2020: The year of online learning

By Seth Robinson

2020 has seen changes across the board when it comes to study and work. Fortunately, there are online options out there for those who want to study or are thinking about new career possibilities. Melbourne Business School’s Graduate Certificate in Business offers a flexible, online option, for those seeking a business qualification.

The Graduate Certificate in Business (GCB) first launched at Melbourne Business School in 2017. Now, the onset of COVID-19 has seen a major upswing in programs delivered online. This transition has often come with a major learning curve, but in the case of the GCB, 3 years of delivery has led to a program that understands and makes the most of the online format. We spoke with GCB Program Coordinator, Dr Brad Potter, to find out more.

‘I think one of the challenges many courses have had, is the need to transition suddenly to online learning, and the desire to replicate an on-campus experience as much as possible. Online learning is a different model, so the way students engage is different, and once you understand that it actually creates a great opportunity.

Dr Brad Potter
Associate Professor Brad Potter

An example in the GCB is the way we approach assessment. Assessments for us are highly contextual and targeted at our cohort. In our accounting subject for example, we provide our students with real data from an existing company. Students then write a business case, using that data, to provide advice on whether it’s prudent to invest in that business. It means there’s not a right or wrong answer, the way there might be for a traditional assignment, rather, students are dealing with real world numbers, and working as they would in industry.’

This highly contextualised form of assessment is perfect for the GCB cohort, many of whom have come from other careers – whether it be as a florist, an architect, or pharmacist – and are seeking to build on their skills or make a transition into the world of business.

The Graduate Certificate in Business is a fully online course providing graduate level introductory studies in a range of business disciplines including finance, accounting, economics, management and marketing. Find out more about the Graduate Certificate in Business now.

‘Most of these students have been in the working world, so they’re not looking for a textbook experience, they’re looking for something they can apply to the real world. The course also offers them the flexibility they need to study while they’re working, and we try our best to adapt and work with students as needed. We had one student this semester who is in the medical industry. With the onset of COVID-19, his focus needed to shift drastically, as you can imagine. We had to work together to figure out  what it was going to mean for him around exam times, and things like that. In the end it was okay, but it was all very real. It was an example of how this course is taken by people who may face and have to deal with real disruption,’ says Dr Potter.

Disruption is something we’ve all experienced to varying degrees over the last few months. As a result, some might be looking at further study, or trying to figure out what their next step is.

‘You can complete each subject in the Graduate Certificate in Business in 10 weeks, from start to finish, and the entire qualification inside a year. Timeliness is a factor, as is the flexibility of online learning. I think for those who are thinking about what comes next, the GCB hits a nice sweet spot.’