Cornell University has had the highest-ranked hotel school in the U.S. for several years. In fact, visitors to Cornell's Ithaca, NY campus often stay in the 150-room Statler Hotel, an elegant establishment that gives hotel students the chance to put their academic training into daily practice.
Cornell's School of Hotel Administration is of great interest not only to its 890 students but also to the 1,700 industry professionals enrolled in the executive program. A few years ago, a segment of both of these groups gained access to a powerful new online platform for hotel administration education. Line56 recently spoke to Cornell University Professor Sherry Kimes about the platform and its compelling implications for both industry and the academy.

Kimes, who has been at Cornell since 1988, first specialized in revenue management for hotels. "About eight years ago, I started applying those concepts to restaurants," she says. The decision was partly driven by the nature of the market. "Food service is four times larger than hospitality."

Kimes thus prepared for and taught a restaurant revenue management course (for both students and executives). In 2003, she was approached by eCornell, the University-owned e-learning organization that specializes in translating Cornell's academic expertise to online, executive-facing platforms. eCornell wanted Kimes to help develop an online version of her restaurant revenue management course. "I thought it was a great idea, but I didn't have any time," she recalls.

However, eCornell stuck with its pitch, and Kimes decided to go with it. She was motivated by e-learning's potential to deliver her course materials to a whole new audience. The delivery itself proved to be a smooth process thanks partly to the professor's own high level of organization. "I give students class notes ahead of time so I have more time during the semester to work with them," she says.

Get the full story at Portals Magazine