Internet changes course studies

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    By Bettijo B. Hirschi

    People say the Internet is changing everything. The curriculum in the Marriott School of Business is no exception.

    The business school is adding topics to current curriculum as well as adding new classes to keep up with the innovations of e-commerce, said Scott Sampson, professor of operations management and co-chair of the Marriott School e-business curriculum committee.

    “The Internet has created a new channel of business that our school needs to begin to focus on,” he said.

    Things that have not been important in the past need to be paid attention to, Sampson said.

    The Marriott School is trying to meet the demand for e-commerce education, but it does not have a separate school of e-business, he said.

    The school is trying to integrate the new business philosophies, which emerged with e-business, into traditional business classes, Sampson said.

    “Currently we don’t have a separate distinct e-business program. So what we’re trying to do is build e-business into our current programs,” he said.

    Pete Clark, professor of management, is teaching a new class called Business Strategy for the New Economy.

    Clark said he invested a lot of time trying to discover what relevant business practices he should teach.

    It has been a difficult task because drastic changes occur so fast, he said.

    Clark also said he thinks the effort he has put in will pay off because the course will offer education on the new and important topic of e-commerce.

    The world is dominated by information technology and business needs to keep up, said Hal Heaton, professor of finance and associate director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at the Marriott School.

    In his entrepreneur classes, Heaton has noticed the vast majority of new business ideas are e-commerce related.

    Heaton said this shift in business focus, from industrial to technology, is of the magnitude of the Industrial Revolution.

    Whenever there is a dramatic shift like this there is an “economic window of opportunity,” Heaton said.

    Both Heaton and Sampson said e-business education poses some great difficulties to traditional education formats.

    For example, a textbook on e-business is nearly impossible because things are constantly changing, Sampson said.

    “With e-business the new challenge is that thing change so rapidly,” he said. “The rule of thumb is that with the Internet two months is a year.”

    Another challenge is identifying any “tried and true” business principle with e-business because a lot of business practices being used today have not been tested over time, Sampson said.

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