30 Mar 2016 20:00 IST

Six MOOC courses B-schoolers should take this summer

BLoC shortlists three free courses each from Coursera and edX

Knowledge has always been out there for those who seek. A century ago, autodidacts had to visit libraries. Today, self-learners have to switch on their computers and Wi-Fi, and open the browser.

This summer, amidst your holidays and internships, take a couple of hours to go beyond your prescribed curriculum. Opt for MOOCs, or Massive Open Online Courses, that can help you learn something new and expand your horizon. With access to specialised courses from international colleges and universities, MOOCs have liberated the student from the standard old-school model of learning and education.

There are several options for those who wish to gain a short window into the world of management education, and even for those B-school students who want to specialise in a particular subject not offered by their college. Here are six courses from Coursera and edX that you can try your hand at. If it doesn’t work out, you just have to leave the class, no questions asked. The beauty of some of these selected courses is: you can decide your own deadlines, and learn at your own convenience.

1. Organisational Analysis

This Stanford University course on Coursera was awarded the Best MBA MOOC in 2013 by the Financial Times. Organisations govern the civilised world. Schools, offices, governments, politicians, healthcare — every form of human activity involves organisations of different types and scales. With these come varied challenges, problems and complexity. This extensive 10-module course, taught by Stanford professor Daniel McFarland, takes the students through various organisation types and teaches different organisation theories.

According to the description, the course provides students with a toolset of theories that can be used to systematically identify important features of an organisation and the events transforming it. These theories will also help predict which “actions will best redirect the organisation in a desired direction.”

Students get a course completion certificate at the end of the ten-week course, provided they complete the readings, watch the videos and complete the quizzes and other tests!

2. Critical Perspectives on Management

This six-week course from the Madrid-based IE Business School offered on Coursera aims to bring to students of all backgrounds information on the role and function of firms, how they are governed, and what shapes decision-making and management culture. The course is structured in a way that gives the students not just a contemporary understanding of firms and managerial roles, but places the subject in a historical context. It starts with lectures and coursework on Roman grain trade, goes on to cover the housing crisis and ends with a case study on Nokia.

The course is free, self-paced, offers English subtitles and requires 2-3 hours of study each week.

3. Creative Problem Solving

Another self-paced course hosted by Coursera and offered by the University of Minnesota, this six-week course aims to help students expand their horizon and capabilities in the face of challenges. There are many approaches to solve a problem and, using innovative thinking, this course trains students to step outside their comfort zone, value diverse ideas and, while keeping the systemic constraints and limits in mind, approach various challenges and situations.

The course is taken by two tutors from the University, and requires 4-6 hours of work a week. Making creative thinking second nature isn’t easy!

4. Shaping the Future of Work

The idealism of the American dream has gone global, and there are now several people who believe that equal opportunities are for all and one can achieve their goals, however high those might be. This unique course offered on edX by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology traces “the history of work and employment that has made the economy work so well in the past” and “uncovers what’s gone wrong, in order to figure out new solutions that fit today’s workforce, economy, and society.” The course also provides resources and tools the students can use to plan their careers in the workplaces of the future.

While the course started on March 28, enrolments are still open. The course runs for seven weeks and demands 3-5 hours of work each week. While the course is free, a fee of $49 is levied if you want to get a “Verified Certificate”.

5. Digital Branding and Engagement

Offered by Australia-based Curtin University on edX, this course focuses on brand management as a specific discipline in a hyper-connected digital world. Gone are the days where branding and consumer engagement were unilateral and simple. The Internet has changed the variables completely. As the description puts it, this course will teach you about the shift in the way brands communicate with audiences, and will also have lessons on managing a digital brand.

The course, starting on April 4, requires 1-2 hours of work each week, but the good thing is it’s just four weeks long.

6. Creativity and Entrepreneurship

Creativity is intelligence having fun. And this edX course does precisely that: takes all the creative processes — from music to arts to filmmaking — and combines it with business to teach us about the fundamentals of starting-up.

The course is offered by Berklee Institute for Creative Entrepreneurship, and “applies concepts from the creative and musical creation process, such as observing, prototyping, iterating and embracing failure, as a means of guiding you through the concept of thinking like a start-up. You will develop the basic mindset, knowledge, and insights required to pursue an entrepreneurial career, whether as the steward of your own career or as the founder of a new business in any field.”

The unique thing is these lessons will come to you not from a classroom but from a music studio. The four-week course requires five hours of effort each week and starts on April 18.

Recommended for you