There is another aspect of HBX that we haven't shared much about yet. For the last two years, a small team of faculty, staff and technology experts has been working to create an incredible new space: HBX Live, a virtual classroom that connects 60 students from anywhere in the world to a professor in Boston for a dynamic and engaging HBS-style discussion.
How does it work? Participants from around the globe can log in and join real-time, case-based sessions with HBS faculty, who teach from the HBX Live studio on the Boston campus of public broadcaster, WGBH. In the studio, high resolution monitors are arrayed to mimic the tiers of an HBS classroom. Sessions are expertly “produced” using still and roaming cameras—so realistically that we have had participants break out in a sweat as they experience a professor moving toward them for a cold call.
The HBX Live team was thrilled to see their hard work come together as people remotely connected to the first beta session last year. "It was really powerful to see participants dialed in from different time zones and countries at the same time, and faculty noted that the experience was even more immersive than teaching in a traditional classroom," said Cristina de la Cierva, HBX Live Product Manager. "We immediately saw the impact of this new platform and are excited for all that is to come!"
The team spent most of the past year conducting additional beta sessions, refining the production model and calibrating the technology. For Ross Pearo, Director of HBX CORe, a highlight was watching the first cohort of CORe students participate in a Live session last year and interact in real-time. "It was amazing to see all these people who had only met the CORe faculty through the CORe platform having the chance to interact with them in person on HBX Live," he said. "The engagement of all the participants was really incredible to watch."
We also welcomed groups of Executive Education participants and Harvard Business School alumni from the classes of 2000, 2005, and 2010 into the studio this year. So far, feedback has been very positive overall and we look forward to rolling out more broadly to alumni and Executive Education, as well as exploring new uses altogether with HBX Live.
Here are some highlights (and a few factoids about HBX Live)...