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Crowd-­Funding Campaign to Reform Higher Education on a Global Scale

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Oplerno—a groundbreaking online educational institution—has launched a crowd-­‐ funding campaign on Indiegogo to raise $100,000 to further the mission of redesigning higher education from the ground up.

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“Much of the current system is out of control, with skyrocketing administrative costs, interfering corporate interests, and lack of faculty empowerment,” says Robert Skiff, founder of Oplerno. “Furthermore, student debt is increasing at an alarming and unsettling rate. By allowing students to connect directly to their instructors and giving instructors ownership and control of their teaching content—as well as at least 80 percent of the tuition they bring in—we are removing the excesses of the modern educational industry. Let’s give students the skills they seek, the credits they need, and an entirely new way to think about education,” stated Skiff.

The centerpiece of Oplerno’s redesign of the higher education model is the way that teachers and students are treated. At Oplerno, faculty own and control the course content they create. They decide how many students they will teach (though no more than 30 per class, guaranteeing a personal learning experience) and what to charge students for their services. Faculty members take home at least 80 percent of the tuition dollars they generate—between $5000 and $36,000 per class, depending on class tuition and enrollment. Students control their education through a degree of choice unavailable at traditional institutions. They choose their own teachers based on the types of skills they want to learn, outside reviews of classes, and affordability of class tuition. Typical costs for students will range between $500 and $1,500 per class. Using proprietary software, Oplerno will allow for the creation of an open and transparent marketplace, where learning can occur without the limitations imposed by many of the traditional structures of higher education. Oplerno will use the money raised by the Indiegogo campaign to pay for various start-up costs associated with accreditation, faculty support, and student advising. If Oplerno reaches its goal of $100,000, the organization has promised to donate one percent of its net profit—forever—to projects proposed by faculty and students that focus on education, ecological restoration, and economic development. As part of the crowd-funding campaign, Oplerno is offering a ten percent discount on tuition for 10 years to individuals who donate $1,000 or more.

“We have already created the foundation for massively increasing access to higher education on a global scale, while lowering costs for students and increasing pay for faculty,” Skiff says. “Now we need some help financially to bring our vision to scale. We want everyone to benefit from the work we have done to this point, so we have created some long-term value for people who are willing to help us build a new kind of learning organization.”

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Oplerno currently has more than 50 faculty from all over the world, creating graduate and undergraduate courses in fields ranging from engineering and the sciences to the liberal arts and humanities. Courses are being developed in English, Spanish, and Chinese to meet the needs of the global marketplace. Oplerno is committed to seeking regional and national accreditation as soon as possible. It plans to offer classes early in the first quarter of 2014 that will be available from any location on the planet with Internet access.

Written by Daniël W. Crompton (webhat)

December 3, 2013 at 8:11 pm

Posted in school, technology

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My State of E-Learning #elearning #coursera #udemy #udacity

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Recently I’ve gotten the online learning bug back, not that it’s ever away for long, so I’ve been busy again on Coursera. And thanks to a HTML 5 course I also started to use Udemy. An Eric Ries course is waiting on Udacity for me to start it. In the past I used to use iTunesU to follow online university courses, such as Yale’s Game Theory Lectures by Benjamin Polak.


I’m currently enrolled in 6 courses, and I’ve followed a number of courses here, yet none to completion within the time period set by the tutor. Often the amount of time I would need to set aside for the course can be between 6 and 12 hours each week, this is entirely possible and I often do manage to do a couple of hours in the evening. Another issue is that to receive course credit these Problem Sets need to be in at a certain date, or courses which have been running over 1 week it is often impossible to submit these on time to be eligible for course credit.

Coursera does allow you to download all the video’s, so it is possible to view these at a later date, or even from the beach somewhere. And they sometimes offer the course multiple times, so in the example of Model Thinking I have enrolled a second time so I can complete easier.

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Written by Daniël W. Crompton (webhat)

March 19, 2013 at 9:54 pm

Educating Children to Stimulate the Economy #lifehacks

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I watched a micro-documentary on Dutch television about Tiger Mothers, the opinion of the commentators was that all these children are unhappy and that there is no such thing as 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration, although the other commentator rephrased it to Parato’s terms of 20-80. Or as Gladwell says: “… the key to success in any field is, to a large extent, a matter of practicing a specific task for a total of around 10,000 hours.”

I believe he is wrong, and I will tell you why.

