December 27th, 2013 | University

‘Financial Markets’ goes online

Recent Nobel prize winner Robert Shiller will soon be teaching a virtual lecture hall of tens of thousands of students.

Shiller’s “Financial Markets” course on the massive, open and online platform Coursera currently has slightly over 67,000 enrollees, the Wall Street Journal reports. A Coursera representative said that this enrollment makes his webcast lecture “the most popular among hundreds of offerings for 2014.”

Two of the most popular courses on the site – such as Wesleyan professor Scott Plous’ “Social Psychology” and Duke professor Dan Ariely’s “A Beginner’s Guide to Irrational Behavior” – drew 260,000 and 203,000 students when last taught. The average Coursera enrollment, according to Gautam Kaul, a professor of finance at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, is approximately 50,000. However, students still have significant time to sign up for the free course, which does not begin until Feb. 17.

Enrollment, though, does not appear to be a major concern to Shiller.

“I have no goal for enrollment. My goal is just greater enlightenment about finance which really is the cornerstone of modern civilization,” he told the News Thursday evening.

Shiller also said that he has not worked with Coursera to advertise the course beyond mentioning it in talks and lectures he has recently given.

The course will aim to “offer understanding of the theory of finance and its relation to the history, strengths and imperfections of such institutions as banking, insurance, securities, futures, and other derivatives markets, and the future of these institutions over the next century,” according to the course description on the Coursera site.

According to the Coursera website, Shiller’s course will require between six and 12 hours of work per week. Plous’ “Social Psychology,” on the other hand, requires between four and eight.