Two University of Texas at Austin professors this week launched their introductory psychology class from a makeshift studio, with a goal of eventually enrolling 10,000 students at $550 a pop and bringing home millions for the school, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The professors have dubbed the class a SMOC—Synchronous Massive Online Class—and their effort falls somewhere between a MOOC, or Massive Open Online Course, a late-night television show and a real-time research experiment. The professors lecture into a camera and students watch on their computers or mobile devices, in real time.

The class, which made its debut Thursday night, is emblematic...

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