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Written by Daniël W. Crompton (webhat)

June 30, 2011 at 2:03 pm

Posted in books, lifehacks, school

Just Finished Reading: Moonwalking with Einstein #books

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I’ve had an interested in memory for as long as I can remember, so when I saw Joshua Foer on The Colbert Report I went straight to the store to get myself a copy of his book Moonwalking with Einstein. I read it over three days, and haven’t given it a chance to sink in yet.

Through out the book Foer briefly dips into techniques that he used to improve his recollection, although he calls it memory in the book. He starts with Simonides’ memory palace as his basis and continues by learning the Major System, below, and the PAO system – where every two-digit number from 00 to 99 is represented by a single image of a person performing an action on an object – which he uses for committing cards to memory three at a time.

Major System

Although the book is mostly about how Foer trained to become the US champion in one year – and it only touches on the underlying techniques used – it shows the power of not just the mind, it shows that perseverance can make the unlikely possible.

Monotony collapses time; novelty unfolds it. You can exercise daily and eat healthily and live a long life, while experiencing a short one. If you spend your life sitting in a cubicle and passing papers, one day is bound to blend unmemorably into the next—and disappear. That’s why it’s important to change routines regularly, and take vacations to exotic locales, and have as many new experiences as possible that can serve to anchor our memories. Creating new memories stretches out psychological time, and lengthens our perception of our lives.

Mind Map of Memory Techniques and sources in Moonwalking with Einstein

A great read.

Written by Daniël W. Crompton (webhat)

March 22, 2011 at 9:02 am

The Future Of Java: Java’s Greatest Stench? #strength #programming

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John R. Rymer wrote a piece on Forrester about the The Future Of Java, it’s pretty complete with the exception of the greatest weakness being called the greatest strength.

“Fewer young developers will learn Java first. One of Java’s greatest strengths has been the number of young developers who learn it as a first language.”
John R. Rymer

It may have been an advantage for the adoption of Java as a programming language, but it is certainly not a strength of a programming language that students learn it as a first language.

Personally I don’t see it as an advantage for students to learn Java as a first language, it means that every language learned afterwards is seen from a perspective of a language which doesn’t teach the student simple rules like type safety or writing portable code. A programming language as teaching tool should allow a student to make all the mistakes which can be made, as a student learns more of their failures than from their successes. It should allow different programming modes, Object Oriented, Linear and a mixture.

I’ll stop here before I start talking about round pegs and square holes. 😉

Image source: Hillary Hartley

Written by Daniël W. Crompton (webhat)

January 25, 2011 at 8:06 pm

Posted in programming, school

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PoC: What would be required for a Paperless School? #education

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I was watching FourCast episode 60, in which they discussed the paperless office, and briefly mentioned the paperless school when it comes to homework. And I wondered what would really be required in a prototype or proof of concept. So I quickly fired up my pen and brainstormed what the essential items would be needed to have a paperless school.

  1. E-Mail
  2. PDF/ODF
  3. Scanner/OCR
  4. Digital Signing
  5. Online Grading

E-Mail or some sharing mechanism is needed for teachers to receive the documents. A document standard is needed which can be modified by the teacher, and can be added to the student’s current records. These documents naturally need to be digitally signed for non-repudiation. Online grading is an extension of the current student record. And lastly the most important portion for students who have no internet or computer access a scanner – with or without OCR.

Have anything to add?

Written by Daniël W. Crompton (webhat)

December 21, 2010 at 9:26 pm

Posted in business, school

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Turn on, tune in, drop out: Personalised Online Education – Introduction #school #education

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Crashed School Bus by laffy4k

Timothy Leary once told us to “Turn on, tune in, drop out“, and although he was referring to mind expansion using drugs there is a move to the internet from institutionalised learning. Jason Fried, CEO of tech company 37signals, says “the next bubble to burst is higher education. It’s too expensive. It’s too much one-size-fits-all. This is an alternative way to think about teaching — simple, personal, free and moving at your own pace.”1 Languages, economics, biology, mathematics, social sciences and more are coming into their own online. Allowing interactive and customized education, like the correspondence courses of yesterday, yet morphing into freely available online education.

The only thing missing? Online accreditation. Although it is available for commercially available certifications: CISSP; CEH; MSCE; etc, it has yet to come for “government sanctioned” education programs. Even correspondance course educators still need to personally examine their customers by way of mass examination.

So where can you get this personalized education? That is what I will examine in the following blog posts entitled: “Turn on, tune in, drop out: Personalised Online Education.” I will cover the subjects ranging from languages to exact sciences, and you can help me by filling in the poll below to help me make a decision. And as always all comments are welcome. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Daniël W. Crompton (webhat)

June 28, 2010 at 2:19 pm

Posted in books, IT, school, technology

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