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100% Online

Imagine a College/University with no physical structure, no physical classes, but 100% dealt with online.

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

Technological students in the US, Students who have a heavy work/social life balance. Non-Students looking to gain an education from home.

I imagine the costs of colleges and universities come heavily from their physical structure and employing staff to be paid by the hour ranging from tutorialists, administration, and a range of other staff. Developing and delivering content in this new system would come heavily from professors/lecturers building online presentations, workshops and classes to which students can connect via skype or other chat platforms for a live experience or can participate at the choosing of their convenience. Making all communication online eliminates the need for face to face class time in establishements that do cost a lot of money. I can envision a time whereby a student or lecturer does not have to leave their home to participate in the service of education.With todays technology, we have the capacity to make this happen.

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

Asking fellow students if they believe this is possible.

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

Putting this idea to the lecturers and students themselves to see if this idea is theoretically possible.

This idea emerged from

  • An Individual

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

  • Yes


Join the conversation:

Photo of Raisa Lim

Hi Warwick,
This method is awesome! However, I dont think the students can engage with the subject because there will be alot of distractions. So the students cant really focus. The better way is to balance it between the lecture and online study. Discussion in the class will also help the students to understand the subject and apply it in reality.


Photo of Amanda Riley

I also agree with Raisa. Talking based on experience ,it was much harder for me to commit my time and not get distracted pertaining to online classes.Some classes also involed labs,practicals and also allowed for in class discussion and also the ability to ask professors questions.Professors did always use a sight called moodle to post assignments,lecture notes for the upcoming classes and grades on this site.

Photo of Warwick Sharp

I completely understand what Amanda and Raisa are getting at. I do believe that there are a large number of students who do turn up to lectures or classes that are on site and get distracted by being on social media anyways. Why do universities allow this to happen on their own time and costings. If a student cannot or does not want to attend class any given day, having all the content available online would allow the student to not miss anything.

Regarding class discussions, I have seen universities set up community chat groups discussing anything from the lecture content, to assignments even to potential job opportunities in any given field. Obviously there are some degrees that it is required students participate in practicals and labs. But for the purpose of this discussion i believe a university could offer the majority of business, law, some engineering, and other research based degrees online with 1-2 organisational tours for any practical information.

Lastly, universities take up a ridiculously large space (such as libraries, sporting fields, halls, etc which obviously students use... but removing these aspects from a school, a university could severely cut costs from operating out of one building and thus selling off acres of land. From an image point of view, the school isn't attractive for a student to participate on campus, however these activities such as sporting games that a univeristy could choose to not offer could be contracted out to other clubs or organisations with close partnerships.

Bottom line, there is a large percentage of students who turn up each and every week to classes that aren't 100% mentally focused and result in wasting both their time and the universities time. Both the student and the university could be far more productive by offering the entire education service online for consumption at a time best fit for the customer

Photo of Amanda Riley

I definitely agree that students do turn up to class where they can be distracted by using their cellphones during class or using social media on their laptops when they bring it to class. I attended university for engineering, and I am speaking based on my experience. What my university employed to combat with problems like that was to have a block on cellphone service in certain rooms but only access to wifi. Some professors also makes it clear that ,if you are caught with using a cellphone he would politely ask you to turn off . In other cases attendance is also 10% of your final grade and teachers enforce that it is mandatory to attend classes. In engineering as I previously mentioned we had the incorporation of both online access to course lectures,assignments and grades as well as in class lectures and labs. Some of my labs were off site of the university campus and helped in my understanding of what was being in taught in lectures.

Practicals and labs are very important for medical students, science students and engineering students because the jobs in the outside worlds are mainly practical and helps the students to have more of a visual understanding of what the theory entails. I would agree online education can be useful but I don't think you can fully eliminate the in class lectures.I think they can be worked with in conjuction with the each other , examples of these models are implemented at my alumni university , Queen's University Canada.

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