MBA Online-Program Update

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Cheryl Oliver, Director of Graduate Programs in Business

Learn about updates to WSU’s online Master in Business Administration degree program, including foundation and concentration courses, an international trip and a GMAT waiver. Topics include:

  • About the College of Business at Washington State University
  • About the MBA Online Program
  • 6 Additional Foundation Courses
  • International Trip Opportunities
  • Requirements for the GMAT Waiver
  • New MBA concentrations in Marketing, Finance and International Business
  • Interactive Q & A


Moderator: Hello everyone and welcome to the Washington State University online MBA webinar and live demo. My name is Imran Hassam and it’s my pleasure to be your moderator for today’s session. We have a very exciting and interactive session planned for you today and during this webinar, you’ll have an opportunity to learn more about the online MBA program, ask questions about the school, the curriculum and also what it’s like to learn online. In addition, you’ll also have the opportunity to learn about the benefits of learning online, how to navigate through the online platform, as well as how to communicate with your peers and instructors.Your presenter today is Cheryl Oliver, director of graduate programs and business for the college of business at Washington State University. We will start today with a slide presentation, which will run approximately 15-20 minutes and then we’ll move to a live demo interactive portion of the presentation, followed by a brief Q&A session. Before we begin, I’d just like to go over logistics for the presentation and address some commonly asked questions.

All participants are in listen only mode. To ask questions, type your questions into the chat box on the right hand side of your screen and hit enter. All questions will be answered in the order asked. And at the end of the presentation, I’ll be happy to read some of your questions out loud for Cheryl to respond to. We’ll do our best to answer as many questions as possible during the Q&A session. However, if we are unable to get to your questions today, one of our enrollment advisors will be extremely happy to follow up with you.

Today’s webinar is being recorded and will be posted online on the MBA program website. We will be sending you an email with the recording link once it’s available. Thank you again for taking the time to join us and we certainly hope that you find the session both valuable and interesting. And I will now pass it over to Cheryl, our host who can walk us through the rest of the presentation. Cheryl, it’s all yours.

Cheryl Oliver: Thank you Imran. As Imran introduced me, I am Cheryl Oliver, the director of graduate programs in business here at Washington State University. We do run a Ph.D. program here. We have masters in accounting programs and multiple offerings of the MBA or Vancouver, Tri-Cities and our online campuses.

I’ll talk a little bit about Washington State University for those of you that are unfamiliar. Founded in 1890, WSU is a land grant institution for the state of Washington. We are a research intensive institution. That means that many of our faculty perform research and teaching functions. And the research that they’re doing in business is research that’s used on a regular basis in the business world today.

The college of business has over 50 years of offering the MBA program. We delivered our first degree in 1957, which is just about 50 years after the first MBA programs in the country were offered from the Ivy League schools and across the country and sweeping towards the west. We have over 20 years of perfecting our work in online degree programs. And as you may know, we’ve only started offering the online MBA in the last couple of years, but we have offered online undergraduate programs for a number of years and we’ve worked really hard to make sure that we were able to offer an online MBA experience that parallels what people in a face-to-face setting were getting. So, we have made sure to wait to enter that market until we were sure we had the products that we wanted to deliver for you.

As I mentioned before, we do have a high research propensity here amongst our faculty. Their tenure is determined by their research capability and production as well as their teaching. We also have over 120 years of an alumni legacy and those are leaders who are making a difference worldwide. You may have heard that Washington State University has one of the largest most active alumni associations in the country. That’s something we’re really proud of. It also means that your network is larger because of that engagement.

And we do have an international network of corporate alliances. And what we mean when we say that is not that we offer permanent job placements through those corporate alliances, but that we have relationships that allow you to network with people at other locations whether that’s other international students, whether that’s an opportunity for one of those people to speak in our classes, whether one of our faculty is doing research with one of those companies and you may end up using a case from one of those companies in your class.

We are accredited by the Association for the Advancement of Collegiate Schools of Business. That is the AACSB, the most respected business program accredited entity. You will hear from a number of other programs across the country that they are accredited. So, typically what they’re referring to is their regional accreditation. Regional accreditation and business accreditation are two very separate things. Regional accreditation means that you have a specific number of dollars that you invest per learner, that you have a specific ratio of faculty to students, that you have specific learning goals that can be to your general studies area. They don’t necessarily have to be too disciplined.

