B-Schools.

So instead of recruiting full time faculty, what we have is a network of high end managers located wherever they are currently employed -- anywhere in India. In each city we can either set up a small "transmission" kiosk, through a telephone operator or if the faculty is comfortable enough install the simple hardware ( basically one or two computers with audio/video and a high speed internet connection ) at his home or place of work.

On campus we create an excellent telecommunication infrastructure so that every student has more than adequate bandwidth (enough even for his not-so-surreptitious Torrent downloads ;-) both in class as well as in the hostel.

To make things a bit smooth, the faculty may be required to make one visit to the campus at the beginning of the semester, get acquainted with the students and if necessary get familiarised with the technology. As the class progresses, he can keep in touch with his students through private social media platforms like the Kollaborative Klassroom or through more mainstream media like LinkedIN or Facebook.  In fact the Coursera model has similar ideas but we need to remember that it is US model and so needs to be tweaked for our inversion.

This model also removes the one big irritation in traditional distance learning -- how to conduct valid examinations ? In this case, this is not a problem at all since all the students are located on the campus and local staff ( not distant faculty) can monitor the examination and ensure fairness. Moreover with the students living together on the campus, there is no difficulty for them to work together and collaborate on assignments -- which is one of the important aspects of B-School pedagogy.

While this model will allow a Institute to draw upon the best B-School faculty from anywhere in the country, it also has the potential to push up faculty earnings in a dramatic manner. Typically a faculty at a premier Government Institute teaches two 3-credit subjects in a semester and so faces a class for six hours every week. [ I am ignoring "research" because B-School research is generally pointless-data-collection-followed-by-regression-analysis, nothing else. It is done only for the purpose for faculty promotions because of the philosophy of publish or perish adopted in many Institutes ] For this six hours of work per week he is paid Rs 12 lakhs. A corporate manager works 40+ hours a week and gets say Rs 60+ lakhs. So it makes sense for a corporate manager to move to academics if and only if he can teach in at least five or six institutes simultaneously -- and this is very much possible if we adopt the distance learning model that was explained in my earlier post ! In fact with this model, well known Institutes can create the distance learning environment that will allow their faculty to enhance their income five or six times and so draw the best people from the corporate world into the academic domain.

Of course faculty is not the only thing that matters in a B-School. Placement plays a very important role in the success of school. We also need to look at the existing curriculum and see what changes can or should be made. But these are big topics and need to explored separately.

Let us first get cracking with the faculty issue and address it with our inverted model of distance learning. It is a win-win strategy that benefits both Institutes as well as faculty since the former gets good teachers and the latter gets to earn much more without stressing the economic and business model of MBA education in India.


52 comments:

Distance Learning MBA 2:57 pm  

It is informative and useful information. I really appreciate your efforts. Thank you for this information. Keep it up..

Sumit Rao
http://cce.upes.ac.in

indiaedu 5:43 pm  

Nice article. The scenario of India has been depicted perfectly. There are no dearth of students and MBA institutes, the problem in the quality of education. Most of the Institutes are lacking in this matter. http://www.indiaedu.com/career-courses/mba.html
In this website you can come across the actual scenario. The number of B schools are increasing as well as students. But not all B Schools can stand out in the competition. That's the key issue.

priyanka 12:48 pm  

Thank you for such a useful information for provide public.I appreciate you efforts.To know more about please visit top b schools in india and best b school in india .

poojamittal 3:50 pm  

very nice post. I am really impressed by your post. Punjab Technical University is also imparting education through regular and distance mode.


ronitamthur 3:41 pm  

Really Distance education is now spreading like bullet train. I think after some time it will cover whole world.
LPU study centre in Delhi

Sam 3:12 pm  

For Distance education in india, we have the finest courses available in PTU distance education, BBA Distance Learning is one of the best undergraduate course that offers good jobs after completing the programme.

tahera 10:37 pm  

Thank you for writing about distance-learning school, I was looking for something related and came across this post.

Kapil Singh 10:15 am  

Sure thing, thanks I really appreciate this post – I think people will find it useful!

best schools in india

Free Classified ads 6:50 pm  

Hi,
came across your blog randomly and really enjoyed it, could not control myself and jumped to ur placement day, was surprised and a little delighted too that your journey is largely following mine...
List Your Business

Jobs in India 9:18 pm  

List of Colleges in India, Top Best Medical Colleges, Engineering Colleges, Career Options India.

