Real Higher Education: Some New Ideas
I have a dream of starting a graduate school that really lives up to the promise of NCU, with 1:1 student to instructor ratio and flexible scheduling; and supports the academic rigour of an MIT or a Stanford. I have worked at public and for-profit schools, and it seems the philosophy of pedagoguery has changed dramatically in the United States. People who hold the values we value are being marginalized by a “Vocational” mindset among the owners, administrators and, managers of the schools we attend and where we are (or have been) employed. At many schools the recruiters (enrollment counselors) are paid more than the average instructor for the average instructor is a part-time adjunct with no benefits or insurance.
In the last few years, MIT and Stanford are releasing complete college courses onto the internet, so all you have to do is find the textbooks, watch the videos of the lectures and it may be argued that you could learn as much in this way as you could learn in a more formal environment. The education is provided free. Other organizations providing free courses of various levels of difficulty are http://Coursera.org and http://W3schools.com and if you search for sites similar to coursera.org, you could find on http://www.similarsitesearch.com/alternatives-to/coursera.org 50 similar sites. This sort of studying is probably harder than taking instructor-led courses, as there would be no interactrion with either the instructors or other students, supplied as the default of the educational facility. The community would have to be developed in a way similar to the ways that the supporters of open-source projects create community.
Many colleges and universities allow transfer credit, from certain other schools. The schools that allow transfer credit usually allow only courses with the same or higher credit-hour ratings from other schools which are accredited by the same or mire stringent accreditation bodies. Colleges and universities generally offer students a chance to take an exam and test-out of a course, thereby getting credit for the knowledge. The student does not get to add the course to their GPA in all cases. These two practices lead to this idea: An organization that provides a testing framework school that lets you take all the courses online from Stanford and MIT or any of several dozen schools and proves your knowledge-retention with a battery of standardized exams. This would be inexpensive, as they would host no courses at all.
I like the idea of a school that is primarily a non-profit research center, to which students could matriculate and enjoy learning in a very hands-on manner. This model might expect the students to assist in all sorts of research as unpaid coursework, but the students would also be given the opportunity to get their names on academic research papers, which is the dues that one must pay to become a respected member of the discipline’s academic community.
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