Back to school

Darden - Saunders Hall


It’s the week after Labor Day and that means schools are back in session almost everywhere in the US. To get in the spirit, I’ve signed up for a seven-week course via Coursera called “Networked Life,” taught by a professor from my alma mater.

While the subject matter looks interesting, I’m just as interested in the primary experience of participating in a distance-learning course. As higher education costs rise every year against a backdrop of social business trends, I’m keeping an eye on how new business models impact the value of a traditional university degree and course of education.

Fifteen years ago, most people thought the idea of buying goods online and from people they would likely never meet seemed crazy. Today eBay is a $65 billion company. These days, the stigma against online dating has decreased significantly and couples will more readily admit that they met on or (here in Texas, the sites “FarmersOnly” and “ChristianMingle” advertise heavily). Online education may not currently receive the respect that offline does, but that doesn’t mean the shift will never happen.

So in the meantime, I’m going to learn a little bit and get a first-hand preview of what the future of education and learning might look like. If you want to take some classes with me, here’s my Coursera profile.



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