Friday, July 2, 2010

Are eCornell classes hard?

I have completed 5 out of the 6 online classes required to earn a Certificate in Project Leadership from Cornell University’s College of Engineering.

My completed classes are:

Introduction to Project Leadership
Project Teams: Mining Collective Intelligence
Dealing with Difference
Earned Value Management
Influence Without Authority

Introduction to Project Leadership was the first class I took. I became familiar with the eCornell online learning environment. I "met" my instructor for several of the classes, Bob Emborski, as well as several students that I would see in later classes.

The course itself contained a lot of information. The main challenge was to learn as much as I could in the two week time frame of the class.

Thoughts on my First Week of Intro to Project Leadership

Review of Intro to Project Leadership Class -

Project Teams: Mining Collective Intelligence was the most time consuming class for me, because of my need to interact with other students to complete a joint assignment. My frustration with this assignment was a valuable life lesson.

Resources we used in the class -

Final Thoughts on Mining Collective Intelligence -

Dealing with Difference class provided information about cultural and personality differences. The assignments were time consuming but very educational. I spent a lot of time doing supplemental reading because the idea of being able to understand the personalities and cultural backgrounds of team members and use that information to build a more effective team is very interesting to me.

Thoughts about what I learned from my Dealing with Difference class -

The Earned Value Management class focused first on project control systems and then on employee motivation. The project control systems module introduced me to mathematical formulas for evaluating the progress of projects. The employee motivation portion was comprehensive and introduced a lot of new ideas and theories.

Review of Earned Value Management class -

The Influence Without Authority class was another course with a multiple part assignment, which took time but provided the opportunity for me to evaluate and use the ideas the course taught in a real world situation.

First thoughts on my Influence Without Authority class -

I agree with eCornell's recommendation that students spend an hour a day on classwork. I was unfamiliar with the specifics of many of the theories presented in the classes, so I found the coursework challenging. My instructors were available via email to answer any questions I had and provide guidance and recommendations for supplemental reading. The majority of the classes have multiple part written assignments and group discussions. I highly recommend devoting an hour a day to each class, and not waiting until week two to start participating in the class.

I have found the classes very valuable, and well worth the tuition. I have already used the Eighteen Management Competencies handout to improve my resume, and utilized several of the theories and tools presented in the other classes to educate my colleagues and become a more effective manager.

Additional Tips:

Two Tips to get the most out of Project Leadership Classes:

Study Tip - How to keep track of online class coursework -

Thank you for your time! If you have any questions about my experience with the eCornell Project Leadership classes, please email me at


  1. Our company uses both Cornell and The Hay Group.Leadership skills are very important in the workplace. It is required for our management team to attend transforming learning E-learning courses. They are a series of e-learning modules on leadership. It helps them understand leadership from the point of view of those being led. It gives leaders what they need to make choices in their leadership behavior and offers clear ‘next steps’ for development.

  2. Hi Kathleen,

    I am currently thinking about enrolling in the Project Leadership Course from eCornell. While the tuition fee seems a bit steep for me (I will pay for the course myself), I imagine that having a certificate from Cornell University on my CV will do me good.

    I have an MBA degree and a PMP designation. Therefore, I would like to ask for your advice. Is the fee of the Certificate worth it? Thank you in advance.

  3. If you plan on a long term career as a project manager, then yes, even with your level of experience, I would suggest getting your PMP. You can prepare yourself for the exam in one of the PMP trainingproviders like You can do minimal prep-work to get 40 PMI® Contact Hours and apply to PMI for PMP Exam before the class begins.

  4. Choose Ecube Leadership training courses to acquire the latest skills and techniques in leadership and communication, decision making, problem solving.