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UNext connections

I write out of concern stemming from an article published in Mother Jones, Jan.-Feb., 2000 issue, "Digital Diplomas," pp. 34 ff, in which the University of Chicago is mentioned as having signed an agreement with UNext.com (founded by Michael Milken). UNext would offer U of C royalties to market online courses. Evidently, the trustees approved this agreement, but according to this article, the Chronicle of Higher Education has reported that University of Chicago trustee Andrew Rosenfield is also head of UNext! Also Daniel Fischel, dean of the Law School, and two Nobel Prize winners in economics have investments in the UNext company.

Thus, it would seem that this issue of marketing the U of Chicago name to set up online courses is especially in question given the web of investment between U of C faculty and officials. In fact, as the Mother Jones article discusses, it is not clear that commercial, online courses are really desirable at all, or that only certain aspects of courses should be set up in electronic form. I submit that this topic of whether and how the U of Chicago would establish online courses is worthy of investigation by the University of Chicago Magazine.

Fred H. Martinson , PhD'68
Knoxville, Tennessee

The topic is one on which the Magazine has reported, including coverage of UNext's trustee and faculty connections (see "Chicago Journal," June-August/99, online at www2.uchicago.edu/ alumni/alumni.mag/9906/html/journal.html)-and one on which it will continue to report. -Ed.


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  FEBRUARY 2001

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