Multi-Disciplinary Studies in Online Business Education: Observations, Future Directions, and Extensions

Multi-Disciplinary Studies in Online Business Education: Observations, Future Directions, and Extensions

J. B. Arbaugh (University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-615-2.ch001
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Abstract

This chapter argues that research in online teaching and learning in higher education should take a multi-disciplinary orientation, especially in settings whose curricula are drawn from several disciplinary perspectives such as business schools. The benefits of a multi-disciplinary approach include curriculum integration and enhanced communication and collective methodological advancement among online teaching and learning scholars from the disciplines that comprise the integrated curricula. After reviewing multi-disciplinary studies in business education published to date, the chapter concludes with recommendations for advancing research in this emerging stream. Some of the primary recommendations include the use of academic discipline as a moderating variable, more studies that incorporate samples comprised of faculty and/or undergraduate students, and the development of more comprehensive measures of student learning.
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Main Focus Of The Chapter

In this chapter, we discuss why the relative lack of work that comprehensively examines the business school curriculum in online teaching and learning is cause for concern, and articulate the potential problems that this lack of attention may create for business schools going forward. We also examine both epistemological and practical reasons for which disciplinary differences between components of the business school curriculum matter in online and blended delivery, and why and how studies of online business education should reflect and better capture these differences. That discussion is followed by a report of the primary findings from multi-disciplinary studies in business education published to date. The chapter concludes with a discussion of potential implications for research specific to business education that could be extended to studies of online teaching and learning in other disciplines. Although this chapter explicitly examines the state of research on online teaching and learning within business schools, we hope that it also may stimulate scholars in other disciplines to consider their fields more comprehensively when designing and conducting research.

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