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Pandemic Privilege: Access to Online Classes and Laptops

MasterClasses, The Internet, and Devices for Grades K-12

Jessica Bolaños Vanegas
7 min readApr 13, 2020

As I sat on my golden throne one morning watching an Instagram video ad on my phone of Malcolm Gladwell’s MasterClass on Writing, I assumed I saw it in my feed because of AI and algorithms. Awesomely Luvvie posted an IG story about reading his book the day prior and I had responded in a DM about it.

That’s fine, I thought, I’ll read anything Gladwell. I don’t mind him popping up in my feed — this is ad targeting done right. I’ve bought and read all 5 of Gladwell’s books, listened to his TED talks, heard him speak at SXSW, cold-contacted for a shot at working with him while he was in Houston on tour to talk about his new book, Talking to Strangers — yeah I can see why I’m a target. Touché Instagram (and Facebook).


The class itself cost $90. But for $180 — there was access to 30 other MasterClass instructors featuring a myriad of really interesting people like Bob Iger, a media executive, film producer, and Executive Chairman of The Walt Disney Company, teaching Business Strategy and Leadership. As of April 2020, there are at least 80 instructors on the platform.

I got an annual pass and renewed my annual membership to the classes when it was up to expire. In my opinion, it’s worth it even if you only watch one class. I’ve dipped into some 16 classes / 116 lessons and so far all have been top notch. Other instructors on the platform that stood out:

  • Anna Wintour, Editor-in-Chief of Vogue and Chairwoman of the Met Gala teaches Creativity and Leadership
  • Margaret Atwood, Author of the Handmaid’s Tale teaches Creative Writing



Jessica Bolaños Vanegas

Digital + Video + Social Impact. Storyteller. Documenting history as it unfolds. Co-Founder @Goodspero. TEDx-er. Former Contributing Writer @HuffPost. She/Her ❤