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From MOOCs to Mentorship (OpenIDEO San Diego Meetup) - added wireframe prototype Jan19

Restructure the traditional classroom model to offer a less expensive, more community-minded learning experience.

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Who is the target audience for your idea and how does it reimagine the cost of college?

Primary Target(s): Universities, Corporations Secondary Target(s): Community members Our idea will help increase accessibility to students of all income levels and familial education backgrounds via restructuring the traditional classroom experience. Update January 12th: *Students: Boost awareness of existing [govt-funded] affordable higher ed options *Government: Viability, better ROI on existing (& proposed) funding *Corps: More prepared entry-level workforce

Original idea from San Diego Meetup, November 10th:

  1. Facilitate collaboration between businesses & universities  TK
  2. Restructuring the classroom experience into a more community-based, hybrid model, including:
    • online learning
    • professional mentorship
    • community participation & support
    • traditional classrooms


Update from San Diego Meetup, December 8th:


This model is set up so that tuition will cost less at the beginning, as satellite campuses are sponsored by a network of universities and organizations, reducing campus overhead, with some classes taught at MOOCs, some mixed and some in physical proximity within the satellite locations.

As the student gets closer to graduation, the tuition becomes more expensive; however, there is also more business/corporate involvement, leaving the opportunity for a corporate sponsorship to offset the cost of tuition.

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**See more in our MOOCs-to-Mentorship persona and user journey doc (attached)**


Update from San Diego Meetup, January 12th:


Our primary objective is to address the needs of low-income students. 

The MOOCs-to-Mentorship initiative addresses low-income students’ needs by subsidizing the cost of higher education through the federal government.


Value Proposition

MOOCs-to-Mentorship has a multi-pronged value proposition, targeting three (3) key players in the US higher education ecosystem: Students, Government, Corporations.

  1. Students: Making affordable education accessible through government funding.
  2. Government: Maximizing the government return on education investments
  3. Corporations: A better prepared entry-level workforce



  MOOCs-to-Mentorship is built on the following assumptions:

  • Student is qualified to enter college
  • Student wants a 4-year degree
  • Government will continue current level of funding for education
  • We will be able to find attractive community facilities
  • This model will meet accreditation requirements
  • MOOCs will continue to be viewed as a viable education model
  • The involvement of mentors will lead to more job opportunities
  • Universities will participate in a nationwide co-op
  • A significant percentage of the higher education cost is spent on facilities
  • Schools can accommodate an increase in on-campus residents in years 3 and 4

product roadmap

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Update from San Diego Meetup, January 19th:


We've developed a mockup wireframe of the MOOCs-to-Mentorship webpage ("") to be used as prototype for MOOCs-to-Mentorship affordable higher ed initiative.

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Most important questions to answer: 

  • Will students be able to comprehend the full benefit(s) of the M2M initiative based solely on this infographic?
  • Will this infographic convince students/visitors to request more information when they reach the bottom of the page?


Check out what we're working on behind the scenes at the OpenIDEO San Diego Meetup Community page on Google+.

What early, lightweight experiment can you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

Approach local higher education institutions to understand their willingness to participate in a program like this.

What skills, input or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

- Guidance from teaching professionals - Guidance from learning & development professional - Corporate business relations and community outreach professionals - Legal advice on platform accountability

This idea emerged from

  • A group brainstorm
  • An OpenIDEO meetup

Are you interested in the Path to Pitching track we've developed for this challenge?

  • Yes

Evaluation results

14 evaluations so far

1. Does this idea make college more accessible, especially for low income students in the U.S.?

Yes! - 64.3%

To a degree - 28.6%

Not that I can tell - 7.1%

2. Does this idea think beyond current cost structures of college and activate new sectors or partners?

Yes! - 78.6%

It's attempting to - 21.4%

Not that I can tell - 0%

3. How excited are you about this idea?

I'm so excited I just can't hide it! - 64.3%

I'm pretty neutral in my excitement level - 28.6%

I don't feel very excited about this idea. - 7.1%


Join the conversation:

Photo of Ken Soto

Team - more info on the funding questions we've been discussing, from the corporate partner perspective: article today in the Chronicle of Higher Education reviews recent development in corporate/college partnerships to provide degrees to employees at greatly reduced rates:

"Colleges see the deals as a way to reduce their costs of providing distance education. That’s because, in theory, deals with companies can help colleges more efficiently reach and enroll bigger pools of students, which can lower the cost. But the jury’s still out on how effective the tactic is."

The article suggests the cost savings come from reduced marketing and acquisition costs, and admittedly it covers currently employed students, not high-school students, but there are lessons here worth considering. We've questioned why colleges and universities would support M2M and postulated that the overall increase in enrollment would benefit all participating institutions, and ASU, Strayer, and Southern New Hampshire programs seem to support this. 

Tori: Strayer's Degrees@Work seems like the kind of program that your dad could have used during his time at GE, and suggests a corporate/public education model:

Similar program offered at SNHU's College for America:

One of the big issues here is the maturity level of students - these programs deal with current employees who have established work habits, which many high school students have yet to develop:

"What's more, for-profit colleges have found that retention rates for employed students tend to be higher because they're often older and more mature than traditional students, which means the company won't have to spend money replacing the student the following year."

More cautionary notes in the article: none of this is proven yet, and adding financial aid management increases costs. But it does suggest that corporate interest is there and growing.

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