So while that’s an important accreditation and you want to attend an institution that is accredited regionally, it’s also important to find that the specific subject matter that you’re interested in is also very heavily reviewed by a peer board. And so, in order for us to receive our accreditation, we send an annual report talking about the qualifications of each of our faculty, the rigor of all of our classwork, how we assess for our learning goals. We also have to talk about the quality of our students. How did we choose the students that we have? Why did we choose them? And what are the things that the students are able to do in the classroom and how well are they learning amongst a number of other bigger items.

And that’s reviewed by a board of schools who are like us or better than us. And when I say better it means maybe they have more resources, higher qualified faculty, different things like that. But we always have what we call a peer review board and our dean sits on several as well. And they look over that material very meticulously and then go out on site visits every couple of years to these campuses to interview faculty and students and look at student work, faculty research and faculty work, see what’s going on in the classroom. And then to determine whether we are accreditable or not. So, it’s a very rigorous process. We take it very, very seriously and I think it’s something that should be very, very meaningful to you as you’re searching for and committing to an MBA program. And we have been noted for multiple years now as a Princeton Review best business school and WSU has also been named this year as no. 69 as a business school in U.S. News & World Report.

So, why do students choose the business program at WSU? Well, most people choose our MBA because they know that we are a strong academic institution and we do have a good reputation. But they also choose us because we have roots in innovation. So, when WSU was founded as a land grant institution, a lot of the work that was done here was around engineering and agriculture. And that was when 92% of the population’s livelihood was wrapped up in agriculture. And now, only 2% of the population’s livelihood is directly tied to agriculture because of their work.

And so as a university, since 1890, we’ve had to become very innovative and transform the way that we do things so that we can serve that population of business leaders and scientists and veterinarians and communication majors and so on, rather than just be agricultural population.

And one of the things that we’ve done in that arena is to fine tune business. There was a time when business education meant learning how to type and take dictation and so on and now we’re really looking at the multiple business functions that are so important today in a global economy. Again, as mentioned, we do have an accredited degree. Our faculty have real world leadership and work experience in addition to their research. Your degree will say MBA from Washington State University.

We also want to make sure that whatever you do in this program will help you to be successful in your career. So, we aren’t just going to give you some practical experience or give you just some academic information. What we’re hoping to do in each course is to give you an opportunity to take that material back to your workplace and in some way add value.

Sometimes, we have had students who said, well I got my MBA but I haven’t got a raise, now what? One of the things that I like to tell people is that it’s really important that when you learn a new excel function or you learn a new method of looking at regression analysis or you learn a new policy or a new way of doing something or a new way of solving a problem that when you do take that into your workplace, you remind people this is something I just learned in my MBA and I’d really like to apply it here and then show value over time. And then that allows them to see that you are bringing value from the degree, not that you just have a bunch of new tricks up your sleeve. And, it also allows you to then at the end of the program go in and say look at the new things that I’ve been able to do, rather than just say oh no, I have my MBA. So, it’s showing that you have value, not just that piece of paper.

We do have three pillars that drive our actions and our strategic focus here in the college. Globally competitive business leadership. That means that we want our students to have some global competencies and we have a number of ways that we’ll be working with you in the classroom to make sure that you’re able to look at the various problems that you’re looking at through a global lens.

The delivery of innovation. In particular, as I mentioned before, work on selling and reinventing ourselves and being innovative. But, we are also going to ask that you, as a final deliverable for the MBA deliver a business plan. And some people can get a little bit intimidated by that and I would encourage you not to. Some people think oh I’m not an inventor and I’m not an entrepreneur. We’re not asking you necessarily to be either of those things. What we’re asking you to do is to look at an opportunity, whether that’s through your company or independently, and to write a business plan around the delivery of that. Could be a service, it could be a product, it could be a spinoff or a spinout, could be an addition to something that you are already doing at your company. But instead of having you write a thesis because this is not a research based degree and we don’t put you through a number of research methods courses, and instead of having you take a major comprehensive exam for multiple hours at the end of the degree, we work with you and coaches through a business plan and that’s what the faculty will review at the very end of your program.

And our last pillar is making a positive societal impact and that’s in how we treat our employees, that’s how we treat one another, that’s how we treat our students, that’s in how we treat our business relationships across the globe. It’s also in how we treat the environment and so we’re very careful here not just to say that that’s important to us, but to also use measures to protect the environment if we fly buying _________, if we are using different products or making sure that we’re not overinvesting in paper products and we can do what we need to do digitally and so on.

