The University of British Columbia is a pioneer in online education for working professionals. Many of its courses apply to ecommerce merchants and we’ve asked Raquel Collins, senior program leader for UBC Continuing Studies, to explain these courses to us.
PeC: Thank you, Raquel, for your time. We’ve heard about UBC’s web analytics program. Could you tell us about it?
COLLINS: It’s called The UBC Award of Achievement in Web Analytics. It’s 100 percent online, and it has drawn over 600 students from 15 countries around the world. It is the first program of its kind anywhere. The program combines the expertise of the leading thinkers in this field into a single program that offers global best practices in web analytics.
We offer other online courses, too, that could be helpful to ecommerce business owners. These include programs in project management, business analysis and marketing strategy. In January 2008, we’ll launch the Certificate in Web Intelligence program, which is a collaboration between UBC, the University of California Irvine and the Web Analytics Association.
PeC: Tell us how these courses will benefit ecommerce merchants.
COLLINS: Project management courses teach owners how to manage their projects more effectively (saving time and money), where as business systems analysis courses teach owners how to improve their operational effectiveness through technology. Integrated marketing strategy and web analytics/intelligence are also key topics for the small business owner to understand his/her customer better and maintain a competitive edge in his/her market.
PeC: How much do the courses cost, and how long does it take to complete them?
COLLINS: The courses are between four to eight weeks in length and range in price from $675 – $2,100 (Canadian) each. There are discounts available for groups of three or more, or if you are a member of the Web Analytics Association (for the Web Analytics and Web Intelligence courses only).
PeC: We are curious how the online instruction works. Is there a timeframe to complete? And how do students ask questions of the instructors?
COLLINS: The courses are delivered through an online learning management system, which provides orientation, schedules, grades, instructor contact information, resources, and curriculum, all available directly through an Internet browser.
Students normally spend six to ten hours per week in each course reading case studies and white papers as well as completing online reading, online discussions and independent study. Each course has scheduled assignments and projects due at a specific date during the course, which are assessed by the online tutor. The online tutors guide, grade and provide feedback through continuous email communication as well as online discussion sessions, online chat and the occasional phone call.
PeC: How does someone enroll in your courses?
COLLINS: The easiest way is online through our website at www.tech.ubc.ca. But you can also register via phone, fax, mail or in person. All of the contact details are on our website.