List of Colleges in India

way2college 9:50 pm  

MBA through Distance is the perfect sound for a lot of people that have a permanent job. Thanks for sharing a distance MBA college in India.
Top Distance Courses in India

pankaj sankhala 7:53 am  

Your blog is very informative and relevant to business school.really i appreciate it.To know more about Business school and mba colleges please visit us MBA through Distance
Thanks

pankaj sankhala 7:39 am  

Thank you for sharing such type of information.there are very help full information for every one.Your blog is very informative and relevant to business school.really i appreciate it.To know more about Business school and mba colleges please visit us.MBA through Distance
Thanks

pankaj sankhala 7:40 am  

Thank you for sharing such type of information.there are very help full information for every one.Your blog is very informative and relevant to business school.really i appreciate it.To know more about Business school and mba colleges please visit us.MBA through Distance
Thanks

subhashini s 10:52 am  

I found your website perfect for my needs. It contains wonderful and helpful posts. MBA Distance and Correspondence in chennai

pankaj sankhala 6:43 am  

Thank you for sharing such type of information.there are very help full information for every one.Your blog is very informative and relevant to business school.really i appreciate it.To know more about Business school and mba colleges please visit us.MBA through Distance
Thanks

subhashini s 11:46 am  

Nice arrticle ………. distance ma in chennai

vinoth dlk 6:05 pm  





Cn u tell which is the best university for distance education
Nice Blog

study centres

Sandeep Kumar 12:06 pm  

Distance learning from top universities, very good choice. because this time so many students are effected by distance courses and now a days more than are adopt this education systems. because distance education need less time for study and easy provided higher education degree for the carrier growth of working professionals. So every one accept to distance courses.
IPS

pankaj sankhala 6:43 am  

The following website will give you the details regarding the mba colleges and its contact no,address and further info..MBA through Distance
Thanks

pankaj sankhala 6:52 am  

There are many mba colleges in Delhi if you need a quick view of these colleges and also need info regarding which college provides which specialization then visit this website.MBA through Distance
Thanks

Sonu Gupta 3:00 pm  

Thanks, much appreciated. I look forward to reading, learning and hopefully providing my insight as an educator.
online college courses

Cimt College 11:05 am  

CIMT , a top management college offers distance learning courses to students .

pankaj sankhala 6:37 am  

Distance Education in Delhi, Best B.Tech College in Delhi, Best MBA College in Delhi, Distance Courses in Delhi/NCR.
We understand that choosing a career option is the most crucial decision, not only for a student, but also for his family since at this point the future of the student will rely. And, if this decision is not taken well, the future might be hazy and it comes with several other social and emotional problems. Thus, we treat every student that come to us individually and offer him career guidance based on his caliber, interest, aptitude, analytical ability, skill and level of knowledge.
MBA through Distance
Thanks

pankaj sankhala 11:22 pm  

Business Management program is much more beneficial compared to investment in other academic programs.The link here will connect you to various MBA colleges in delhi.
MBA through Distance
Thanks

Richard Louis 1:11 pm  

Distance learning is the convenient method of teaching where education can be given to thousands of students located at different places. This method of education is popularly known as distance education or correspondence study, which involves the use of audio-visual mode of study material.

Distance Learning Education

pankaj sankhala 8:08 am  

Students who are interested in MBA. There are many MBA through Distance Learning colleges.This website gives all the information regarding the good MBA colleges in India.

SMU chandigarh 3:07 pm  

Distance learning coupled with various options of online courses is making it easier, for a large section of the society to gain knowledge about something new.

Dstinyseatings 4:44 pm  

nice blog thanks for share
distance education

nucleus institute 6:48 pm  

Online distance learning education showed much progress in the recent decades.
distance learning phd
distance learning institute in Delhi
mba from distance learning

Uoptutorial 3:46 pm  

Indian business schools (b-schools) such as the iims (indian institute of management) at ahmedabad, bangalore, calcutta, xlri are world famous for the quality of students. Distance learning llm programs management distance education in india: distance education is an education that aims to deliver education to students who are not physically present it is often termed as. Open online courses, courses - distance learning,education times a list of distance learning opportunities at harvard prof martin karplus shares nobelprize for the development of multiscale models for complex chemical. by HRM 531 Week 5

Priya DEC 4:06 pm  

Good Stuff. Excellent post about online education and distance education. Am impressed with your way of writing also book marked for your future posts.

