Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Mariposa lily: Accreditation, Language flexibility and science at WUaS, WUaS's Value Proposition, or Unique Selling Proposition, First flyer, with both the College and Admissions' pages at WUaS

Hi M, and All, 

On Tue, Nov 6, 2012 at 4:01 AM, M.H. wrote:

I'm so pleased to be associated with your effort to build your school. Below are some recommendations I have for next steps. 

Thanks for you ideas! 

These are the 3 Action Items I believe you need to concentrate on right now:

1: Accreditation. (This is a key step to accomplishing Action Item 3) Make sure your accreditation is prominent and easy to find. It was not clear in your initial materials that you have received an over-all accreditation. Also, you will have to check each of the degrees you are planning on offering, to see what each accrediting body requires. Every discipline has it's own body, and it applies to Undergraduate studies as well as Graduate. There is a  broad body that accredits your entire institution, and then there are discipline-specific bodies that you have to consult. I have been through 2 accreditations at 2 different institutions, and each one had at least 2 accrediting bodies. I will say, after having gone through this twice  in my career, this is not easy, and it shouldn't be. Accreditation is not simply a fee. It is a certification of a serious course of study within a specific discipline. Schools loose their accreditation when they fail to give that serious course of study. And, word of advice: It is much easier to obtain accreditation as a new, untested institution than it is for an institution to regain accreditation after it is lost. Go into this with a very, very serious and thorough manner.

WUaS has talked with WASC senior in California for about 45 minutes, and is planning to accredit on MIT OCW, for the bachelor's degree (with WUaS's 1st matriculating class in 2014), and department by department, for this online, Creative Commons' licensed university and School. Ph.D. accreditation for first, online matriculating class beginning in 2015, will also be department, by department. WUaS is serious about accrediting well and thoroughly, with WASC to start, and then around the world, but we need to begin to scale for this. There's a workshop in April with WASC which we're currently planning to attend. 
2: Language flexibility. Gerd made great points about how various disciplines use specific languages. In addition to sciences being English-specific, there are disciplines that use a variety of languages, and their dominant country language may not be appropriate. 

WUaS has an all 7413+ languages' mission beginning with English for accreditation. Wikipedia is in 285 languages thus far, and we'll build on this. 

See the WUaS 'STEM Education,' wiki page, for example, much of which WUaS is planning to extend into many languages -,_Technologies,_Engineering_and_Mathematics. Access to science in many languages will open horizons for so many. 
3: Your Value Proposition, or Unique Selling Proposition. This will help you build a sustainable model. First, clearly define what your school is. Great schools are built by visionary leaders who attract great faculty and good students. Your model is currently set up to attract students, but I do not see how you will attract the faculty that will actually build the school. (Just understand the population - students come and go. Faculty stay)

Free, MIT OCW, Creative Commons' licensed, All languages and countries, free, online, MIT-centric (STEM too), bachelor, Ph.D., I.B., law and M.D. degrees in many, many countries and languages. 

Here are some related WUaS, wiki pages: 

Then, I'd like to see clarification on course content and course of study. Right now, it looks like you are relying heavily on the open course work from MIT, Yale and Stanford. Are official agreements in place? What is in it for them to allow you to use their  online coursework for students to receive credit from your school? The intellectual property of those classes are that of the institution and the professor of record. If agreements are in place, make sure these are clear and easy to find.  And, what model do you have to create your own intellectual property? Currently, (please let me know if this is right) you are relying on recent graduates to create your body of work….how are you recruiting them? How are you compensating them? You not only want the best students, you want the best professors. 

We'll accredit based on Creative Commons' law, and see to build relationships, including for accreditation, with MIT, in particular. WUaS is also Creative Commons' licensed, unlike Coursere, Udacity, etc. 

And here's the first flyer, with both the College at WUaS link as well as the Admissions at WUaS link: 

As you can see, I'm concerned about how you are treating the faculty. This appears to be a very "student-centric" model, but education is about the students and the faculty both. Realize that endowments, grants and institutes follow the faculty, not the students. Even new models, like Udacity, (which are based on compensation for student referrals), are based on trust in the faculty. Udacity would not be where it is without the weight of Stanford faculty behind it. I'd like to see a clearer picture of how you will compensate them for their intellectual property and build their ability to research, and thus build your institution.

WUaS hopes to hire interns first, with MIT OCW faculty in video as WUaS's first faculty, and then gradually begin to hire faculty. All of this is contingent on WUaS's endowment, fundraising and bookstore / computer store business plan.
Hope this helps!


Thanks for your great questions. 



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