So the MBA program at WSU and online, as we mentioned before it’s an accredited degree and not just from the regional perspective, but from the AACSB perspective. So, very important, again to note that we have received the approval of a number of our peers and the organization at large indicating that we have done everything we need to do to show that we have quality faculty teaching quality students and that you’re getting good information from us. The same faculty that are teaching on our various campuses are also teaching in the online program.

The class sizes are small. You’ll be in classes of no more than 30 people. It may appear that there are 60 people in your course space but you’ll be working with an individual instructor in that space for that group of 30 people. And then, of course, you’ll have some smaller groups that you’ll work with for projects in different discussions and so on.

You’ll find too that the curriculum that you’re receiving, some of the materials, the assignments, the group projects, etc. are the same things that students are learning in our other program. So, we aren’t tailoring one program to online learners only in terms of the content, and one just to Vancouver and one just to Tri-Cities. The fundamentals of that curriculum are similar across the entire MBA program because it is one diploma, one degree for every student.

We are fully online. You can learn anytime, anywhere. And that’s really important to a number of our learners because most of you tend to travel in your work in some capacity. And so being able wherever you have wifi to log into that course space, read the articles or download some of the material and save it and maybe read it on an airplane or work on a project at that time is really important.

You know, a number of students over years past before we started the online MBA program may have been at one of our campuses and then a spouse or they, themselves, got a really great job opportunity and they had to leave there. On campus programming didn’t have an option for finishing or transferring that degree somewhere else. So, this online option allows you to be anywhere. Sometimes they have military personnel who end up being deployed. We have people that are working in other countries part of the year or that just have a very hectic work schedule and so need an opportunity to work in the evenings or in the early mornings on their schoolwork.

We do offer the degree in as little as 24 months. There are some prerequisites. Business majors have completed those and so are able to complete the program in as little as 24 months. If you have to complete a couple of the pre-requisites. The longest it would take you is 36, and three years as a working professional is very good. I completed my masters while working full time, taking one and two classes and typically in a face-to-face setting, which is what I did. It takes about six years and that depends on when classes are available. That depends on when you’re available. But with the online program, we offer each of our courses in a synchronous fashion so that as long as you stay enrolled, then you’re up to speed and ready to graduate on time.

It is an asynchronous learning platform so that means that you don’t have to log in with all of your colleagues at the same time on a regular basis too. Maybe watch a live video. I know some programs that are online say, you’ll log in at 11:00 on Tuesday morning to watch the live lecture on a campus. We don’t do that. What we have put into the learning space is specifically for the online learner. You’re not watching some other really great discussion in a face-to-face classroom and you’re watching it on your own time.

Now, there are opportunities for you to interact with your colleagues and your faculty members in a synchronous setting and that would be, for example, if you chose to attend an Illuminate session. And Illuminate is a Blackboard product that’s sort of like Skype but for a large group and allows you not only to see the individual on the other side, but allows you to see the material that they’re talking about as well. So perhaps the PowerPoint or an excel spreadsheet in conjunction with the individual that you’re discussing the _______ with.

And those are optional for students, but I do highly encourage you to attend those. It’s a great opportunity to interact with your faculty member and other peers. Aside from those, which the group agrees to schedule time together and they are recorded so you can go back and watch them if you can’t attend, everything else happens on your own time.

Now the courses are seven weeks in length and so you are actually obligated to complete your assignments on time. The asynchronous part does not mean you can finish all seven weeks of work in one week. It means that you go along through that seven weeks when the deadlines are due.

We do offer academic advising. Each student has an advisor who will tell them when their tuition’s due, who will assist them with purchasing their books, who will let you know what the next course is, what requirements will be there. We do have live 24/7 technical support so if something’s not quite working right in that course space, you can get that fixed right away.

We do offer financial aid counseling through the office of financial aid and scholarship services here on campus and I do encourage you if you are considering getting financial aid for the next school year to start working towards collecting all of your financial materials now to put your FASA together. The first day that the FASA will open is January 1, 2012 and you will want to get that in by early February for consideration for fall. And if you’ve been watching the news, you’ve seen that the federal financial aid programs have changed and so have the state programs. So, getting that form in right away so you can get priority on your financial aid is very, very important if you’re planning to get any. And MBA students are able to qualify for loans for professional degrees.

We will provide you with some registration assistance, helping you know when the classes will be offered, what the schedule line numbers are so you can go right in and register for those. And in the course spaces, you can rewatch lectures and the discussions. And you do have very easy access, and I’ll show you some of that shortly here.

