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Innovator's MBA: Tech Groups Launch New Moocs For Entrepreneurs

A top US university has partnered with a leading tech corporation to launch Moocs designed to teach entrepreneurs through laptops and tablets.

Two leading technology groups have released a series of Moocs, or massive open online courses, that are designed for entrepreneurs, one focused on big data.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a leading US university, has developed the content with Turkcell, the only listed Turkish company on the NYSE.

They become the latest in string of digital education groups to release management content, putting pressure on business schools, which have been slow to adapt their content for the web.

“Innovator's MBA” – as the course is officially called – will run on edX, the distance learning platform spun out of MIT and Harvard University.

It consists of four modules, two of which are already available on the edX website, with the final courses titled “User Entrepreneurship” and “Big Data for Entrepreneurs”. They are expected to be released within the next few months, available in both English and Turkish.

The Moocs will be free to access, and participants will receive certificates upon successful completion of each module.

It represents a shift for edX, whose last batch of courses required participants to pay for enrolment, pitching the group directly against the executive education programs offered by business schools – short, customized courses sold to companies.

However, business courses delivered online are a huge growth area for business schools and universities, with the potential to reach larger global audiences.

Business schools have been trying to teach more entrepreneurs, as students move away from corporate jobs to start-ups – but many founders prefer the ease with which Moocs can be accessed, preferring to study from the office on smart devices or laptops.

Speaking to reporters at a press conference, Turkcell CEO Sureyya Ciliv sought to underline the transformative power of technology. “For millions of people, mobile and online education opens up new lanes of accessing global knowledge,” he said this week.

“With this program, cutting-edge thinking on innovation and entrepreneurship will reach thousands of people all around the world.”

The Turkish telecoms and technology company, which has 34.7 million subscribers and generated $1.5 billion in revenue in 2014, has been providing private online learning since the launch of the Turkcell Academy last year. In that time it has grown to have 2,000 educational videos, watched by 1.5 million users.

The digital academy became available to the public this month, announced alongside its collaboration with MIT’s Office of Digital Learning.

Sanjay Sarma, MIT’s director of online learning, said: “One of the biggest transformations in education came about as a result of the ubiquity of internet in our lives.”

He added that online education allows universities to take advantage of the latest advances in technology, to maximize the learning experiences of students.

Other educators have sought to move into the market for educating entrepreneurs online.

In November, Cambridge University’s Judge Business School launched the Digital Business Academy.

The venture is a partnership with Cambridge, as well as University College London, Tech City, the UK government’s innovation agency, and start-up course designer Founder Centric.

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