Several ‘early adopters’ of new technology and distance education on the staff of the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University proposed the notion of a global course using telecommunications technologies, and began to sell the idea to their colleagues in the school. By May 1995, a decision had been made to begin preparing the course for presentation in June 1996, and Dr Rick Staelin took on the directorship of the programme. Intensive discussion began amongst the group of staff who agreed to teach on the course: seven of the fifteen staff were chair professors whose primary interest in the course was its innovative approach and use of technology.