As I mentioned before, you’ll have an opportunity to participate in online discussions with your faculty and fellow students and that is in the live sessions. There will also be a portion where you’ll be continuously communicating with them through the course space. And I’ll show you a little bit of an example of that. It is a little bit challenging to show you a full on sample without disclosing other student information. So, we’ll go through that together and I’ll explain how that works, but there is a regular period each week where you’ll be asked to comment one or more times on a particular topic throughout a discussion board and they’re very, very easily followable discussions. It’s a great opportunity for you to meet with your fellow classmates and I know outside of the course space, the online MBA students have a Facebook page where they communicate with one another. They also use Skype and their email and phones as well to connect. And those people that live in local geographic areas also spend time working together to study.

We do have an active online student government called ASWSU Online. That’s the Associated Students of Washington State University Online. And in the last two semesters, we have had online MBA student service senators there which gives you quite a voice. I know our most recent senator had an opportunity to come to campus and meet with the president and some other student government officials just to talk about what the priorities are in online learning, to talk about the state of our budget cuts in Washington and how that’s impacting the university. It was a great opportunity for that student to have a leadership voice. And there are social gatherings, other things that happen across campus that happen through that online student group.

As a student, you do have access to the alumni association. As I mentioned before, that is one of the largest and most active in the country. We have chapters all across the globe. In fact, I saw recently one of our alums who I know who is working at the embassy in China and scheduled an apple cup watching party at his home. So, any expats or even our Chinese students that had graduated and were living in the area were invited to come and watch the apple cup with him.

But I’ve seen a number of different things from cruises to yacht parties to receptions to just meeting at a local eatery or bar to watch a game, to network, to promote your new business. So, lots of great opportunities and they have a very, very active LinkedIn group that is reserved for members only. And as a life member, I would tell you that it’s one of the better investments that you can make. As a student, membership is only $20. There are national discounts that more than pay for that right away. And, again, like I said tons of opportunities for meetings, opportunities to get engaged with scholarships, opportunities to network with people around the country and the globe.

So, when you’re talking about an MBA program, you may wonder what kinds of things should I expect from an MBA and you’re going to get out what you put in to an MBA program. It is graduate school and we are asking that you be aware of what’s going on in current events, that you’re aware of what’s going on in the global economy, and we’re going to give you some tools to help you think about how some of the various problems that you will see there and be more efficient with what you’re doing and more strategic in your thinking.

So, we will help you look at some of the different complex business challenges that are out there. You know, most of you in your working lives may have seen some problems and realized as you were going through those challenges that it’s not just a finance problem and it’s just not a marketing team problem or a sales team problem. But there’s a little bit from every unit that’s engaged in this challenge and to look at how each one can contribute and remove that challenge and turn it into an opportunity.

We will allow you opportunities to become a change agent. We wanna give you the tools to solve some of those various challenges, whether they’re analytical tools, whether they’re best current practices, whether that’s choosing some new technology, to be able to solve those and to lead in your organization.

We will look at some theory and some applied skills and analysis and critical evaluation through some of your stats classes, your finance, your accounting and so on. Some of it will be formulaic, heavy quantitative work. Some of it will not. Some of it will be more qualitative. You’ll be looking at some marketing theory, some management theory, some HR theory, human behavior theories and how that impacts the way that you interact with others and how that impacts the way others interact with others and how you can be a leader in that environment.

We do instill independent thinking while still encouraging you to use those conceptual frameworks. And so when I say encourage you to develop some independent thinking, unlike undergrad, you’re not gonna be spoon fed information and asked to regurgitate that back. There will be times when there’s information that you need to show that you’ve mastered. But there’s other times when we’re going to say, okay what is your opinion on this and how do you support that opinion using the various things that we’ve taught you?

And then, of course, we’d love for you to bring your business challenges to the classroom. It’s not just about us giving you cases and giving you information and asking you to analyze it. We want to see do you have some challenges that parallel those. And when you’re looking at the two of them and making some comparison what __________ do you have?

So briefly I’ll discuss the layout of the program for you. So, for each of the two years, you will take six credits, so that’s two classers, but you’ll only take one class at a time. And the reason that we do that and let me tell you having taking multiple classes in the semester while working that my time was spent triaging. So, I’d go to class Monday night from 4-7. On Monday night I’d get home, I’d do as much homework as I could after the kids were in bed until 10, 11, 12, 1 or 2 at night. I’d get up, I’d do more on Tuesday morning, go to work on Tuesday. Tuesday night study for that class, get everything I possibly could done because on Wednesday, I would go to work all day and then go to a class from maybe 4-7 or 7-10 Wednesday night. And then have to spend Wednesday and Thursday working on that material. Usually Friday night we had some kind of family activity and then my weekend was enveloped in working on both of those classes at the same time in preparation for Monday’s deliverables.

