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July11, 2012

Vol. 112, No. 15

BUZZ BOX: Offering courses online: Alums weigh the impact

In response to: Princeton joins consortium to offer free online classes

Published on July11, 2012

A May 16 Campus Notebook story on Princeton’s plans to partner with Coursera to offer free online lectures and other course materials drew alumni comments at PAW Online.

MICHAEL L. SENA ’69 *72 offered a word of caution about “freebie courses”: “Before Princeton begins acting like an upstart social-network company, it should consider the full range of eventual outcomes.”

MIKA PROVATA-CARLONE *02 s’00 described the partnership as “Socrates for our age — a university that becomes a mentor figure, an inspiration, and a path to a wiser, more thoughtful life.” While it will not offer an alternative to a “real” Princeton degree, she said, students everywhere “will be able to see what Princeton, four extraordinary years of it, can add to their lives, to their minds, and to their hearts.”

JOHN CARDWELL ’68 p’99 expressed surprise that Princeton had joined with Coursera. “What is its mission, vision, and values and how is it being evaluated? What are its implications for the current diversity movement on campus? How will Princeton’s brand be affected? And are the trustees behind it?”

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