Notes in the Margins: James Franco, Korean exams and education in one course

Making Science Leap From the Page When a college textbook, “Principles of Biology,” comes out from the Nature Publishing Group in January, one place it won’t be is on the shelves of school bookstores. (The New York Times)

M.I.T. Expands Its Free Online Courses While students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology pay thousands of dollars for courses, the university will announce a new program on Monday allowing anyone anywhere to take M.I.T. courses online free of charge — and for the first time earn official certificates for demonstrating mastery of the subjects taught. (The New York Times via University Business)

The one-shot society The exam system that has helped South Korea prosper is beginning to break down (The Economist)

Is James Franco to blame for NYU professor’s firing? Professor Jose Angel Santana filed a lawsuit Friday, claiming New York University fired him after he gave star student James Franco a D in his Directing the Actor II class. Santana says Franco got the grade because he only showed up for two of 14 class sessions. (USA Today)

An undergraduate education in one course? Students at Harvard, Yale and Bard College participated in an experimental a course this fall that takes the notion of a core curriculum to its logical extreme. The course is called Great Big Ideas, and it purports to survey the entire landscape of intellectual discourse in a single semester. (The Washington Post)