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I The Rady School of Mansays Allen Brandt, director of the MET fund. To learn agement at the University of more, visit California San Diego has created I In April, the MIT Sloan School of Management in VirBELA, a three-dimensional virCambridge, Massachusetts, unveiled its virtual "4Dx" tual community, in collaboration classroom as part of its Big Data executive education with VirBELA co-founders Alex program. The two-day 4Dx offering was conducted using Howland, project manager, and AvayaLife Engage, a web-based collaboration environRonald Rembisz of consulting firm ment where students choose personalized avatars and Rembisz & Associates. The virtual interact in a virtual room with faculty and classmates. world is designed to provide busiAs participants move throughout the room, voices ness students a place where they of other participants become louder or softer dependcan collaborate and work on multiing on their proximity, allowing for breakout discusnational teams. sions within the same virtual space. Participants in In October, the Rady School the two-day offering could opt for either on-campus, launched VirBELA with a Global online, or 4Dx delivery. During the course, activity in Business Simulation Competition the virtual classroom was visible to online participants, in the virtual environment; eight and the virtual room was projected into the physical student teams of four vied for prize classroom, so that participants in all three formats money of US$50,000 as they ran a could interact in real time. simulated automobile manufacturing When the school offered the course again in Octocompany. Members of each team were globally disber, organizers hoped to enroll more virtual than facetributed and from different schools. They used Second to-face participants—150 virtual, compared to only 50 Life-style avatars, a text chat system, a VoiP system, to 60 in the classroom. About 70 students had enrolled and 3-D visuals to communicate. in the 4Dx course by mid-September. The Sloan School In the future, says Rembisz, VirBELA will is considering expandbe a testing ground for virtual learning, by ing the format to incorporating simulations, serious games, other exec ed courses, interactive learning events, and individual global collaborations, and even MOOC and team assessment activities. delivery, according to VirBELA was created and implemented with the help of a US$1.7 million grant from an article on the site the Graduate Management Admission CounPoets & Quants. cil's Management Education for Tomorrow The BigData 4Dx program is co-taught (MET) Fund Ideas to Innovation (i2i) by Erik BrynjolfsChallenge. The i2i challenge awarded funding to 20 institutions for their ideas to son, director of MIT's Center for Digital improve management education. (To read Business, and Alex about another i2i project, see "Shaping Education's Future in the Cloud" on page Pentland, director of 54 of the July/August 2013 issue of BizEd.) the MIT Media Lab VirBELA was recognized for its potential Entrepreneurship Program. For information, to "break down cultural barriers, reimagvisit ine collaboration, and provide faculty ways Student avatars interact in MIT's virtual to deliver coursework and grade results," data4dx. 4Dx classroom BizEd November/December 2013 61

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