University of the People: Alternative in spe zur klassischen Hochschule?

Jeff Jarvis hat sich in seinem lesenswerten Buch What Would Google Do? auch mit der Rolle der Hochschulen auseinandergesetzt. Schließlich blieben auch sie nicht unberührt von den Konsequenzen der Digitalisierung und des Internets, so Jarvis. Er schreibt:

Who needs a university when we have Google? All the world’s digital knowledge is available at a search. We can connect those who want to know with those who know. We can link students to the best teachers for them (who may be fellow students). We can find experts on any topic. Textbooks need no longer be petrified on pages but can link to information and discussion; they can be the products of collaboration, updated and corrected, answering questions and giving quizzes, even singing and dancing. There’s no reason my children should be limited to the courses at one school; even now, they can get coursework online from no less than MIT and Stanford. And there’s no reason that I, long out of college, shouldn’t take those courses, too.

(…)

Call me a utopian but I imagine a new educational ecology where students may take courses from anywhere and instructors may select any students, where courses are collaborative and public, where creativity is nurtured as Google nurtures it, where making mistakes well is valued over sameness and safety, where education continues long past age 21, where tests and degrees matter less than one’s own portfolio of work, where the gift economy may turn anyone with knowledge into teachers, where the skills of research and reasoning and skepticism are valued over the skills of memorization and calculation, and where universities teach an abundance of knowledge to those who want it rather than manage a scarcity of seats in a class.

Die UN Global Alliance for Information and Communication Technology and Development (GAID) hat vor kurzem mit der University of the People eine Hochschule gegründet, die in die von Jarvis gewünschte Richtung zielt:

In der Selbstbeschreibung heißt es:

University of the People (UoPeople) is the world’s first tuition-free, online academic institution dedicated to the global advancement and democratization of higher education. The high-quality, low-cost and global pedagogical model embraces the worldwide presence of the Internet and dropping technology costs to bring collegiate level studies to even the most remote places on earth. With the support of respected academics, humanitarians and other visionaries, the UoPeople student body represents a new wave in global education.

Comprised of students from around the world, the student body will learn through peer-to-peer teaching with support of respected scholars. Within the online study communities, students will share resources, exchange ideas, discuss weekly topics, submit assignments and take exams.

Gewisse Kosten entstehen dennoch:

The only charge to students is a $15 to $50 admission fee, depending on their country of origin, and a processing fee for every test ranging from $10 to $100. For the University to sustain its operation, it needs 15,000 students and $6 million, of which Mr. Reshef has donated $1 million of his own money.

Hinweise bei Mashable:

Right now, the University only teaches two courses, information technology and business administration, which school founder Shai Reshef says are the two most useful degrees for finding a job around the world. Of course, the school is not yet accredited and can’t yet confer degrees, but applying for proper accreditation is planned.

Anmerkungen des Gründers Shai Reshef: