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I poked around at someof the Coursera links, too, and I'mhonestly not 
sure what they're up to, but my guess is that Coursera is in chrysalis 
form and will morph into something new (or old) when the time is right. 
The fact that it began with $16 million in venture capital funds sort of 
points in that direction.

The discussion of it at the end of article in The Chronicle of Higher 
Education is interesting.

http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/coursera-announces-expansion-adding-16-universities/39964

  Coursera seems to have been able to get numerous more or less high 
powered universities on board on an experimental basis, in large part, 
it appears, for marketing. And it is not clear that they mean to remain 
a non-credit project, which may account for the overprotesting on the 
Penn certificate(Penn apparently doesn't intend to get into the academic 
credit granting business with these courses).

  The fact that they have a million or two enrollments is interesting, 
but it would be more telling to know, for example, how many would-be 
students have done any work in the courses, and how many have completed. 
My guess is that those numbers will be respectively a small fraction and 
a smaller fraction of the enrollees. Which is not necessarily a 
criticism, as it has always been thus in distance ed.   And the project 
now seems to be to add as many universities and courses as possible. 
Perhaps they've found a model to out-Phoenix Phoenix (as in the Univ. of 
Phoenix).

Ken A

On 12/2/2012 11:58 PM, P wrote:
> This is an important discussion. Being an avowed anti-academic, I am 
> all in favour of learning for its own sake. I am happy to accept that 
> in this particular case, it worked well. I'm sure the prof. got 
> academic cred. for it, and the institution could claim its numbers 
> were up. The student hunters now have a super pool of potential fish 
> to fish for other courses.