Press Release in Interview-Format Article for World University and School - Artificial Intelligence
(See, to, the World University and School blog - http://worlduniversityandschool.blogspot.com/2014/02/press-release-in-interview-format.html).
AA: I understand World University and School (WUaS) has just opened and is accepting, undergraduate applications. What is exactly is WUaS and who's involved?
SM: The College at World University and School (http://worlduniversity.wikia.com/wiki/The_College_at_World_University_and_School) is a MIT OCW-centric, accrediting, free (since Creative Commons' licensed), undergraduate program. Our goal is to offer an online, MIT-centric, undergraduate education, first in English, then in large languages. I am the founder, president and developer, having taught 'Information Technology and Society' on Harvard's virtual island in Second Life for about 8 semesters - http://scottmacleod.com/. WUaS has a board, it incorporated in California in 2010, and a wiki community of some editors.
AA: So how does it work?
SM: Students will be taking 32 of these free, online, MIT-centric courses over 4 years: http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/audio-video-courses/. Courses will be in English, and other languages later (http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/translated-courses/). We will offer bachelor degrees initially, (and Ph.D. and other degrees later, including law, International Baccalaureate diplomas, and, eventually, as a long-range goal, M.D. degrees, - thus contributing to defining the field and practice of online medicine; telemedicine has a long history).
AA: Why MIT? What about other MOOCs, like Cousera?
SM: World University and School's MIT OCW-centricity offers not only a well-thought out, online, university curriculum of about 2,150 courses - now with about a 15 year history - but also the remarkable STEM-centricity of MIT (e.g. http://worlduniversity.wikia.com/wiki/STEM_Education_-_Science,_Technologies,_Engineering_and_Mathematics#World_University_and_School_Links) - for free. MIT OCW courses have already been translated into at least 8, non-English languages, with many more languages in the MIT OCW, and WUaS, pipelines. MIT OCW is also Creative Commons' licensed (as is WUaS and Wikipedia, - and WUaS, significantly, is also a wiki, planned for all 7,105 languages, each a wiki school) remarkably opening accessibility to people in all countries around the world, with an internet connection. (edX and Coursera, by way of comparison, don't appear to be planning to offer degrees, just certificates, are not C.C., and don't appear to be in other languages).
Check out the MIT OCW courses, for example, on this 'Artificial Intelligence' wiki, Subject page at WUaS, as an example of an editable, subject page - http://worlduniversity.wikia.com/wiki/Artificial_Intelligence.
AA: So why shouldn't students just study on their own? What's the value-added?
SM: World University and School is planning to accredit, first to offer online, free (since C.C.), undergraduate and graduate degrees - and eventually in many languages - thus adding the value of degrees as a recognition of knowledge generated and learned, in a particular, academic discipline. (WUaS may organize online tutoring, for fees, in addition to fundraising from governments around the world for these MIT OCW-centric degrees). MIT-centricity also adds remarkable STEM-centric value compared with edX and Coursera, for example. WUaS also plans to hire graduate student instructors to teach to the MIT faculty in MIT OCW audio and video, - i.e. MIT and other graduate students from great universities - thus generating a STEM-centric, knowledge conversation, and creating good academic jobs, as well as expanding STEM-centric, academic and people networks in most languages.
AA: Wait, so WUaS will be accredited? Seriously? How will that work?
SM: WUaS plans to accredit first with the state of California's Bureau of Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE), meeting its legal requirements, and then with WASC senior (Western Association of Schools and Colleges), which, for example, accredits Stanford and UC Berkeley and some universities internationally, and which also just accredited UC Hastings' law school at the Ph.D. level. Accreditation with WASC senior involves a three stage process, - with full accreditation at the undergraduate level, with WASC senior, occurring only after WUaS graduates its first undergraduate class, probably in 2018; WUaS has received the 'green light' from both organizations.
AA: So how do we sign up?
SM: The first, undergraduate class (no transfer students at this stage), in this 4 year, accrediting, bachelor's degree program, will matriculate in autumn 2014 (an historic, first class). Classes will initially meet in Google + group video Hangouts, and virtual worlds. We plan for the first classes to start in September. Prospective, first year students should apply to WUaS as if applying to MIT, - http://mitadmissions.org/apply/freshman/dates - and email their applications, with related, application materials, to email@example.com. For more information about applying to WUaS, see 'Admissions at World University and School' -