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Harvard | Ms. Developing Markets
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Best Free MOOCs In Business For July

What’s Your Big Idea

School: University of North Carolina

Platform: Coursera

Registration Link: REGISTER HERE

Start Date: July 4 (6 Weeks)

Workload: 2-3 Hours Per Week

Instructors: Buck Goldstein and Holden Thorp

Credentials:  Goldstein has served as an Entrepreneur in Residence at the University of North Carolina for the past 10 years After earning a law degree, Goldstein founded a series of companies, including Information America, which he ran for 15 years until he sold it to West Publishing. During that time, his company was listed numerous the Inc. 500 list of rapidly growing businesses numerous times. As a result, he was named Entrepreneur of the Year by the Information Industry Association. He has co-authored a book — Engines of Innovation — The Entrepreneurial University in the 21st Century — with Holden Thorp.

Dr. Thorp is the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at Washington University. He’d previously spent two decades at the University of North Carolina, culminating with his appointment as the school’s chancellor. A Ph.D. in chemistry, Thorp has founded two biotechnology companies and sits on various boards, including the National Advisory Council for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Graded: Students must successfully complete all course requirements and pay a fee to receive a signed Statement of Accomplishment.

Description: This course helps students take their business idea from concept to funding using a six-step framework. In particular, the instructors focus on identifying commercially viable innovations and the challenges faced in each step of launching new ventures. Each weekly session is led by a 15-minute video module, including interviews with leading entrepreneurs. Students also complete weekly homework assignments, which culminate in a peer-graded elevator pitch for their idea. Course alums will also serve as TAs to provide additional support to students looking to test their ideas and develop business strategies.

Review: “Given my low expectations, I expected to drop this during the first week. However, after a week, I am still staying in this one because there is some value for me, since I already have a Big Idea and am trying to refine it and find better ways to explain it. The very structured and sometimes too obvious course, does give me some questions to evaluate that are worth asking.

I am not convinced this course is good for someone just starting out. The quizzes in particular seem to be the all-too common brain dead variety that either ask you something obvious (and have at least some answers clearly being wrong choices) or they ask you to regurgitate something, that is not important to memorize (or possibly even know) … I wish the course had more examples (including more short interviews like the one it had at the end of week 1). I think real examples of an idea are more convincing then someone proposing their theories.” For additional reviews, click here.