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IUPUI Magazine

Technology Issue

Distance Learning

Article by Ric Burrous

'We were looking for a way to avoid having our evening MBA students come to campus,' says Dean Roger Schmenner.

One of the most significant changes in the way technology reshapes IUPUI and its academic mission comes in the classroom — or in the case of programs like Kelley Direct, virtual classrooms. Roger Schmenner, the associate dean of the Kelley School of Business on the IUPUI campus, is one of many instructors who hold "classes" each week online with students in such unusual locales as Chicago, San Francisco, even a B-52 flying from Great Britain to Afghanistan.

"We were looking for a way to avoid having our evening MBA students come to campus," says Schmenner, a world-renowned expert in manufacturing and logistics. To make the MBA program more convenient, he and others in Kelley’s Indianapolis base "decided to try to develop something online — and it clicked."

That was merely "toes in the water" for the business faculty, as it turns out. "Rich (Magjuka, a fellow business professor) saw the potential, and asked if we could deliver a whole MBA degree this way." So 14 Kelley students became guinea pigs in the seven-year-old online program, and the school has never looked back.

"We now have more than 1,000 students (online)," says Schmenner. "Convenience is the key — we take the program to our students; that’s why they’re willing to pay premium prices."