Extended Classroom Helps EMBA Students Balance Life and School

State-of-the-art classroom technology is increasing access for students in the Yale School of Management’s MBA for Executives program this semester. The new Extended Classroom feature, which uses digital technology to enable students to periodically join class from remote locations, has been expanded.

“This year, the technology is available in four classrooms, which means that all EMBA classes, in all three areas of focus, can access it,” says Silvia McCallister-Castillo, assistant dean for the MBA for Executives program.

Yale SOM piloted the Extended Classroom last year with members of the Class of 2018. After positive feedback, the option was expanded.

Students in the EMBA program travel to New Haven every other weekend for classes on Friday and Saturday, as well as attending four in-residence weeks over the course of the 22-month program. To access the Extended Classroom, students must register in advance. They may not use the feature for two class weekends in a row.

“Students who commute long distances, including from around the U.S., Europe, and Latin America, now have the option of commuting remotely,” says McCallister-Castillo. “It’s been especially helpful with all the weather extremes this year. The recent hurricanes in Florida and Texas forced most flights out of Houston and Miami—where we have large populations of students—to be canceled. The Extended Classroom means that students don’t have to compromise on attending a top EMBA program due to physical distance.”

Jennifer White ’18 began using the Extended Classroom in its pilot phase.

“It has allowed me to maximize effectiveness across all aspects of my life,” says White, senior vice president of strategic partnerships for Klick Health. “Connecting with Yale SOM every other weekend remotely lets me attend my number-one choice MBA program and still have time and the mental capacity to focus on the other things that I love: my family, my nonprofit board work, and, of course, my career.”

David Bach, deputy dean and professor in the practice of management, says the program does not compromise the community character of the Executive MBA program. On any given class weekend, nearly all students are on campus, and teachers don’t have to change the way they teach to accommodate remote students.

“My own experience in the classroom, as well as feedback I have received from colleagues, suggests that we have seamlessly integrated remote students,” says Bach. “I can see the remote students on the screens, and they can raise their hands, get called on, and contribute to our discussion just as easily as students who are physically in the room. Even quick in-class group exercises and role-playing have worked better than we thought.”

Matt Chmura ’18 says that while there’s no substitute for being on campus, the Extended Classroom is a helpful tool when he can’t be present.

“On two occasions balancing school with family and work has made it impossible for me to get to New Haven,” says Chmura, vice president of marketing and communications for the Boston Bruins and a father of three. “On those occasions, it has been fantastic to have the Extended Classroom option. It’s great way to actively engage in the class without physically being in Evans.”

Related:
Read a blog post by Deputy Dean David Bach introducing the Extended Classroom.
Read a blog post by Jennifer White ’18 about her experience piloting the Extended Classroom.