Rich Gorman Cautions Against CourseTalk, a “Yelp” for Higher Education

CourseTalk, a new online review site targeting higher education endeavors, has drawn the attention of many online professionals, including Rich Gorman.

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New York, New York (PRWEB) December 04, 2012

According to Rich Gorman, there is no denying the fact that online technology has turned the world of higher education on its head. Companies like Coursera and edX are making waves with their Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), while most every college and university in the country has wrestled with how best to enter the online fray. As online learning continues to gain in prevalence and prestige, other, auxiliary services are beginning to appear—including a new service called CourseTalk. CourseTalk is a platform that enables students to submit user reviews for the different classes they take; TechCrunch has dubbed CourseTalk the higher education equivalent of a The new service has drawn the attention of tech enthusiast and direct response marketing pioneer Gorman, who has responded with a new statement to the press.

“The advent of an online review site—a kind of specialized version of for the higher education and MOOC vertical—was inevitable,” says Gorman, in his press statement. “There is big money to be made from online education, and, based on its booming popularity, it is clear that this is not just a fad, but something that is here to stay. And at first blush, CourseTalk would seem like a great addition to this vertical, as it allows consumers to obtain feedback and make better-informed decisions about which courses to enroll in.”

Though it may seem like a boon to consumers, Gorman says that the launch of CourseTalk could ultimately prove hazardous to many colleges, universities, and online education companies. “What we will see with CourseTalk is exactly what we have seen on, and on other, comparable review services,” predicts Gorman. “That is to say, for all of the honest and helpful reviews that are posted, there will also, very likely, be some defamatory and fraudulent posts.”

Gorman worries that CourseTalk will attract fake reviews, just as sites like Yelp and Amazon have. “Fake reviews are insidious, and widely used,” says Gorman. “It is only a matter of time before institutions listed on CourseTalk begin to receive fake, derogatory reviews, perhaps planted by rival schools or companies, or maybe posted by burn-out students who have an axe to grind.”

The intent of CourseTalk is not to spread defamatory content, but rather to help consumers locate positive online learning experiences. Even so, with the platform veering down the path previously trod by, Gorman believes that the site’s influence, if it grows, could prove a decidedly mixed blessing for online learning companies. “Companies in certain verticals have no choice but to create profiles, to monitor them carefully, and to ensure that negative reviews are suppressed as quickly and as decisively as possible,” he explains. “Online learning companies may find themselves facing similarly vigorous standards of online reputation management.”

Right now, CourseTalk focuses on MOOCs and provides a venue through which students can offer feedback and seek to find other courses that they might like. CourseTalk has also begun to compile a running list of colleges and universities that offers these MOOCs. Users can browse the site by categories, or they can choose to view recent feedback left by Top Reviewers.

Though the future of CourseTalk—still very much in its nascent stages—is unclear, Gorman urges the companies that offer MOOCs and other online learning opportunities to keep an eye on the site’s progress. “Maybe it will peter out, but probably not,” he remarks. “Online review sites tend to do big business, and there is definitely an online review void in this industry.”

Rich Gorman is active on Twitter at @RichGorman101.


Rich Gorman is an Internet pioneer, and a leader in the direct response marketing field; furthermore, he is a technology zealot with a lengthy track record of predicting the latest and greatest advances in marketing technology and in social networking. His brand, Direct Response, is one of the leading names in the online marketing industry, and, through his Direct Response blog, Gorman writes prolifically about the trends shaping the Web. At the Direct Response blog, Gorman gives away millions of dollars in trade secrets, motivated by his passion for bringing value to other business and brands, and his passion for seeing others succeed.


  • Bill Sanderson
    PR Management, Inc.