Deane Bailey: Logical conclusion

January 26, 2013 

Logical conclusion

A few parts of the Jan. 20 article “In Duke logic class, with 180,000 friends” lacked logic.

First, it wasn’t 180,000 people in the class when 70,000 didn’t watch the first video, 13,000 didn’t take the first quiz and, at press time, only 400 submitted the final work. So, the actual final number doesn’t end up being so different from an auditorium class at many large universities.

Second, the real logic puzzler came on the monies. My experience as a faculty member in higher education tells me that the professor is not donating his time nor is Duke spending money on 2,000 hours of technician time on a business model for a possible “percentage of any profits.”

Indeed, there has to be something more immediate. But that answer didn’t come in the article; rather it took a bit of logic to discover the answer, which was in the photo of the screen shot of Professor Walter Sinnott-Armstrong holding up a book. The text is blurry, but a closer look reveals that he’s one of the book’s authors.

There’s the “monetize” part of the business that the Coursera founder, Scott Sandell, conveniently fails to mention: book sales! Thanks for the logic workout. And I didn’t even have to take the course!

Deane Bailey, Raleigh

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