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Weighing the benefits and drawbacks of pursuing business analytics graduate degree online versus on-campus


Weighing the benefits and drawbacks of pursuing business analytics graduate degree online versus on-campus

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By Lalit Sharma

India has the world’s second largest education system, after China’s. Since last year, the Indian educational system has evolved significantly, and e-learning has acquired substantial traction in the country. From being traditionally dominated by classroom teaching and grappling with lack of digital infrastructure, it has transformed itself at a rapid pace to adapt to the new paradigm created since the onset of Covid-19.

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The rise of technology and business analytics is changing the dimensions of the business world across the globe. Organisations employ Business Analytics so they can make data-driven decisions. Business Analytics gives businesses an excellent overview and insight on how companies can become more efficient. These insights enable such businesses to optimise and automate their processes. Business Analytics also offers adequate support and coverage for businesses who are looking to make the right proactive decisions. One of the apparent importance of business analytics is the fact that it helps to gain essential business insights. It does this by presenting the right data to work it. This goes a long way in making decision making more efficient, but also easy.

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Most of the universities are running skill-based analytics programme both in online and offline mode. As analytics is becoming the backbone of each and every domain of any organisation, the need of learning analytical methods and associated technological tools leads the professionals to the analytics programmes and modules.

Today, technology has begun to change the roles of teachers and learners. In the traditional classroom, the teacher is the primary source of information, and the learners passively receive it. This model of the teacher as the “sage on the stage” has been in education for a long time, and it is still very much in evidence today. However, because of the access to information and educational opportunity that technology has enabled, in many classrooms today we see the teacher’s role shifting to the “guide on the side” as students take more responsibility for their own learning by using technology to gather relevant information. Schools and universities across the country are beginning to redesign learning spaces to enable this new model of education, foster more interaction and small group work, and use technology as an enabler.

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The perception of online courses, specifically Business Analytics courses, has changed significantly in the past decade. The Internet has made it possible for teachers and learners to join a real time class. The physical presence of the instructor is not mandatory. Today, most employers and educational institutes understand that an online degree is as efficient and educative as a regular degree programme. Recent years have indeed seen the dominance of online degree programmes. However, the demand for offline courses is still remarkably high. That’s because offline programmes in Business Analytics allow students to communicate with peer groups and ask questions to their lecturers directly which can lead to development and improvement of the interpersonal skills in the digital mode.

Different people have different learning styles. Some people like the openness of an offline learning environment where they can ask questions and discuss things with others. Other people are more reflective thinkers and like to take in what they read and re-read it until it sticks whether this is online or in text books. They like to learn at their own pace and classroom learning forces them to learn at the class pace which can frustrate them. If the two modes are compared, benefits of online education include location independence, flexible timings, better time management, recorded classroom, learner convenience. Offline education is better in terms of individual monitoring, structure and discipline, face-to-face interaction, peer bonding, and competitive environment. The first approach is more prominent and best suited to Business Analytics programme. Hence most of the Analytics programmes are so popular in offline mode.

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The National Educational Policy 2020 (NEP) recommends that a hybrid mechanism should be adopted wherein students can learn the behavioural skills along with the domain concept and theories in an offline mode and equip themselves with the skills relevant to their day to day work in the office. If a conclusion is to be drawn, both the modes have their own pros and cons and a hybrid approach can give the best results for Business Analytics.

The author is associate professor and area chair, business analytics, Jaipuria School of Business, Ghaziabad.

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