Thursday, March 31, 2011

Fish Creek Mountains: World Univ & Sch's Plea for $$$ if everything is free, Online Education as Free, Effective and Worthwhile

World University & School's Plea for $$$ - monies - if Everything is Free, Online Education as Free, Effective and Worthwhile

A friend writes:

I don't understand plea for $$$ if everything at WUaS is free as you keep saying. As you also know I don't understand how any significant educational experience can be free.........or how on-line teaching can be effective and worthwhile. BUT remember you are conversing with an internet neanderthal who needs personal and eye contact in her relationships. :-)

Have a good weekend, P


Dear P,

Thanks for your email. I think MIT Open Course Ware, Wikipedia, and Khan Academy (to name only a few), and especially the free tuition to financially-in-need, great students at Stanford, MIT, Harvard, Yale and Princeton are all examples, and highest quality educational models, for World University and School. All of these organizations have endowments and/or financial stability, and the first 3 are all free. World University and School is like Wikipedia with MIT Open Course Ware.

And to gain accreditation for World University and School - like Stanford, MIT, Harvard, Yale and Princeton have - monies are quintessential, as well as for WUaS to grow. These great universities are also the richest in this country; there's a correlation between academic quality and endowment size. And WUaS would like to compete with these by being free, and online, and robustly innovative (and also have a huge endowment), while collaborating as well through generation of great universities' open course ware -

Accreditation is WUaS's next step, after incorporation in April 2010. (Educational Program for Gifted Youth, a grandfather of open, free, highest quality. online teaching and learning, out of Stanford, started as a free program, I think, but is no longer free, and E.P.G.Y is NOT accredited. I just met with the co-founders of EPGY at Stanford last week, and WUaS is so glad to have their support). And K-12 public education is free to 95%? of students in the U.S. and there are a handful of great, public, high schools, for example. How to offer a free MIT OCW-based education (2,045 courses are available for free, without degrees, for the self-motivated learner) online, and interactively in virtual worlds, to possibly 25 students at the BA, Law, M.D. and Ph.D. levels is a process which substantial monies, and an endowment, will make possible. And WUaS will be very competitive as a free degree university. Many European universities are also free or very low cost, and yet have significant budgets.

In terms of quality, WUaS would like to draw its student applicants for some matriculating classes beginning in 2014 from the equivalent of, for example, MIT applicants, perhaps by collaborating with MIT OCW, to offer interactive, online degrees.

And World University and School would like to hire interns for community building, fund raising and grant writing, as well as accreditation seeking. All of this costs money. WUaS's goals include creating jobs for people. But WUaS is a startup, just as MIT, Stanford, MIT OCW, Harvard, Google, and Wikipedia have all been startups. And angel philanthropists have been godsends to these organizations.

World University and School also plans to engage Quaker consensus and committee process and focus, organizationally. (WUaS would love to engage all of Kendall Crosslands Continuing Care Center, for example, as well as the Quaker world, over the years ahead, to develop a remarkable, friendly, teaching and learning conversation).

Education at MIT, Stanford, Harvard, Yale, and Princeton, for example, are all conversations, in so many senses, via symbolic processes, words and about problem solving - both face-to-face and via texts and media. Online education, in virtual worlds, makes possible further symbolic exchange in a variety of new ways, - by drawing on these familiar, worthwhile and effective text, conversation, lecture and seminar approaches, now in virtual worlds and digitally. When avatars in virtual worlds get facial expressions (not something that WUaS is working on), both 'real' and fantastic, face-to-face idea exchange will develop anew.

But monies are key to WUaS's development is so many ways, for accreditation, for paying interns, for collaborating with MIT, for paying graduate students as instructors in virtual worlds for these courses, for developing robust technologies, - in becoming a great, online university. It's exciting to potentially collaborate with great universities (a league here:, and will be even greater, when WUaS diverges, as people continue to innovate with information technologies and they develop. We're in the Ford Model T stage of information technology development, with so much potential and so many changes ahead. And I'd like WUaS, with monies, to become a great online university and school, exceeding, even, MIT, Stanford, Harvard, Yale, and Princeton, in online teaching and learning.

For all this, World University and School greatly needs monies, and very soon (e.g. for accreditation and multiple other expenses), but we haven't yet successfully found our first angel philanthropists, or received our first grant monies.

Would you like to be on World University and School's Board of Directors / Clerks? You'd be wonderful at this, and, as a startup, WUaS is more in need of great Board members, and Board members will have much more influence here, than in almost any other organization I think of (especially with its goal of all languages and nation states).

Come out and visit Canyon in June with my mother, if it works out, and we can talk about this further face-to-face. :)


( - March 31, 2011)

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