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minerva - online university, but not quite online

Jeanne Boyarsky
author & internet detective
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Joined: May 26, 2003
Posts: 30919
    
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I read an interesting article in The Atlantic on an online college called Minerva. The idea is that students live in dorms in a big city (and move every year so they live in four different cities during college.) All the classes are online. But synchronous and interactive online. Unlike the lecture model most online/hybrid schools are using now. (I went to grad school in an online program. Courses had week to week interaction with other students, but we weren't all online at the same time.) They expect to charge $28K/year. (since it is new, it is free for the first crop of 33 students.) Oddly they decline to accept US financial aid because they want to accept a more international audience.

I like the idea of making the learning interactive to require more/real thinking. I like the focus on learning. The article makes points about retarding research and what about professors who aren't good at teaching, but are good at research. Even if the Minerva model is successful, I don't think research will disappear. Research is funded by grants. Entities can still do research. They don't have to be universities.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that the school interviews over Skype and has them write a short essay during that interview to ensure they didn't pay someone else to write the essay. That feels a lot like interviewing for jobs. Having to verify what happens on the phone is really that person.

And a tangent, a sidebar comparing them to MOOCs says that only 5% of students complete a MOOC yet 80% over students who fill out a post-course survey say they met their primary objective." (self selecting audience, no?)


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