Ok, well maybe he is not exactly giving up on the discussion part of his course, but Professor Dave Perry of the University of Texas at Dallas is taking his class online.
No college professor will admit that the lecture portion of their class is unnecessary. As much as I tried to convince them otherwise, my instructors never let me get away with skipping class (too much). As much as I thought the reading materials would suffice, the class (and my grade) always disagreed.
Learning by remote is nothing new. Public access channels sometimes air courses that students can sign up for at their colleges. Every so often students get together and take a test. Course credit is given and everybody is happy.
Professor Perry is looking to differentiate from traditional distance learning by moderating the discussion online. He plans to involve 5-10 committed students and have them discuss reading materials via videoconference or other virtual meeting spot. (Yes, Second Life was mentioned).
Almost makes me wanna go take some graduate courses. Almost.