And so I felt that in some cases I skimmed the surface ‘cause it was a constant catch up game trying to get one class to the next. And of course, other things and life events happen in between all of those days. But, when you’re taking one class at a time for that seven weeks, you’re only concentrating on that class each evening or morning or weekend work session that you choose to dedicate to that course is strictly enveloped in that material and it gives you an opportunity to really develop some proficiency and mastery of the material.

As I mentioned, they are seven weeks in duration, so our semesters are typically 15 weeks. So, those seven week courses give you an opportunity for a break either in between or at the end or the beginning of the semester. And they’re not consistent breaks because we have tried to put those breaks around the various holidays and occasions throughout the school year.

And then the last thing the students will do is they’ll complete their capstones. So, I’ll talk just briefly about that. During the middle of your program, you’ll take one additional credit and that will be an introduction to your business plan. That will be where you’re going to brainstorm with the faculty. Well you’ll present your brainstorming to the faculty that are overseeing your class and they’ll help you determine what might be the best avenue for you to take and then you’ll do a feasibility study. You’ll meet with what they call some goobers. Some people that have a lot of expertise in that area and can give you some good advice about whether what you’re trying to do is viable or not. And you’ll go through some exercises and that one credit to really set yourself up to write a good business plan.

Then, toward the end of your program you’ll actually spend 16 weeks. So, that 16 weeks is stretched out over those other courses to help you to complete your business plan. And then you’ll have some coaching on how to fine tune that and make sure that you’re showing all of the various core areas of the MBA program through your business plan. So, while today, you might be able to sit down and write a business plan based on our experience and our job, or based on our parents’ business or whatever we’ve been doing, this business plan is going to ask you to put in some of those theoretical and conceptual frameworks that you’ve learned in the MBA program.

Then at the end of the program, the faculty committee, a committee of three faculty members will be reviewing a video that you’ve produced, a business plan and the evaluation of the faculty and that course. And so when I say a video that you’ve produced, this is usually a 10-15 minutes presentation of your plan indicating your expectations just like you would if you were pitching to get funding from a venture capital or angel investment group. Or maybe your employer if you were trying to get them to start a new service or product or unit out of your company.

We do have nine core courses throughout the MBA program in leadership and in management and innovation and in the functional business tools. So, that would be finance, accounting, marketing and so on. And in the electives. And the electives are fairly prescribed. They aren’t multiple choices. It’s just that outside of that core, we’re offering in some additional material that would be useful to you and we try to poll the students and make sure that what we’re offering is meaningful to them at that time. And the final presentation, the 702, the master’s special problems, directed study, and/or examination is that final review of your entire business plan.

So, our upcoming start dates will be January 9 and March 5. You can be admitted to either of those. For those of you that are use to traditional university semesters, you may remember only being able to enter in fall or fall, summer or spring. We are pleased to be able to allow admission in the middle of each term, so every seven weeks you can pick up and start the program. Applications should be here now, or shortly this next week for folks that would like to start January 9. And we’ll ask that you get all of your application materials in by the 21st of December so we can get a good decision out to you before the holidays and then help you get your textbooks and everything and be ready to join that class on January 9.

For those of you that are hoping to start March 5, we’ll ask that you have your materials in in early February. And those of you that are interested in summer would have April and May to turn in those materials to get ready for the May or June sessions. So, it’s not too late to apply and I would encourage you to apply now.

At this time what I’m going to do instead of having you start typing in chat questions, I’m going to share my screen with you and go online into what we call the LMS, the learning management system. We do use the Angel platform here at Washington State University, which as many of you may know if you’ve been following the tech industry that Angel was bought by Blackboard who has since been purchased, although I’m sorry I don’t know who has picked them up.

What we’ll do is we’ll share my desktop and I’ll take you to the LMS. So, I’ll go to my home. My home account will look a little bit different than yours when you are a student because I have all of the classes for the MBA program listed on the left hand side. You’ll just have each of your courses for the given term that you’re in listed. But what I’ll do right now is I’ll take you into a marketing 565 class.

