Georgetown Media Group Auctioned Classes on eBay

University Does Not Continue Program By Vince Mareino Hoya Staff Writer

Everyone’s trying eBay, even the university. Always looking for new ways to make money, Georgetown’s Networked Media Center, a branch of its Communications, Culture and Technology graduate program, tried auctioning seats on the Internet for the non-credit courses it offers to non-Georgetown students.

Although the NMC decided not to auction classes for next year, its director, Christopher J. McDonald, seemed happy about the stunt. “It was free marketing,” McDonald told The New York Times. “We couldn’t hope to put a banner out there that would grab the eyeballs that this would and did.” After one class got 120 bids on eBay, the NMC put three of 16 seats in a multimedia design course on reverseauction.com. The $10,000 certificate class went for a “price where most tuition is after financial aid,” according to cDonald, who was reluctant to give specifics.

The NMC declined to comment further on the program, deferring to Amy DeMaria, Interim Executive Director of External Affairs. DeMaria said that none of the courses offered were part of the graduate or undergraduate curriculum and that the university refused to consider expanding the program to include such courses.

This latest fad in classes sprang from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, which began giving students 5,000 points a semester to bargain their way into high-demand elective classes. Wharton’s program inspired other schools to try to make a profit off the registration process instead of just making add/drop less painful, as the Wharton system seems to do.

No one at the NMC would comment on the profitability of the pilot program.

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