Professor Veronesi joined Chicago Booth in 1997 as an assistant professor, and has been here ever since. He does research on the determinants of asset prices, such as stock market bubbles and crashes, market turbulence, the impact of technological revolutions, politics and finance, and, more recently, on gender balance in academia.
Tell us a little bit about how Chicago Booth’s dual modality courses currently work. What does the student experience look like?
While faculty are in the classroom for courses offered in dual modality, students can either be present in class, or be virtual and connected through Zoom. Faculty can teach in a manner very similar to a normal in-person class, by making use of slides, using the whiteboards, and holding class discussions.
When we launched dual modality classes last year, we were treading in new territory. Faculty had to learn to teach students in multiple places and couldn’t predict the ratio of students in class and at home. The technology wasn’t quite ready for this new way to teach. So we invested in new technologies and provided training for faculty. It has worked well overall. This year, we are shifting the ratio of students in class and home to more students in class, but we will continue to adjust as needed.
As you see it, what are the current advantages and disadvantages of dual modality classes?
The disadvantage for faculty is that the technology is a bit more cumbersome. There are more "buttons to hit", so to speak. We must remember to turn on a video, or to share slides, etc. This is distracting for faculty who are trying to teach effectively. I still believe the best experience is if a student comes to class in-person. The rapport you develop with an instructor is harder to achieve by being remote. There is an immediacy that is not mitigated by a medium -- the internet.
That said, for those students who cannot make it to class, a dual modality class will still allow for interactions between students and the instructor. Additionally, professors have been able to invite a much broader group of virtual guests to speak with students than they otherwise would have.
How long will dual modality or fully virtual courses be offered?
Without a crystal ball to tell how long the pandemic will last, it is hard to tell. But we will offer courses in dual modality and online for the Part-Time MBA Programs as long as the pandemic persists. We may be able to keep offering some courses to part-time students that are in dual modality (or fully online) also after the pandemic is over, but the details of this post-COVID plan haven't been decided yet.
How many dual modality courses is Booth planning to offer each quarter?
For the Part-Time MBA Program, because the majority of our weekend and some of our evening students must travel to Chicago, we are offering over half of our courses in dual modality or online until the COVID pandemic subsides.
When will dual modality classes be offered?
Courses in dual modality will only be offered in the Part-Time Program, so there will be options both on weekday evenings and on Saturdays.
What other logistical considerations/guidelines should Evening and Weekend students be aware of when registering for these courses?
More generally, the best MBA experience is obtained by being in-person and my recommendation to students is to do their best to come in-person to class. As we plan for the future, we will share more information.
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