Peterson helps design class for Master of Business Analytics program

May 27, 2016

The Iowa State University College of Business has partnered up with statistics and engineering faculty for the Master of Business Analytics program.

The Master of Business Analytics is an online program created for working professionals. It was designed with the idea that students are able to continue to work while completing the program.

From the statistics department, Anna Peterson and Bill Meeker helped design classes for the Business Analytics program and just finished the second semester of teaching the classes. According to Peterson, a lot of research has been done about online learning and how to create classes specifically for distance education. One key factor is condensing the material into shorter units. Condensing the material is important for the online learners to focus on the important information. The students who are enrolled in this program are already working professionals and need to learn as much as they can in a short amount of time.  “These lessons are ten minutes, or fifteen minutes. Compared to when we go and actually lecture in a classroom on campus, you’re lecturing for maybe 50 minutes or an hour and 20 minutes.”

According to a Pew Research survey, nearly half of recent college graduates have taken online courses. Online courses, as well as entire online programs, are becoming more prevalent because of the large number of graduate students who are already out working in their field. Online learning offers a balance of work, family, and schoolwork. Students can listen to the lectures at home or stay an hour after work to listen to them. Although there are many reasons to study in an online program, there are also many challenges for those who may not be able to stay on task. Since the students are not forced to attend physical classes, it is up to them to make sure they listen to the lectures and not delay them until the end of the semester. To help solve this problem, Peterson designed her class with homework assignments due every week, knowing that it will help her students stay on track weekly. “You have to listen to the lecture to prepare for the homework. If there are consistent due dates, it forces you to not procrastinate too much.”

Peterson says that she has gotten lots of positive feedback from her students in the Master of Business Analytics program, and it’s very encouraging and reassures that she designed the classes well. 

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