Stanford GSB Pension to launch course on retirement planning

The course is designed for individuals who want to create a sound retirement plan

October 03, 2013 4:18 IST | India Infoline News Service
Stanford Graduate School of Business will launch its first massive open online course (MOOC) in October, The Finance of Retirement and Pensions, led by finance professor and pension expert Joshua Rauh. The course, which runs for eight weeks starting October 14, 2013, will help participants become more informed decision makers about their own retirement portfolios and about related government programs and policies. Prospective participants may find more information, including a video overview, and register for the course at: http://online.stanford.edu/course/rauh-finance.

This inaugural Stanford GSB MOOC is part of the school’s initiative to explore the most productive ways to use educational technology. “We see educational technology as an important way to enhance the on-campus experience for our students, as well as a way to have a larger global impact by leveraging Stanford resources,” says Garth Saloner, dean of Stanford Graduate School of Business.

According to finance professor Rauh, Americans are more responsible for their own retirement than ever before, and so the open access of the MOOC format is well suited to his course’s subject matter. “Most individuals in the developed world hope or expect to retire someday — to stop working and start living off of their savings, combined with income from pension systems such as Social Security,” he observes. “However, for many people today, their plans to retire are threatened by financial realities.

“Our goal is to help people make better decisions about their own retirement portfolio and investments, and to shed light on U.S. policies that have important implications for retirees and taxpayers,” he says.

Rauh explains that the people who will be most interested in his course are individuals who want to develop or enhance their financial plan for retirement, finance professionals in the retirement fund space, and taxpayers who want to know more about government-funded retirement programs and their sustainability.

Rauh’s eight-week class is comprised of two 45-minute online teaching modules each week. Each of the 45-minute modules is, in turn, comprised of easy-to-digest 5- to 7-minute segments that can be viewed at any time. Additional course components include assignments, quizzes, a team project, interactive webinars, forums led by Stanford GSB alumni, and weekly updates from Rauh. Participants can expect to spend a minimum of four hours a week on all of the course elements.

MOOC Culminates in Public Pension Symposium
In addition to some of the unique collaborative elements of the course, The Finance of Retirement and Pensions will culminate in an interactive symposium about the challenges of U.S. pension systems. Called “Innovative Ideas for the Future of U.S. Public Sector Pensions,” the symposium will be held in January 2014 at Stanford Graduate School of Business. The event will feature representatives of the MOOC teams with the five most promising ideas for pension reform, who will present their proposals to a distinguished panel of faculty and experts in finance and public policy. Expenses will be covered by Stanford GSB in collaboration with the Hoover Institution.

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