Marketing 101 On Coursera Underway!

Yesterday was the start of the Coursera course, An Introduction To Marketing, presented by the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. So you may be wondering, why would someone with an MBA in marketing want to take this course? Well, for several reasons really. One of my pet peeves in regards to how people see the non-STEM fields is that they do not require ongoing practice for proficiency. The truth is that writing takes practice; communication takes practice; marketing takes practice. And this “practice” is not always sitting at a desk doing marketing tasks. It includes getting a refresher in foundation theory; attending conferences and seminars; continuing education so to speak.

Another big reason is because it’s free and it’s…well…Wharton. Not only do we have a prestigious university name here, but we have the faculty from a world renowned business school sharing knowledge with us. Even if it is a review, this is an opportunity that I just could not pass up.

It is hard to gauge how many people are in the course. The discussion board has a thread created where you can introduce yourself and so far there are 537 posts. Sounds overwhelming, but that is a MOOC by nature. The entire course grade is based off of two quizzes and one final. Not too bad for a 9 week course. I’m about 1/3 of the way through the video lectures for the first week. I must say I am very impressed. Professor Barbara Khan is very engaging and knows how to focus on the key points, and still include real world examples without sounding long-winded (which is key in an online course). I won’t get into too many details on what we are learning specifically though, because if you are really interested, you should sign up. But I assure you…it’s good stuff.

Besides the course itself (which is really just lecture videos, discussion threads, and tests if you think about it), I am curious to see if any networking or professional relationships will stem from this. Even if it does not happen for myself, it would be interesting to see if this happens for anyone. From this map, it seems that about 1/2 of the “class” is from outside the United States (maybe more even). The course already has its own Twitter account (currently with 671 followers, another clue of how many are enrolled in the course) and Facebook page. Both are pretty low on activity, but my guess is that will change soon.

This course also includes the signature track option; but I won’t be taking advantage of it (I do not have a webcam, and in all honesty, I’m not too enthusiastic with sending out copies of my government issued ID). It is also part of the “foundation series” of business courses available from Wharton, that mirrors what their 1st year MBA students take. However with my experience with online learning, I’ll stop short of saying that this is a Wharton MBA for free. Yes, the information imparted may be the same. But as a student in a MOOC, you do not get the opportunity to engage directly with the professor, the caliber of your peers varies widely, and no research, writing or presentations are expected from the student.

Needless to say I’m very excited to be participating in this. So be sure to look out for a blog post in 9 weeks or so that will give my overall review of how it all went 🙂 .