Perhaps these statistics will startle you into realizing how little most people gain from their undergraduate classes:
- A study supported by the Pew Charitable Trusts found that 50 percent of college seniors scored below "proficient" levels on a test that required them to understand the arguments of newspaper editorials or compare credit card offers. Almost 20 percent of seniors had only basic quantitative skills. The students could not estimate if their car had enough gas to get to the gas station.
- The Spellings Report, released by a federal commission on higher education, found that: "Over the past decade, literacy among college graduates has actually declined...Employers report repeatedly that many new graduates they hire are not prepared to work, lacking the critical thinking, writing and problem-solving skills needed in today's workplaces."
If you're like many people, you say, "Perhaps I didn't learn enough of enduring value from my $100K and 4-6 years of classes but I needed the bachelor's degree to get a job or get into graduate school." True, today, more than ever, employers are demanding a degree.
But there has to be a better bachelors degree, a way you can learn more of greater value at less less cost. That shouldn't be too difficult. After all, colleges continue to teach virtually as they did 2,000 years ago minus the toga and plus Powerpoint: a sage on the stage plus discussion.
Here, I propose a better way--a much superior kind of online bachelor degree. I call it Utopia U. Of course, online degree programs are already available but as you will see below, Utopia U promises to indeed be clearly superior.
I would gladly give away the concept to entities willing to run with it but if I'm forced to proceed myself, I will try to get it funded by tuition fees and housing it on Google.com, and/or with grants from the U.S. Office of Education (where it might be called U.S. U) one or more universities or foundations (e.g., Gates or Kauffman,) and/or investments from corporations, for example, Apple or Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway.
Central to each course are these features:
- The core screening criterion for course content: Is that content central to the life well-led? The primary focus of each course will be to maximize the probability that the students will incorporate each course's core skills and knowledge into the way they function professionally and personally.
- Most courses should make heavy use of of immersive simulations plus lecturettes with options to click on links to explanatory text, video, etc.Each instructor would develop the course in collaboration with a top instructional designer and a specially selected computer programmer.
- The instructors, selected from within and outside academia, will be selected on: demonstrated ability to explain complicated concepts so average students understand them fully, motivate students to love learning, and be transformational: help students grow in important ways beyond learning the course material. I will likely reach out to winners of state and national professor of the year awards.
- There will be student-to-student online interaction: discussions about lecturettes, group immersive projects, forums to address problems (as on most website help sections), etc.
- Iris or fingerprint recognition technology and open-book exams will reduce cheating to levels below that at traditional universities.
All students will graduate with a Bachelor of Professional Studies. For a version of this document that includs the courses and modules, click HERE.
As I mentioned, my preference is to give the idea of Utopia U away to a person or entity motivated to run with it. I'd be pleased to serve as a consultant. Anyone interested? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 510-655-2777.