I was particularly impressed by some of the faculty they got to participate, including:
- Eric Rabkin, teaching a course on Fantasy and Sci-Fi. I had his sci-fi course at Michigan (tawdryjones did too!). It was a great class and he's a great professor.
- Robert Sedgewick, who is teaching 4 different courses (on Analytic Combinatorics and Algorithms). I recently wrote about Sedgewick on my boring blog.
- John Hogenesch, teaching Introduction to Genome Science, for which I have tentatively signed up. Actually, I don't know that much about John, but well_lahdidah assures me that he is, indeed, A Big Deal.
(well_lahdidah pointed out that, maybe the participants are all Big Deals because only a Big Deal with tenure can afford to spend time chasing after the wind.)
Upon successfully completing coursework, Coursera may or may not, according to the highly non-committal language in their terms, choose to send you a Letter of Completion. A Letter of Completion which you agree you will not look to Coursera or their participating professors or institutions if you try to convince anyone of its creditworthiness. But who cares? Sometimes there are just things that you want to know, and sometimes there are things that would be useful to you if you knew them, regardless of whether a framed diploma told anyone else you knew them.
It's a pretty exciting idea. I hope to check one out, but of course I do have 8 more Penn courses to finish.
* "hotness" is maybe an exaggeration.