Celebrating Innovation in Higher and Business Education | TopMBA.com

Celebrating Innovation in Higher and Business Education

By Nicole Willson

Updated August 16, 2016 Updated August 16, 2016

QS Wharton
To celebrate the innovative teaching methods which will define the future of education, TopMBA.com’s parent company Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) has teamed up with the Wharton SEI Center for Advanced Studies to launch the ‘Wharton-QS Stars Awards 2014 – Reimagine Education’.

Announced in April, Reimagine Education is the first global competition to award innovative teaching in higher education. The awards will recognize higher education institutions that are using innovations in modern technology to meet the needs of 21st century students.

The issue of employability is chief among these, with the onus on the world of higher education to furnish graduates with the skills they need to succeed within the knowledge economy. In a rapidly changing world, institutions must constantly evolve to stay relevant; the ones that are succeeding in their duty will be honored by the Reimagine Education Awards.

Why schools need to implement innovative teaching

It’s not hugely controversial to posit that schools have struggled to keep pace with the digital age. “Education hasn’t changed in years,” argues Inder Sidhu, vice president of strategy and planning, worldwide operations at Cisco Systems, which is sponsoring the awards. "Higher education draws the best and brightest minds and yet despite all of this the pedagogical approaches have remained largely unchanged in the past decades.”

Why innovation in education is important to employability

Employers like Cisco have a stake in the outcomes of higher education, because, as Sidhu puts it, “Employers are looking for a better end product.” In the case of Cisco, which hires thousands of people, they are looking for employees that are better trained and prepared to deal with the technological disruptions that are coming thick and fast in the 21st century.

Innovative teaching techniques, such as practicums and guest engagement to name a couple, can play a part in this, mirroring the levels of innovation consistently occurring in the world beyond the classroom – in the universities themselves, as well as the business world.

About the Reimagine Education Awards

Aside from the overall winner for the world’s most-innovate pedagogy, the Reimagine Education Awards will be awarded over eight categories:

  • E-learning innovation
  • Blended learning innovation
  • Presence learning innovation
  • Best teaching delivery
  • Enterprise
  • Lifetime achievement
  • Nurturing employability (split over five academic faculty areas)
  • Regional awards   

The winners will be chosen by an independent panel of 22 judges consisting of a mixture of e-learning and traditional education experts, as well as employers such as Google and Amazon.

Over 400 organizations responded in time for the August 31 application deadline. The entrants came from all parts of the globe including the US, Australia, Slovenia, South Korea, Kenya, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, the Netherlands, Bahrain and Argentina. While most of the entrants were higher education institutions, the enterprise category focuses on businesses whose technology delivers substantially improved learning or employability outcomes.

MOOCs, as one might expect, were prominent, but entries represented a diverse range of technology and methodologies beyond the headline-grabbing free online courses. Entries from business schools focused on changing existing programs or adding new technologies.

One school changed the methodology of its lectures for its online MBA program for increased educational outcomes, while another transformed their traditional program into a blended format giving students the choice between studying on line and face-to-face.

Business simulations, interactive YouTube podcasts and in-video quizzes to teach a core management class were among the technologies entered into the competition. There were also entries related to business specializations such as supply chain management and accounting.

Many of the MOOC projects submitted were related to STEM topics such as computer engineering and solar energy, while one entrant used a MOOC for a course on responding to disasters. A non-MOOC entry in the science & engineering category centered on tai chi movements to teach the piano,

The Reimagine Education Awards ceremony takes place on December 9 as part of the Education Reimagined event, the inaugural conference of the QS and SEI Center awards for innovation pedagogy in higher education, taking place on the Wharton campus in Philadelphia from December 8-10.

10 ways online learning will change education. 

Does the technology behind MOOCs pose a threat to business schools?

This article was originally published in October 2014 . It was last updated in August 2016

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Written by

Nicole is the SEO manager of TopMBA.com, as well as a contributing author. She holds a BA in history and sociology, and a master's in library science. Aside from her work for QS, Nicole is a long-time contributing editor and administrator for WikiHow.


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