Atulya Education 11:29 am  

Thanks you for that wonderful information you have bale to put in your blog.Distance learning really have good advantage for students to have a proper method of learning's specially in different school subjects.
Distance Learning MBA in India
MA Distance Education
MSc Distance Education

Neetu Kothari 4:29 pm  

Distance learning is a modern way of study in India. It enables you to study with your ongoing job. Most people opt distance learning mode for more job satisfaction etc. Most popular courses in distance learning is Distance MBA which are opt by many working students.

Kshama Urs 8:34 pm  

MBA is one of the best degree which most of the people choose after their graduation.MBA is also provided in part time for the working professionals which made easy to take a MBA degree along with working.
MBA-Master of business administration through distance correspondence Thanks for sharing.

Rupesh 2:49 pm  

Useful information for distance learning.Looking forward to read more.

Tejas 4:26 pm  

Useful information!! you can referred http://www.utm.ac.in/ for MBA in fashion management

Karishma 5:14 pm  

Nice One!! For B.Tech. Chemical Engineering you can referred http://www.upes.ac.in

sskcollege chennai 2:29 pm  

B.Tech Distance Education
B Tech Through Distance Education in Chennai
M.Tech Distance Learning
B.Tech Correspondence in india
MBA Distance Learning Programs
MCA Distance Education in India Approved by AICTE
NICE BLOG!!!

Anika Sharma 2:05 pm  

That's really a very useful information.Distance learning is full of various options of online courses is making it easier, for a large section of the society to gain knowledge about something new.Thanks for sharing this information.
Distance Education in Lucknow

Sonali Sharma 2:18 pm  

Amazing Blog and very useful as well.
Good Stuff. Excellent post about online education and distance education. I am very impressed with your way of writing .Thanks.
Coaching Classes in Lucknow

sskcollege 9:51 pm  

I like the valuable information you provide in your articles.
B.Tech | MBA | MCA | Diploma | Distance Learning Program
BSW- Bachelor of Social Work | MSW |
M.Tech Distance Learning
B.Tech Correspondence in india

Madhu Tiwari 12:59 pm  

Wow, this is probably one of the coolest tutorials I’ve seen. Need to get into this ASAP!

Distance Education Institute In Gurgaon

james edward 4:14 pm  

This blog is really outstanding article thanks for sharing.

HIMT 5:51 pm  


Great and easy-to-understand tutorial, thnx!

Distance Education Institute In Gurgaon

sskcollege 11:27 am  

Thank you so much for taking the time for you to share such a nice information
BBA | MBA | MCA |Distance Learning Program
| Distance Education

Lyda Mannell 12:42 pm  

Crazy Bulk Australia 100% Safe and Legal Steroids
Approved by FDA, USA and manufactured under GMP certified facility

for IT the 4:21 pm  

Great Article
Java Online Course | Java EE Training


Java Training Institutes in Chennai | java j2ee training institutes in chennai | Java Training in Chennai | J2EE Training in Chennai | Java Course in Chennai


Java Interview Questions | Java Training Institutes | IT Technical Articles

for IT the 4:21 pm  

Great Article

HTML5 Online Training India | JavaScript Training India | Javascript Online Course India | Angularjs Online Training India | Backbone.JS Online Training India | Bootstrap Training India | Node.js Online Training India | Typescript Online Training India

Sukere seo 11:12 am  

Thank you so much for taking the time for you to share such a nice information
BBA | MBA | MCA |Distance Learning Program

Anonymous 6:32 pm  

Distance learning is very useful for both students and working professionals. Thanks for sharing such a informative article on distance learning.

Distance MBA in India | Correspondence MBA in India

MIPS 4:42 pm  

Distance education is spreading very fast..
http://mipsedu.in/

About This Blog

  © Blogger template 'External' by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP