It sounds like your typical online college course, with grades, an instructor and registration required. But this class is open to anyone in the world, and it's free.
Ball State in Muncie plans to join some of the nation's elite universities in pioneering the MOOC -- massive online open course -- with a class next spring on gender roles in comic books. The university hopes to draw at least 1,000 students.
Advocates have called the MOOC (rhymes with fluke) a tool to democratize education, breaking down barriers by allowing anyone, in or out of college, to learn at no cost. For Ball State, the program might offer a chance to lead the way in a new kind of online education.
But like any first-time effort, MOOCs come with their share of questions. How do you attract people to a class that, in this case, doesn't offer college credit? How do you keep your students motivated? And how do you calculate grades for thousands of them?