Online DBA: online programs or blended mode

Published: 3 October 2017 | by Thomas Graf

The Doctor of Business Administration is designed for experienced professionals who want to learn about research while staying in business. Hence, most programs are structured such that they allow the DBA students to study and work simultaneously. Doing the DBA as an online program is one possibility to allow DBA students flexibility in learning particularly during the first part of the studies, that is during the coursework. A more effective way, however, may be a combination of online and face-to-face phases - something that is called blended learning or blended program types.

Online DBA programs: Coursework from the distance

Most Doctor of Business Administration programs have a course period in the beginning followed by a research period. In the coursework, students learn about theoretical foundations of management areas as well as methodological skills such as statistics or survey design. Particularly this first phase of coursework can be taught as a distance DBA.

Meeting your fellow students and professors online

For example, the students may prepare themselves through books or readers at home and then share their knowledge online with fellow students. The professor may provide his or her lectures online or start a forum discussion with the class. Participating in the Doctor of Business Administration program from the distance and taking advantage of doing the first part of program online hence may allow great flexibility for the students.

Doing the DBA online is great - at the beginning

Doing parts of the program online is a great way to combine business work with studies. It may not be sufficient, however, and residential periods often times are amended. Even during the course period you may have questions that cannot simply be answered online, through chats, emails, Skype sessions, or Teamviewer conferences.

Residential or face-to-face periods are helpful

Sometimes meeting face-to-face or participating in a physical class may just be necessary, for instance to explain a deeper and more complex problem or to introduce students to a new software. Apart from that, meeting up personally from time to time and spend time with each other outside of the classroom may simply make the online communication easier and stimulate group building processes.

Residential or face-to-face periods are needed

If not for the course phase then definitely for the research phase, face-to-face meetings with your professor become necessary from time to time. Of course you can discuss many things online or on the phone but at some point research becomes so complex that a face-to-face meeting simply becomes more efficient.

Pure online DBA or even better: a blended program approach

Therefore, many programs apply a blended program approach as opposed to offering Doctor of Business Administration online programs - and here the quality aspect come into play again: How good and experienced are the schools in structuring the DBA program such that your learning success is maximized?

By Thomas Graf