Redesigning Higher-Ed

  1. To ease communication in groups of people interested in similar subjects.
  2. To match students with mentors.
  3. To verify the completion of a course of learning.

Key Rules For The School

  1. The discipline, project, and proof must be verifiable.
  2. The primary directive should be to verify an individual’s work or portfolio so that they can prove their expertise in a skill.
  3. Mentorship should be a required continuous service to remain in the community.
  4. The goal should be to have a community of experts. The subject matter should not matter in the end.
  5. The initial joining of the community should be by invitation from an existing member to submit work for verification.
  6. The goal is to be open, transparent, and distributed.

Verification

Some skills are easier to verify, or at least harder to lie about, than others. The digital skills are all easy to build portfolios of analytics, code, and other data to verify. Scientific and mathematics disciplines are similarly more easy to verify. While we may not be able to verify that they did the work upon first glance, a series of interviews and presentations on the subjects covered should make it difficult to falsify.

Experts Should

  1. Be working in their field or have over a decade of experience and past success with at least 2 recommendations
  2. Mentor at least 4 hours per year,
  3. review 10 submissions,
  4. or provide for an apprentice

Mentorship

  1. Is a service and does not pay
  2. Can require any sort application process for students

Teaching

  1. Can be a fixed curriculum
  2. Project Based
  3. Or more like occasional workshops

Certification Of Expertise

Is done by a panel of peers varying in age and time within the organization. I think 5, 7, or 9 would work well. Certification will have to cost a fixed sum, perhaps $4,000, to cover their time and to help fund the ongoing expenses of the greater organization. This must include scholarships, apprenticeship funding, and internships with partner company.

Initial Acceptance into the community

Is via an initial project to submitted and reviewed by a single expert of the submitter’s choice. An expert may choose whether or not they would like to be publicly listed as accepting applications, may apply criteria to apply through them, or do whatever else they like.

Why is this better…

Everyone learns differently. Furthermore, many skills are best learned outside of textbooks and classrooms. We have too long relied upon function #4, higher ed as a gate, to weed out those who couldn’t comform to limited and narrow-minded standards. Knowledge is more readily available than ever before through online courses, blogs, free videos, and books. While the benefits of colocation are numerous to students, I don’t see why this function must be such a large capital expense to an organization that otherwise could be quite efficient. The simplest version of a school is a community of learners. I see this format as a way to do so while also fulfilling the economic function of certification so important to employers today.

A Few Rules For Success

  • We can help organize the rental of spaces for a minimal or non-existant service charge, these could be for both living and studying/working.
  • The community will need to be built online, so a priority should be placed on building a remote and digital community.
  • Initially, the lack of mentors/members will require active recruitment in targeted disciplines. Business is the area I’d recommend appraoching first.
  • An organization like this can be run using a team several orders of magnitude smaller than size of the community. Avoid bloat.

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Michael Greenberg

Michael Greenberg

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Owner @ Callforcontent.com — A boutique authority and content marketing firm. This is my personal blog about stuff and things I like to think about.