The University of Virginia's (UVA) Darden School of Business has launched a massive open online course (MOOC) that will offer real-world experience by providing students with the opportunity to analyze actual entrepreneurial and nonprofit ventures.
More than 52,000 students have registered for Professor Michael Lenox's six-week MOOC, dubbed Foundations of Business Strategy and hosted by Coursera.
The final project in the course entails students choosing an organization for which to conduct a strategic analysis. Entrepreneurs and nonprofits must register for the course in order to be eligible for the final project. Students will select an organization through online forums and more than one student may analyze an organization, though organizations are not guaranteed to be selected.
"Entrepreneurs, small business owners, and nonprofits often don't have the resources to hire a consulting firm. Rather than have the students all analyze the same business, why not leverage their sheer numbers to do some good for others?" Lenox said in a prepared statement. "Businesses and social ventures can benefit from the wisdom of crowds to perhaps learn something of value for their enterprise."
The effectiveness of the course's approach will be analyzed by Rhodes Scholar and Oxford University graduate student Nabeel Gillani, whose master's thesis in education explores the power of MOOCs to help solve challenges for others.
Lenox coordinates and teaches the Darden School's core MBA strategy course, and is executive director of Darden's Batten Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Lenox's Foundations of Business Strategy course is one of three courses offered on Coursera by the Darden School this spring.
The University of Virginia Darden School of Business offers MBA, Ph.D., and executive education programs. The Batten Institute was established with gifts totaling more than $100 million from late UVA alumnus Frank Batten, Sr., a media pioneer and founder of The Weather Channel.
For more information, visit darden.virginia.edu. To register for the course, visit Coursera.org.