U.Va. Darden School’s First Coursera Class Reaches 71,000 Registrants

Released: 29-Jan-2013 4:00 PM EST
Source Newsroom: University of Virginia Darden School Foundation
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29 January 2013

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Virginia – Enrollment for University of Virginia Darden School of Business Professor Ed Hess’ five-week Coursera course, “Grow to Greatness: Smart Growth for Private Business, Part I,” reached 71,000 registrants on its 28 January start date.

"We are thrilled and humbled by the level of interest in Darden's first massive open online course (MOOC),” said Hess. “The course gives students and small business owners the opportunity to learn more about the challenges of growing a private business and the Darden experience, regarded as the best educational experience in the world. Students are attending from all over the world. Every continent is represented.”

Registrants hail from India, Spain, China, Australia, Mexico, Poland, Germany, Singapore, Portugal, Nigeria, Pakistan, South Africa, Romania, Indonesia and a number of other South American and former Soviet Union countries.

“Reading the postings in over 50 student-created study groups, it’s clear that globally, students and entrepreneurs yearn to learn more about how to successfully grow existing businesses,” stated Hess. “It is fascinating to watch how the students have created and joined study groups that are either based on geography or type of business.”

“My responsibility now is to engage with these students weekly through the discussion forums and online office hours to maximize their engagement and learning,” said Hess. “The response far exceeded our expectations. Let me stress that this MOOC has been a Darden team effort to extend Darden's reach in furtherance of its mission to improve the world.”

“We view Darden’s MOOCs as strategic additions to the portfolio of technologies and methods that we use to reach and teach students,” said Darden’s Dean Bob Bruner. “Darden’s mission to improve the world by developing and inspiring responsible leaders and by advancing knowledge requires that we stay at the leading edge in all that concerns student learning.”

Other Darden MOOCs are slated for later in the spring. Professor Michael Lenox’s six-week “Foundations of Business Strategy” starts on 4 March and the four-week Part II of Hess’ “Grow to Greatness” course begins on 29 April. MOOCs are free and available to anyone in the world with a computer and Internet connection. Like other Coursera partner schools, Darden does not award credit for completed MOOCs. Rather students earn a Statement of Accomplishment upon meeting course requirements.

To sign up for the Hess, Lenox and other University of Virginia MOOCs, visit https://www.coursera.org/#courses.

About the Darden School of Business
The University of Virginia Darden School of Business is one of the world's leading business schools, offering MBA, Ph.D. and Executive Education programs. The unique Darden experience combines the case study method, the highest-ranked faculty whose research advances global managerial practice and business education, and a tight-knit learning environment to develop principled and complete leaders who are ready to make an impact.

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