Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A free, online university from Israel

My friend Pavan Soni who, like me, is into innovation in a big way, is an Innovation Evangelist at Wipro. Pavan is an enthusiastic and gung-ho soul and sends out interesting snippets about innovative initiatives around the world. I just received this one about University of the People -- a new online university that intends to provide tuition-free education to less fortunate and indigent people around the world. Currently, 150 students have enrolled and the founder, Israeli entrepreneur Shai Reshef, has the ambitious goal of signing on 15,000 students in four years.

On the face of it, this is a wonderful development. The intent to provide educational materials -- if not an education -- and that too, for free, deserves fulsome praise. I'm still not clear about how this system of online education will work. Will they handle it like traditional universities -- and flub it (like Texas and Illinois) or will they succeed, like the University of Phoenix?

Having done online (and satellite TV) education myself at a traditional mid-sized university, I am not too excited by how they do it. But for those who, for various reasons, cannot make it to a physical classroom of a university, the opportunity seems like a godsend -- but only if it is structured properly. Now, there are many -- almost always, adult learners -- who have benefited from receiving a diploma (and possibly an education, in the process) via correspondence (by mail) or over the internet. And then there is the price: free.

I would like UoP to succeed and large numbers of persons around the world to benefit. If UoP succeeds, then they may help define a model for providing education to billions of people who might otherwise never be able to afford it, and thereby make for a better world.

1 comment:

  1. This is a very useful information especially for those who live in crisis. Online college is a great opportunity for those who really want to achieve their goal of success towards their career.