Posts Tagged ‘education’
Oplerno—a groundbreaking online educational institution—has launched a crowd-‐ funding campaign on Indiegogo to raise $100,000 to further the mission of redesigning higher education from the ground up.
“Much of the current system is out of control, with skyrocketing administrative costs, interfering corporate interests, and lack of faculty empowerment,” says Robert Skiff, founder of Oplerno. “Furthermore, student debt is increasing at an alarming and unsettling rate. By allowing students to connect directly to their instructors and giving instructors ownership and control of their teaching content—as well as at least 80 percent of the tuition they bring in—we are removing the excesses of the modern educational industry. Let’s give students the skills they seek, the credits they need, and an entirely new way to think about education,” stated Skiff.
The centerpiece of Oplerno’s redesign of the higher education model is the way that teachers and students are treated. At Oplerno, faculty own and control the course content they create. They decide how many students they will teach (though no more than 30 per class, guaranteeing a personal learning experience) and what to charge students for their services. Faculty members take home at least 80 percent of the tuition dollars they generate—between $5000 and $36,000 per class, depending on class tuition and enrollment. Students control their education through a degree of choice unavailable at traditional institutions. They choose their own teachers based on the types of skills they want to learn, outside reviews of classes, and affordability of class tuition. Typical costs for students will range between $500 and $1,500 per class. Using proprietary software, Oplerno will allow for the creation of an open and transparent marketplace, where learning can occur without the limitations imposed by many of the traditional structures of higher education. Oplerno will use the money raised by the Indiegogo campaign to pay for various start-up costs associated with accreditation, faculty support, and student advising. If Oplerno reaches its goal of $100,000, the organization has promised to donate one percent of its net profit—forever—to projects proposed by faculty and students that focus on education, ecological restoration, and economic development. As part of the crowd-funding campaign, Oplerno is offering a ten percent discount on tuition for 10 years to individuals who donate $1,000 or more.
“We have already created the foundation for massively increasing access to higher education on a global scale, while lowering costs for students and increasing pay for faculty,” Skiff says. “Now we need some help financially to bring our vision to scale. We want everyone to benefit from the work we have done to this point, so we have created some long-term value for people who are willing to help us build a new kind of learning organization.”
Oplerno currently has more than 50 faculty from all over the world, creating graduate and undergraduate courses in fields ranging from engineering and the sciences to the liberal arts and humanities. Courses are being developed in English, Spanish, and Chinese to meet the needs of the global marketplace. Oplerno is committed to seeking regional and national accreditation as soon as possible. It plans to offer classes early in the first quarter of 2014 that will be available from any location on the planet with Internet access.
I was watching FourCast episode 60, in which they discussed the paperless office, and briefly mentioned the paperless school when it comes to homework. And I wondered what would really be required in a prototype or proof of concept. So I quickly fired up my pen and brainstormed what the essential items would be needed to have a paperless school.
- Digital Signing
- Online Grading
E-Mail or some sharing mechanism is needed for teachers to receive the documents. A document standard is needed which can be modified by the teacher, and can be added to the student’s current records. These documents naturally need to be digitally signed for non-repudiation. Online grading is an extension of the current student record. And lastly the most important portion for students who have no internet or computer access a scanner – with or without OCR.
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Timothy Leary once told us to “Turn on, tune in, drop out“, and although he was referring to mind expansion using drugs there is a move to the internet from institutionalised learning. Jason Fried, CEO of tech company 37signals, says “the next bubble to burst is higher education. It’s too expensive. It’s too much one-size-fits-all. This is an alternative way to think about teaching — simple, personal, free and moving at your own pace.”1 Languages, economics, biology, mathematics, social sciences and more are coming into their own online. Allowing interactive and customized education, like the correspondence courses of yesterday, yet morphing into freely available online education.
The only thing missing? Online accreditation. Although it is available for commercially available certifications: CISSP; CEH; MSCE; etc, it has yet to come for “government sanctioned” education programs. Even correspondance course educators still need to personally examine their customers by way of mass examination.
So where can you get this personalized education? That is what I will examine in the following blog posts entitled: “Turn on, tune in, drop out: Personalised Online Education.” I will cover the subjects ranging from languages to exact sciences, and you can help me by filling in the poll below to help me make a decision. And as always all comments are welcome. Read the rest of this entry »