Industries Education

Darden class will be U.Va.’s first ‘massive open online course’

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As part of the University of Virginia’s new partnership with Stanford-led Coursera LLC, the Darden School of Business will offer the university’s first “massive open online course,” or MOOC.

The course,  called “Grow to Greatness: Smart Growth for Private Businesses,” will be offered in January worldwide, at no cost, to anyone with a computer and an Internet connection.

U.Va. was one of several universities that entered a partnership with Coursera last month.

Some members of the U.Va. Board of Visitors cited slowness to adopt online education as one of the reasons university President Teresa Sullivan was forced to resign in June. She was reinstated two weeks later.

The university said its Coursera agreement had been in the works for many months before the July announcement.

Darden’s dean, Bob Bruner, said the course will serve as a “learning launch” through which Darden gain insights that can help to improve the school’s programs.

“The course can advance our mission of developing principled leaders for the world of practical affairs,” Bruner said in a statement.

Bruner said a recent research report, “Accelerating Job Creation in America: The Promise of High-Impact Companies” by Spencer L. Tracy Jr., funded by the Small Business Administration, has challenged the common belief that most new job creation in the United States comes from entrepreneurial startups.

Spencer’s research found that almost all net U.S. job creation in recent years came — not from startups — but from older existing private high-growth businesses.

Darden’s “Grow to Greatness” course grew out of research funded by Darden’s Batten Institute that studied the growth challenges of 54 high-growth private businesses in 23 states.

Since the course was announced in mid-July, more than 15,700 people have signed up. Registration is available at


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