So, all of your courses will have a similar shell. Everything will look identical at the outside. And so there will be a course overview and goals and objectives and it’s very important that you read these things because if you look at these goals and objectives and you see that there are six goals and objectives, then as you are doing your coursework, you can try to match those items up just like you would with a work assignment or your to do list or anything else.

Sometimes students get bogged down in doing the various assignments and they forget to look back at this course, goals and objectives and then they start to question the value of a particular assignment. Why am I doing this? Well, everything that the faculty have done in designing the course is keeping these course, goals and objectives in mind. And they’ve mapped each assignment back to these course, goals and objectives. So, if you’ll keep those in mind and start thinking about what should I come out of this course with? What should be my value at the end, this is that list.

And so from here, you would want to go in your syllabus, so if you’ll check my mouse, I’m gonna go back over to my left-hand menu. I’m going to expand my content section here with the plus and I’m gonna go to the course home page which is this – just to show you that that’s exactly what this is again. Then I’ll select the syllabus. So, here we have the instructor. This picture here is of Dr. David Sprout. He’s our Scotland to Carson and Boeing center marketing chair professional. He’s also our associate dean for graduate problems as well as professional and international programs in the college of business.

Dr. Sprout teaches a seminar on marketing. And so here you have a little bit of a catalog description and he’s added a little bit more to talk about what you can expect from the course. And then each instructor will list a bio so you can go in and see what are their credentials. And then it will tell you what your course materials are. And we will tell you well in advance of the course so that you can make sure to get your course materials in advance.

And all online readings will be posted or linked in the course space. So, the only thing you would need to buy, if there was a textbook for the class is that textbook. And then we have, for each class the listed required software which is basic. There’s not usually something initial unless it’s bundled with your textbook.

Again, we have course overview, the goals and objectives, the time commitment and we do expect that students work about 15-20 hours per week in each course. And so some students find that might be a little bit higher in some of the heavier quantitative courses if they don’t have experience. Some students have heavy quantitative career experience may find that it takes a little bit longer than some of these more qualitative courses for them to wrap their minds around some of the concepts. But in general, on the whole, you’ll find that you’re in class for about 20 hours a week.

The course work is listed here in terms of how much of your final grade is in assignments, the final project, the exams, the discussions and then the participation. Now, this is separate for every single course, so you’ll see there that you can get a good picture of what’s required of you to be able to get the grade that you would like. There is a course schedule section that I’ll show you momentarily, and then there is a specific portion per class on grading.

Now you’ll see that there’s some funny little characters in here and this is a course shell that we’ve designed just for training and I think when they did an upgrade it got a little bit discombobulated here. But to pass a graduate level course at WSU, you have to have at least a B- or an 80%. But to graduate, you need to have a 3.0. So, we’re really looking at you having a B grade in all of your classes. We’re asking that you not have anything lower than that. So, it’s much different than undergrad in terms of what’s passing.

From here, from the syllabus, we’ll go into the course schedule. So, each of your courses will have a grid, so much of this to tell you what week you’re working on something, when that week begins and when a due date will be for that particular activity. So here, for example, we have our first module, your assignments, your exercise and then when those things are due. And so, again that gives you that week to get things done. You can turn it in earlier if you like, but you certainly shouldn’t go through and try and turn in weeks one through five all in one weekend because you’ll want to be able to participate in those various discussions with your group and with your instructor.

This portion here is available in every single course and it tells you how to use the various tools we have at WSU. So, you’ll be using the WSU libraries and online databases. WSU is able to give you access to both across the country through interlibrary loan, through a variety of books that are now digital, digital journal. And we do have a training that is in the orientation space from our librarian for business and economics who talks about the various databases that WSU subscribes to so that you can get, for example, some of the Securities Exchange Commission data on various companies so that you can get into these various journals that have really important information about marketing or some of the cases that you’ll need.

So, this is a really good tool for you. This tells you how to access your assignments, how to submit them, how to use the discussion boards. And I will expand one of these just to show you, it’s a narrative that will walk you right through. I’ll show you some of these here in a moment. The media center will contain any videos or things that are uploaded for you to use. And then you may have to reduce file sizes to upload them and we’ll show you how to do that in the event that you needed to. And then you can use email through the course space. You can use your WSU email and forward that to your other accounts to make sure that you’re able to get the communication that you need.

