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Peer Review

15.356 How to Develop "Breakthrough" Products and Services



Overall Numeric Rating:

4.5 stars
Content Quality: 4.25 stars
Effectiveness: 4.25 stars
Ease of Use: 4.75 stars
Reviewed: Jun 16, 2012 by Business Editorial Board
Overview: This module is a contained online course in the subject of product innovation. It covers recent research into the development of “breakthroughs” systematically by discussing topics such as the “Lead User Method,” in which companies gather information from innovative consumers.
Type of Material: Online Course
Recommended Uses: The module can be used as a self-paced course and/or included in a traditional classroom structure. Additionally, isolated portions can be used as in-class work or for home viewing. It may also serve as online support to an existing course, supplement for a unit on product innovation or product development.
Technical Requirements: Real Media player for the videos.
Identify Major Learning Goals: The learning goals of the module are to deliver an entire course in/overview of breakthrough product/service innovation. By the end of the semester, students should be extremely familiar with the concept and able to identify lead research.
Target Student Population: Graduate or senior-level undergraduate
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: As stated on the home page, the module is designed for graduate level abilities. It is a half-term course that can be used stand-alone or incorporated into a longer course.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4.25 stars
Strengths: The module is a fully outlined course. As such it includes readings, lecture notes, video lectures, assignments, and course outline, essentially completing much of the prep work for other instructors. The outline appears to cover the major topical areas in this field with multiple scholarship references throughout the support material. Video lectures are engaging and utilize guest speakers with the latest information. Lecture notes seem thorough and laid out in a logical fashion. It appears that students would get a well-rounded education on this topic. Support video and lecture materials are available online, or for download. Good quality content and easy navigation of the site.
Concerns: The module’s prime focus is a self-contained online course, which may or may not limit its flexibility with a traditional classroom structure. Instructors teaching in a classroom may need to make alterations to the material. Additionally, the course is only half-term, and therefore would need adaptation for a traditional semester-length course. Some materials are minimal in the open course-ware format. The materials presented are those used in 2004, so more recent examples/case studies might be available that are not posted here.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4.25 stars
Strengths: The module covers a central marketing topic and does so in detailed fashion. Video lectures, lecture notes and readings all appear timely, and seem to flow logically from one concept to the next. Instructors would find all materials either on the site or easy to locate elsewhere, and could adapt the course given this support. The entire subject appears to be efficiently organized and readily usable. Students should find this course valuable to their marketing education.
Concerns: The module requires students to write two smaller papers and/or one larger one for the listed assignments. Instructors wishing to deviate from this outline would need to incorporate additional prep time. Also, depending on audience and course length, students may require more assignments to ensure understanding. The course itself is not interactive, beyond the videos.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4.75 stars
Strengths: This module is incredibly well laid-out, with every needed resource at hand. The course structure has been developed, along with thorough lecture notes, video lectures and assignments. With the exception of the readings which need to be located/purchased, all materials are on the website making access easy and at any time day or night. The pace of the material could be lengthened depending on usage needs and/or incorporated into the structure of a larger class.
Concerns: For this reviewer's very new computer, the speed of download for video lectures was longer than expected, though this presents no large drawback to the effectiveness of the material. Not every lecture has notes/slides available; not all video lectures are available.

Other Issues and Comments: Overall, this is an easy-to-use open course. Individual instructors will need to preview the support materials that are available.

Creative Commons:
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States