As an April Fools joke Coursera offered an online course on underwater basketweaving as of April 1, 2013. The class was supposed to “consist of short lecture and demonstration videos, between 8 and 10 minutes in length, short quizzes, and practical weaving exercises.” However, the joke is seen by some as being disrespectful of indigenous cultures, and the joke designer issued an apology which was posted on the Coursera class page for “Aboriginal Worldviews and Education.” The apology read, in part, “By posting the course and video, we were not intending to be disrespectful to indigenous cultures, and we sincerely apologize to anyone we offended by the content of our video
Underwater basket weaving is an idiom referring in a negative way to supposedly easy and/or worthless college or university courses, and used generally to refer to a perceived decline in educational standards. The term also serves as an intentionally humorous generic answer to questions about an academic degree. It is also used to humorously refer to any non-academic elective course, specifically one that does not count towards any graduation requirements.
Since 1980, Reed College in Portland, Oregon has offered an underwater basket weaving class during Paideia, its festival of learning that offers informal, non-credit courses.
The Student Resource Center at the University of Arizona offered a submerged snorkeling basket-weaving course in spring 1998. In early 2009, a Rutgers University scuba diving instructor offered a one-off course. Underwater Basket Weaving is a trademark of the US Scuba Center Inc., which offers a specialty class designed to improve or more fully enjoy diving skills from which participants can “take home a memorable souvenir.