Harvard Business School Rolls Out Online Education Platform, HBX

The Harvard-MIT rivalry is heating up in online-learning land.

The two institutions collaborate on the nonprofit edX, but each also has its own efforts in digital learning, including massive open online courses (MOOCs). Earlier this week we reported on an effort at MIT to blend online and offline features in an entrepreneurship class offered through edX.

Today Harvard Business School is rolling out a new online-learning platform of its own called HBX. The effort has been quietly underway since the summer of 2012, soon after edX was announced, led by Bharat Anand and Jana Kierstead of HBS. The main goals of HBX seem to be to extend the reach of the business school globally and enhance its reputation.

According to an e-mail sent by Harvard Business School dean Nitin Nohria to the HBS community, HBX will offer three related courses starting in June: business analytics, economics for managers, and financial accounting. The courses will enroll students from greater Massachusetts initially; they are targeting undergrads, grad students in non-business fields, and early-career business people. These are new markets for HBS.

From there, the online platform will expand to other classes and interactive learning environments. “I believe HBX is a powerful new way of extending our mission into the digital learning arena, in the process complementing and strengthening our existing offerings,” Nohria wrote in the e-mail.

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