Wednesday, June 15, 2011

del Monte San Giorgio, Italy: World Unviersity & School Critiques and Responses, Calif Incorporation & 501 (c) (3) status, Accreditation is Next

Hi J,

Thanks for your critiques. The argument that if these other entities scaled large (e.g. WWW, University, Wikipedia in 281 languages, MIT OCW, Intel), the startup World University and School can, too, has probably an 1 in 7 chance of success - per UC Berkeley Professor Manuel Castells' observation in a course in 2000 at Berkeley, - which is the rate that I.T. startups in the '60s, '70s and '80s succeeded. Startups have been a risky adventure for venture capitalists, but WUaS is a nonprofit. And WUaS has both incorporated (in April 2010), and gotten 501 (c) (3) status, about 2 weeks ago, so as I see it, we're on our way.

World University & School has 2 main aspects. First, it's a wiki-meta-directory and second, WUaS is working to become a degree-granting university (Bachelors, Ph.D., Law and Medicine) with matriculating classes beginning in 2014. Remember, I've been the main aggregator over the past 3-4 years, and it's been a long haul; there are an amazing number of open, free, high quality resources here, which continue to wiki-grow. Students will, in general, select from MIT OCW / Berkeley Webcast / Yale OYC courses online, as they do form the Cal Berkeley catalog.

As monies begin to come in, we hope to hire, first, interns, especially from great universities, using this list of 34 or so, especially also for their open course ware - Please keep this in mind for your UC Berkeley students. See the very beginnings of the intern job list here: Each academic 'Subject' page may well become its own academic department over time. Jobs are needed in academia, and WUaS hopes to be able to provide them, in significant numbers, too. And these wiki pages will grow significantly. And, remember, you or anyone can edit them now, as wiki pages, which is how Wikipedia took off. The volunteer aspect of Wikipedia is remarkable and what the web makes possible due to its distributedness. One of our first main hires will be the Head of Information Technology at WUaS, whom I think will facilitate a lot that's not here now, including responses to your criticisms.

In many ways, MIT OCW is the focus for degree granting, and the rest of the subject pages are for open, free references, and idea-sharing (at the bottom of the subject template). Here's the basis for most WUaS 'Subject' pages at present - A main idea at WUaS is education as conversation, which wiki facilitates. (Reed College has at its core the conference-method, which WUaS will emulate and cultivate online). I think that interns who may become faculty, and faculty to come (e.g. at great universities like MIT, who may come to collaborate with WUaS), will find the MIT OCW to be a helpful, clear, course structure, and they'll be able to add their own resources, as they focus the WUaS wiki, academic pages, with MIT OCW as the standard. These people will become the curators, in part. WUaS has been a little short-handed thus far, to say the least.

We haven't had to deal with vandalism thus far, and there's amazing value in openness for sharing ideas, but Wikipedia, which has become very rule bound, is our model if vandalism, etc., emerges. And for the academic side, MIT OCW is the standard. Finding faculty to teach this - for this is what WUaS plans to accredit on - is what WUaS is beginning to think through at present.

Fortunately, people are creating their own universities and schools at the same time online, which allows all of us to complement each other. It's a great time of creativity in online education. MIT OCW is one example, and a high academic standard, however, so finding overachievers for our free degrees, (those who might otherwise go to Harvard, Yale, Princeton, MIT, Stanford, etc.), may indeed be difficult, in that WASC offers a kind of provisional accreditation for degrees only, until the first class graduates four years.

If individual faculty members who are teaching in the WUaS Computer Science subject - - or related, need data portability, I suspect they'll make it happen, with WUaS's support. Transcripts via a secure registrar may well become portable to other universities, but remember we're in the very beginnings of this university, and, in some ways, of the web, itself. WUaS lists links at this point, and data portability may be best handled through these links external to WUaS in the beginning, but of course this will change as the need arises per faculty members. There are a lot! of changes ahead for World University and School. Thanks so much to MIT OCW for the course standard - now to find the monies and the interns, and, if only in the name of job creation and academic excellence online, I think WUaS will find them. But I think this seed of some 350 WUaS wiki pages, with MIT OCW, the conversation-approach to education, via wiki, multiple Skype windows, and in virtual worlds, for example, will even transform education, in some respects, while complementing all the great on-the-ground universities. And WUaS would like to lead the way for robust, open, free online technologies for teaching and learning, which other great universities will of course be able to use, as WUaS is Creative Commons.

World University and School is a creative startup for creative, developing approaches to education using MIT OCW as an academic basis, and where people can teach to each other, (e.g. Salman Khan's Khan Academy). It's hard to say what WUaS will look like in 5 years, let alone 50. But WUaS seeks to be a leader in information technological innovation, as a great university. (And I've only outlined part of WUaS in this email).

You write: "I think this sort of task has to be massively distributed, with distributed ownership and control of collections of links. Something much more like the delicious data model, with tagging etc. " I agree. Delicious is part of the SUBJECT TEMPLATE Navigation section, and WUaS's Library Resources ( and Museums (, potentially all of both, in all languages (Wikipedia is in 281 languages) are all distributed and owned by the museums and libraries that put their collections on the web. WUaS will synthesize some of this with time.

Here are 571 blog entries, all relating to World University and School, if you'd like to peruse specifics further:

Accreditation is next with matriculating classes beginning in 2014.

With best wishes,

( - June 15, 2011)

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