And this is a reorganization of that course schedule but it just shows the modules in orders that you can go through and look at them again in a different way. So, we’ll just take a peek at the discussion board. And so we have a section called the announcements from the instructor. And so the way that this would usually look is that there would be a bolded title under here if I hadn’t read one yet that describes – maybe it would say exam no. 1 and it would show that the author is the instructor, Dr. Sprout, when he posted it. And then below that would be another plus sign and any comments that came through as a response to that would be posted. And once you click on it, as a student you’d be able to respond to that.

And as I mentioned before, to get into this space and show you exactly what that looks like would cause me to show you other student data, so I’m not able to do that right now. We can also see the same set of information here through the communicate board. So, here would be your inbox. You could have inbox here where specific course classmates could send you email. It’ll look very similar to an email web inbox. Your instructor could also email you from there. I’ll go back here.

You could also do quick messages so it skips the inbox and just starts a message so you could quick message the class or your group or your instructor. And this just tells you how many end run messages you have. So, you have a good flag. You won’t have a course roster, that’s mine because I’m listed as an instructor here. There are opportunities for live chat. Your faculty member may say we’ll do a live chat on Tuesday nights at 7:00.

Here’s announcements again which we’re in another, you know, in the announcements from the instructor, but another way of organizing this, news and polls. I don’t know that we use polls in our business classes very often, but it is a capability the instructors do have. Here’s where students can put in questions for the instructor. Again, it will look very similar to where this instructor would put their post. You would put in a new post, put your title and then your message and then submit that.

When we go back to communicate, you’ll see that down this right hand side, Dr. Sprout has organized it so that each discussion is separated by modules. So, you’re not going into announcements from the instructor and seeing a feed of hundreds and hundreds of messages. You’re just seeing his messages and any comments back from students and then here questions for the instructor could go to him and come back to you directly. You don’t have to share those with everyone.

But as you’re going through your modules, you’ll see you have your different modules for each section. That way, you’re just talking about module 14 in that conversation. You’re not having to filter through all those various comments and so on. At this time what I’d like to do is just show you an actual little bit of information here from the class.

So here, for example is – and I apologize if we can’t get all the way in to this, but here, for example, is module one lecture. So, it’s going to come up as a PDF. And so we have this indirection to consumer behavior by Dr. Sprout. And so you’d be going through this – if we were in the media center, you could listen to his comments on this. I don’t want to create a technical error here by clicking on that for you. But you’d be able to go through this slide show and you’d see it’s only four slides.

And then you’ll have your assignment and your exercises. There are no related readings. I’m just going to go here. And so there’s an overview here. There’s your deliverables. So, the questions that you need to answer need to be in 3-4 paragraphs, 400 words maximum. You may want to put in a figure developing your thoughts. You’re asked to write them in MS Word and save them in a particular way so that the instructor will know that’s exactly your assignments. You’ll post your answer into the discussion forum for this module, not for all modules. For some, you’ll put ‘em directly and into an inbox. For others, it will be a discussion related item. And then you’ll post at least two comments in the discussion on other people’s material.

Now, while that material will be there and you’ll be talking about it together, that doesn’t mean that once it’s graded, anyone else will see your graded assignment. It just means that this assignment in particular will be the same as if you were in a classroom and you had to come in and present for 3-4 minutes on a particular topic and have the remainder of the class discuss that with you.

And you’ll notice this is opening in multiple tabs for me. You can set your settings to determine how best you want to see that. So, that’s an overview of how you would get to the various materials in your course space. And the different instructors will do things differently. Some of them will have in that module one space, for example, maybe a narrated PowerPoint, maybe a video for you. Maybe a reading would be assigned out of the textbook or maybe there would be a link there to a reading from an article that they found particularly interesting.

Here, again, is another assignment from module one. Before studying consumer behavior, the instructor’s just asked for a short introduction and told you how to do that. They would like it just in the discussion board and they just wanna know what your educational background is, your work experience, a couple personal details and recent experience you’ve had as a consumer so that they can have a framework for who’s in their class and what kind of experiences they’ve had in that space.

At this time what I will do is I will get out of this course space and go back to the PowerPoint and the WebEx so that we can answer questions and answers for any of the participants that have started asking questions. And I’ll be happy to go back to the sharing if we need to look at something also.

Moderator: Great. Thank you so much Cheryl for taking us through that. We’re now gonna go to the question and answer portion of our presentation and it looks like we do have just a few questions here. Cheryl, I will read them out loud and then direct them to you. The very first question we have here is one of the key factors in pursuing a master’s degree is for networking opportunities. Could you speak to the networking opportunities in an online program?

