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Startup studies: Steve Blank offering free online course in February

Update, Feb. 12: Steve Blank’s class described below has been postponed. For full details, see his his blog.

Under usual circumstances, taking a class through Stanford University from a professor who is one of the top 10 “Influencers of Silicon Valley” would first involve getting accepted into the university, finding a way to get there and lastly, paying a high tuition or per class fee. Thanks to Coursera, an online learning startup founded by two Stanford professors, you can now take a class taught by serial entrepreneur Steve Blank without ever leaving your living room. On top of that, the class is free and open to the public.

Yup, you heard right. Starting this month, Coursera is offering a slew of free online courses taught by Stanford professors. Of particular interest to our audience are two courses on tech startups, The Lean Launchpad, taught by Steve Blank (left) and Technology Entrepreneurship, taught by Chuck Eesley.

Despite the price tag ($0), don’t be fooled into thinking the coursework is designed to let you off easy. To give you an idea of what you’re in for, those who sign up for the class receive access to two hours worth of video lecture each week as well as homework assignments, quizzes and exams that are graded automatically. At the end of the course students receive a letter grade and potentially a certificate of completion.

Blank’s course, The Lean Launchpad, will focus on turning “a great idea into a great company” as each week “will be a new adventure as you test out each part of your business model.” With no specified start date other than February 2012, check out the video below to hear a rundown of the course and then decide for yourself whether you’re ready to “hit the books” in a whole new way. While taking a college course may not give you an excuse to act like a college freshman again, I think we can all gather around and raise a toast in appreciation of the age-old saying that the best things in life are free.

Learn more about The Lean Launchpad course and register on launchpad-class.org.


Image credit: Screenshot of Coursera and photo of Steve Blank from launchpad-class.org.

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