NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

A New Online College Model

August 22, 2014

The rising costs of college (in large part thanks to federal aid policies) and the declining value of a college degree have prompted many discussions about the fate of traditional colleges and universities. Minerva is a new university that is seeking to change the face of higher education. It offers not only online classes, but a technology platform that allows students to join in on discussions, explains Forbes contributor Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry.

Minerva does not accept federal student aid. It keeps its costs down, offers low tuition and admits students from around the world.

  • Minerva's technology platform will create small-group seminars that allow students to join in on classroom discussions from wherever they are.
  • The professor can use the platform to give students on-the-spot quizzes and provide them with other material.

By keeping tuition costs down, students that would otherwise be unable to afford school can attend Minerva, as can international students who want a Western-style liberal arts education without the price tag that comes with a traditional liberal arts college.

Gobry notes a few problems with the Minerva model. He is concerned that the school's focus is on teaching students "how" to think, a model which he says overlooks the basic necessity of a liberal arts education -- teaching students "things to know," such as Plato, Aristotle, Shakespeare, the Federalist Papers and de Tocqueville.

Source: Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry, "Minerva Is The Future Of Education. Here's What's Good About It And What's Not So Good,", August 21, 2014.


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