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Distance Education Mba Project Management Program: A Case Study

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

IE and EM Program Innovation

Tagged Division

Engineering Management

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.552.1 - 12.552.15



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Paper Authors


Kam Jugdev Athabasca University

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Dr. Kam Jugdev is an Associate Professor of Project Management and Strategy in the MBA program at Athabasca University in Alberta and an Adjunct Professor at the Schulich School of Engineering, University of Calgary, Alberta. Her specific areas of interest and research include project management as a source of competitive advantage, project lessons learned, project management maturity models, project success/failure, project management education, and distance education. Dr. Jugdev actively contributes to the advancement of academic and professional communities of management practice.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Distance Education MBA Project Management Program: A Case Study


With its roots in systems engineering, project management is a relatively new discipline taught in the fields of Engineering, Business, Information Technology/Management Information Systems, Computing Sciences, and Operations Management. Whereas in 1993 there were 7 universities offering master’s-level degree programs in project management, these days there are over 59 worldwide, yet only 5 offer such programs in the distance education mode.

Distance education is no longer seen as a second-rate way of teaching; it is just different. Distance education addresses geographical, time, indirect cost, flexibility, and service needs for learners. Whereas naysayers challenge distance education on issues of student isolation, course time commitments, and program quality, strides in the field demonstrate that distance education programs do deliver high quality education. Academic teams address the isolation factor through engaging and interactive online discussions that develop a sense of community. They address the time factor by pacing students through courses, balancing the individual and team mark components, and ensuring that marks are allocated for participation. Program quality is assessed through formative and summative processes.

In this paper, we examine some of the main challenges and benefits in distance education. We focus on the four roles that faculty and course development staff collaboratively undertakes to deliver courses online: the pedagogical, management, technical, and social roles. In doing so, we focus on our four project management courses and some of the practices we use in our own university to address distance education issues. We conclude with some recommendations for effective program delivery practices.


With its roots in systems engineering, project management is a relatively new discipline. Historically, project management originated in the construction, engineering, and technical fields, and it is now applied to various industries, including new product development, product innovation, and information technology 1. As a reference discipline, project management is typically taught in Engineering, Business, Information Technology, Management Information Systems, Computing Sciences, and Operations Management departments 2.

The exponential increase in the use of project management in industry has resulted in an increased demand for project management training. Since changes often occur much faster in business than in education 3, we were interested in examining some of the benefits and challenges related to MBA project management programs delivered through distance education.

Academics that teach in both traditional and distance education modes constantly focus on course improvements. Project management curricula are interesting to develop and challenging because the field is so diverse in terms of the industries in which it is practiced, as well as the


Jugdev, K. (2007, June), Distance Education Mba Project Management Program: A Case Study Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1539

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