Unfolding details of the negotiation that led the University of Virginia into Stanford University’s Coursera online consortium last week reveal a poignant episode of bad timing, the Washington Post reports. On June 8, the leaders of the university’s Board of Visitors asked for the resignation of President Teresa Sullivan. Among their chief complaints: U-Va. was ignoring perhaps the most significant development in the brief history of online collegiate learning, the vast experiment in global online learning launched by Stanford, MIT and Harvard. Earlier that day, a group of academic deans at U-Va. had discussed the prospect of entering one of those experiments, Coursera, at a retreat. During the retreat, the university’s arts-and-sciences dean, Meredith Jung-En Woo, asked Philip Zelikow, an associate dean, “to reach out to Coursera and another group to learn more,” according to an e-mail Woo sent to an alumni group last week. The previous day, June 7, a group from the university’s Darden graduate business school had visited the Coursera offices in Silicon Valley…

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