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Case B - online Education Case Study

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Case Analyses – Case (b) – Online Education

Current Situation

Is the Internet a disruptive technology to Ivey University and their stakeholders?

Currently, Ivey University is seeing a rising demand in undergraduate program applications, so they must be more selective than ever. The campus is being physically expanded to allow for the increase in undergrads. However, for the last decade, interest in the executive education programs has been steadily declining.

Online educational offerings, such as University of Phoenix, grew from 250,000 to 600,000 enrollments, proving how online education is gaining traction. Ivey University launched an online education program in the late 1990s, which lost steam at first, but now seems to have a bit of potential.

Ivey University currently stands out by having some of the brightest faculty members and researches on their staff (a valuable scarce resource). However, with the power of the internet, the digitization and distribution of knowledge will make these scarce resources easily accessible to anyone.

Problems and Opportunities

Ivey University has slowly, but steadily, increased their online class offerings and now have about forty courses available. However, Ivey does not seem to be making an effort in investing time and energy in developing online curriculum. “A wait-and-see attitude could be extremely risky.”

Ivey University has been focused on global expansion by building partnerships and opening physical satellite campuses. Issues with these campuses have been revenue, logistics, and quality of education.

Master’s students must leave the workplace for one to two years to achieve their degree, which is a huge opportunity cost as well as a high financial cost.

The business/corporate world sends employees to the Ivey University campus or one of their satellite locations to update their skills and to access Ivey’s wealth of knowledge.

Actions to Take

There are several strategies that Ivey University could focus on to make sure they do not miss the wave of the future and get stuck with a “wait-and-see” attitude. Some actions they could take could be a combination (or all) of the following:

  • Increase the size of the master’s program by offering these courses online. Reduce the high opportunity cost of students needing to leave the workforce for education. “Compete in the new market as though you were not already invested in the old one.”
  • Offer online executive education and professional education programs for corporations since this area has been steadily declining for the past decade at Ivey. This will have a further reach and will attract more companies than just those located by physical Ivey locations.  
  • According to, “Coursera provides universal access to the world’s best education, partnering with top universities and organizations to offer courses online.” Join Coursera and leverage their network, using the lateral approach to enter their network, advertising Ivey’s world-class researchers and Nobel Prize winning faculty as a its niche. Coursera already includes courses taught by universities such as Stanford, Yale, Columbia University, University of Michigan and many others.
  • Branch off the global expansions market into online education market. Instead of adding more satellite locations, provide the option of online classes. This may help resolve some of the revenue, logistics and quality assurance issues as these online classes would be taught by in-house/vetted professors and not need to add more physical locations.

Discussion Questions

  1. Do you agree with Peter Drucker’s opening quote?

"Thirty years from now the big University campuses will be relics. Universities won’t survive. it is as large a change as when we first got the printed book" - Peter Drucker. 

I do not agree with Peter Drucker’s quote that University campuses will be relics. I think the way Universities operate and how things are taught will most definitely change, but I do think there will still be physical “brick and mortar” buildings where students will go to learn. Students will need to get a “hands on approach” for many skills they will need to competently perform in an employment setting. For Universities and Colleges to not become obsolete, however, they do need to “stick with the times” and offer a combination of online and traditional learning. The entertainment factor of college sports is also a huge factor in why I do not think University campuses will be relics any time soon. What would life be without March Madness or the Rose Bowl?



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