Could doctors cure their patients without looking at them or sharing the same room? Of course not, maybe in a TV show, but not in real life. Can professors teach students without seeing them or sharing the same room? At IUM, yes we can. Students may be concerned that communication over the internet is more difficult because body language and facial expressions cannot be effectively conveyed. This urban legend has its roots in a series of publications published in 1967 by Albert Mehrabian, a UCLA professor, which showed the overwhelming significance of non-verbal cues in communication. However, as the author explained, this conclusion is only valid when someone talks about feelings or attitudes.
I teach the “Data and Models” course to our online EMBA students, and they could tell you that statistics do not convey any feelings; worse, you have to learn the mechanics behind concepts like probability theories, hypotheses testing, and regression analysis. But not to worry, our learning platform M.U.S.E contains all the materials and knowledge to help them fulfill those requirements. Moreover, it has been designed to fit anyone’s learning styles.
So then, what am I useful for? A recent article in the Harvard Business Review entitled “Why Data Will Never Replace Thinking” partly gives you the answer. My main contribution lies in the transition between data analysis and the decision making process. Unlike what one might say, the numbers do not speak for themselves; my job during the weekly chat sessions is to teach the students how to speak for them.
Professor Gregory Gadzinski