This online course is required by MBA students – that is, students who have had some experience in organizational contexts, who have exercised some kind of leadership at some level in an organization or aspire to exercise leadership, and who recognize that leadership is an essential element of organizational life today. The focus of the course is on understanding leadership theories and concepts and applying them in real practice. Students make use of actual organizational settings, preferably settings in which they currently work but not necessarily so, to study and apply leadership. The course covers the range of theoretical perspectives about leadership but grounds those perspectives in actually doing leadership. In addition, the course considers leadership practices in multiple cultural contexts around the world, recognizing that leadership is a global phenomenon and may differ significantly from one national/cultural context to another and that multi-national leadership may require careful consideration of multiple contexts.
In addition, because the course is conducted online, students do not interact with each other in a classroom setting. That situation has serious implications for leadership. On the one hand, it means that students may miss the body language, the tone, and all of the elements of non-verbal communication that are integral to leadership. Nevertheless (and this has been demonstrated in many current online programs), students can interact with each other successfully online, collaborate with each other (perhaps more effectively than in a formal classroom setting), and work together on course material. An online format such as this course, in fact, moves the class automatically away from a teacher-centered scenario and compels ALL students to participate with and to dialogue with each other. From that perspective, an online leadership course becomes itself a laboratory for applying leadership, with each student sharing the responsibility for moving the learning forward. There is nowhere to hide in an online leadership course; each student must exercise leadership by helping his or her fellow students, encouraging them, motivating them, and influencing them to succeed in the course itself but also in their professions and their lives. In that sense, the course empowers you to be a leader.
IMPORTANT: It is crucial that you interact with your fellow students during the course. PLEASE SEE “COURSE FORUM” at the end of this syllabus for information on student-to-student interaction.