New York College

By Dr George Samakovitis, Associate Dean, Department of Informatics, New York College, & Dr Dimitris Andreou, Associate Dean, Business School, New York College A New Perspective Trends in higher education and continuous professional development have historically been diverse in nature and scope and serve different needs. Such needs are most often influenced, if not entirely prescribed, by respective demands in the employment market, and in geopolitical and business trends, in each era. The rise of the Internet era, coupled with the overwhelming expansion of globalization in the market for labor and ideas and the reliance of advanced economies on the «knowledge worker» has set – slowly but steadily – the new pace in the global business education arena. On the other hand, and in light of these developments, the contemporary knowledge worker places a high value on personal time, while viewing, at the same time, education as the most significant key to future prosperity and career goals. Leaders in global education have heard the message. This has been unequivocally demonstrated by a strategic shift of an increasing number of universities toward harnessing the powers of the Internet as a location-independent medium to attend to the new global market needs for high-quality curricula, which are, however, flexible in delivery and adjustable to the national, local and even personal needs of the student. Seen from another angle, this marks a need for personalized professional training and the transformation of global best practice to local expertise. Universities, as the traditional education experts, have historically had to fight against their long-established resident organizational cultures to finally comprehend that «going online» was neither a threat to the established academic profession, nor a simple but miraculous translation of lecture notes to HTML. Among them, many failed to embrace the concept, while others understood the necessity to redesign all administrative, technical and pastoral elements to accommodate a model for successful and efficient use of the Internet in the education process. As educational research has indicated, time and time again, the provision of high quality content, the use of state-of-the-art equipment and the application of real-time videoconferencing is less than crucial to an online program’s success. It is rather the blending of educational resources, the dramaturgical element of the lecture, the motivation for participation and the effective involvement of group work that makes the difference. Most important, the localization of both content and the educational process and the adaptation of programs to individual learning styles have proved a key feature of successful providers of online learning. A Best Practice Case at New York College In a new program sponsored by New York College (NYC) in Greece and the National American University (NAU) in the USA, Greek and multinational professionals residing in Greece are being introduced to a proven concept in modern global and regional practical learning for future leaders, the Best of Both Worlds (BOBW) Flexible MBA. The Flexible MBA is designed to provide career professionals with the tools to be successful in the global and regional marketplace. Under NYC’s and NAU’s Best of Both Worlds (BOBW) programs, future business leaders earn an American MBA designed to be career relevant. In this unique joint MBA program, NYC and NAU combine in every course a global perspective from the USA with regional relevance from Greece and Europe, which is a common practice for all the NYC academic programs. The program is offered under two modes of delivery. The first is a Blended MBA Model that includes both on campus tutoring as well as a self-learning component using the electronic platform and all other e-tools (e-library, e-books, e-forums, e-postings, etc) provided by NAU and NYC. The second mode is a Working Adult MBA Model which also includes an on-campus component limited only to one Saturday preparatory session for each course, approximately once every 1.5-2 months. The other part is based on a self-learning distance mode with the availability of local support through a regional support center. This model is intended for busy professionals with a minimum of 3-5 years of relevant work experience, offering them the opportunity to be successful at work, advancing their managerial skills in a modern world, while maintaining a high quality of personal life. The Best of Both Worlds instruction model emphasizes international team teaching, as the case is with all MBA programs offered at New York College, where each BOBW class is taught by a team made up of the lead instructor from NAU and a facilitator instructor from NYC. Classroom sessions are led by local coaches who enhance the learning experience with regionally relevant material, and assist the students in applying the concepts to relevant real-world situations. The basic components of good instruction in the BOBW model are in accordance with the core teaching values of New York College: – Make students feel cared for (continuous contact). – Make students comfortable to communicate with you when they have trouble. – Encourage student progress, provide ongoing Q&A support. – Prompt notification of any anticipated work disruptions. – Log on to monitor student activity six days per week. – Return graded assignments within 48 hours. – Respond to student questions in discussion forum or via e-mail within 24 hours during the week and 48 hours on weekends. The electronic platform provides each student with the tools to access and review all course-relevant content, submit assignments and interact with peers, facilitators and professors. By taking advantage of the New York College instructional technology facilities, the online learning experience is also supported with modern web-conferencing tools made available in a transparent and easy-to-use way as well as a comprehensive set of electronic libraries and e-books that expand tremendously the learning resources for each participant. Tomorrow’s business leaders, as effective knowledge workers, fully appreciate the necessity, not only for continuously acquiring new day-to-day managerial skills, but also for becoming experts, most often in multiple fields, to gain the holistic perspective and vision that their profession requires. It is an area marked by agility, where flexible learning takes precedence, as the key competitive tool, the Flexible MBA is an exact match to this increasingly visible trend in the international business environment.

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