On Tuesday, Philip Zelikow will hold the opening session of his spring-term course "The Modern World: Global History Since 1760" at the University of Virginia.
But thousands of students far from Charlottesville will have had their first taste of his class online by then.
Zelikow's is the university's first MOOC - or massive open online course - the latest wave of technological innovation in higher education. U.Va. has previously offered online classes to its students. But "The Modern World" will be available for free, without credit, to anyone around the world who signs up for it through the for-profit Coursera online network.
As of the middle of last week, 35,000 people had registered with Coursera for Zelikow's class, he said.