Cheryl Oliver: Right So, in that online program, you’re going to be in a class of about 30 people, but you’ll have some group assignments that you’ll have to do or a study group that you may want to reach out to. And so those networking opportunities will happen in two ways through that course space. You’ll be watching what other people are saying about the various topics. So, for example in that module one I showed, you will go through and read some other people’s work and need to comment on that. And that’s a good way to start building that network is to look through and say ah, I really like this information this person is sharing. We have some shared experiences or we don’t and I’d like to add their expertise to my network. I’m going to reach out to them. And it’s something that students in the online environment need to do just as though they were sitting next to somebody in class and would usually reach over and say hey that was an interesting point. I’d really like to get together for coffee after class.

The other opportunities that students have are through the group work, whether already partnered with some people and they spend some time working together. Additionally, as I mentioned before, the students do have a Facebook page that is a networking opportunity and you don’t have to join that but, gosh I will tell you the students that are in that space have really enjoyed working together and supporting one another and have found a lot of other ways to connect outside of the course space to network. They’ve set up some events together, they’ve set up some opportunities to meet face to face and so on.

Moderator: Great, thank you Cheryl. Moving onto our next question here. What is your take on how the on campus program compares with an online program?

Cheryl Oliver: Well, it’s a very different experience. The on campus program here in Pullman is meant for what we call emerging leaders. Those are students that don’t have any work experience or have very little experience and most of their experience comes from being an undergraduate, maybe working some internships or jobs, being active in campus life, whether that’s through being an RA, a resident life assistant or working in their Greek life associations. And so we invest a lot in taking them to visit companies that they’ve never seen before, bringing in executives to talk to them about what it means to be a professional, how to network, how to – we even have etiquette dinners. How do you hold a fork? How do you dress for an interview and so on.

For our Vancouver and Tri-Cities students those people go to work and then go to class at night and then go back to work the next day. And so they are stuck in that little time frame when they can get that course material and then walk away with it and work with it. The online program really is designed for people that have a least a little bit of experience. The average person has about three or four years on the low end.

Those folks are working and going to school at the same time, but they’re able to access their course space from their desk if they need to get a quick reference. They’re able to get exposure to that in the evenings, on the weekends. So, to me, the difference is really convenience and the type of audience that we’re working with. In terms of content, we’re teaching the same material. You’re still getting finance. You’re still getting the marketing. You’re still getting the managerial accounting. You’re still getting the international business. Everything that we would be offering face to face in Pullman when we’re bringing in those cases and presenting them to the students live for the instructor, we’re doing that here, but it’s live for you. I hope that answers that question.

Moderator: Absolutely. And let’s take one more question here, I’m gonna read it out loud. I have a non-business degree and I know that there will be a few prerequisites that I will be required to take. Will my semester schedule remain the same, one class every seven weeks, or will I be able to accelerate through those prerequisites?

Cheryl Oliver: Prerequisites happen on a completely different schedule. Those have to be done before you can take the seven week courses and we have a number of different options for completing those prerequisites. CLEP is one option if you have experience in something you can take an exam, pass it with 80%, send us the score report. We say that you’ve passed that with proficiency. You can take these at community colleges. You can take them through WSU’s online programs more than one course at a time. We have a solution through Pearson where you do a pretest and if you score 80% on the pretest you’ve passed.

If you don’t have enough proficiency in that area or mastery of the skill then you have an opportunity to self-study and then retest, but you do need to get an 80%. There’s not another opportunity to do that. So take it very seriously as a pre-req, but it is one of the more inexpensive options and an admissions or an enrollment advisor could certainly help you with that.

Moderator: Great. And I think that’s all the time we have and most of the questions here have been answered. I did wanna say thank you to everyone here for your wonderful feedback. It seems like the interactive portion of the presentation is something that a lot of our students here found valuable. What I did also wanna say was in addition to thanking everyone for participating in today’s webinar, a recording of the webinar will be available on our website in the next few weeks. And if you do have any questions, please feel free to call our admissions office. They’re a great group of people and they’re more than happy to answer your questions and help you walk through the entire process.

If you’d like to have an advisor contact you personally, please leave your name or contact information in the chat window and we’ll ensure that advisor follows up with you directly. But once again, we hope that you found today’s session valuable. We wanna thank you again for participating and we hope that you enjoy the rest of your day. Thank you very much everyone.

Cheryl Oliver: Thank you.

[End of Audio]