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EduPass - An online education cloud platform

EduPass allows students to take online courses across multiple universities, geared to fit their particular needs & spark their interest.

Photo of hermosa farca

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

EduPass is a multi-university online cloud platform for students that are unable to study full-time or attend brick and mortar institutions and want take their degrees online. With EduPass , they can purchase only the courses that fits within their timeframe and sparks their interest. diversity of course offerings across multiple universities equals a more wholesome education. As Universities partner together, the cost per course decreases as education is provided by several institutions.

University education is expensive, and many students are unable to attend brick-and-mortar universities and therefore decide to take their degrees online. However online course offerings are often limited in comparison to in-person education, yet costs are often relatively comparable. These students have time constraints due to work, family responsibilities etc, therefore universities with similar course offerings across disciplines would partner to create an online-based education cloud platform called EduPass. The selected courses of each participating university are offered per semester or term in the form of a national or international marketplace. Students then use EduPass to book and take courses, and the program will be designed to cater the financial, time-constraints, and location needs of these particular students. The purpose is to provide the most diverse, wholesome, affordable and humanized online education experience possible. 


The benefits are:

1. students will find a larger scope and diverse course offerings that spark their interest, allowing for him or her to cater their own experience and create a personalized education. 

2.  by having more course variety to choose from, it increases the chances of the student finding classes that also fits their schedules due to time-constraints. 

3. an inherent cost reduction per course booked, as the degree education is paid across multiple universities, rather than only just one. a subscription-based model charging one standard fee for all participants, or class bundles can decrease overall fees in the chosen area of study rather than a pay-per-class model. 

4. allows for the student to take courses within their own timeframe and schedule, therefore completing their education at their own pace.

5. the student will graduate with a more wholesome and higher quality education overall. 

6. the student is able to take courses across national, or international institutions as the platform grows rather than limiting to what is offered in their home state. likewise, universities are able to cater students living in other places. 

7. allows for students to connect with others alike using the platform, creating a more humanized and much closer to an in-person college experience vs. current online degree platforms. this may include peer-to-peer study groups, forums, clubs, etc, independently of where the student lives.

8. universities can select the online courses to participate in this program, while charging the current rates in the regular online offerings that are not part of EduPass. so this is sustainable for universities in the long-run as they decide which courses to open in this platform.

9. courses can be created and designed specifically for the EduPass platform, + some free courses and special/guest lectures. 

10. as student receives a single joint university degree from several participating institutions, therefore amplifying job offer opportunities after graduation. 


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

talk to students and see what the most popular online degrees are, explore universities and see what their current online course offerings are, conduct an experiment in which comparable universities partner only for the duration of the experiment and each offer a sample course offerings in a joint marketplace. students would attend the classes online for the duration of the experiment. feedback will be taken and addressed to make EduPass a viable option for interested students and Universities.

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

i think the idea is interesting, first defining then refining the business model here is key so it is sustainable in the long-run. universities, students , alumni or graduates who have taken online courses or an online degree education i think can better provide feedback, as well as to see what the obstacles or challenges would take to implement the EduPass platform in a multi-institutional level and both nationally and internationally. Any examples of similar and successful approaches ?

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

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14 comments

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Photo of Dawna Wilbert
Team

They provide comprehensive and free information about everything an international student needs to know about studying and living in the United States, from college admissions and financial aid to clothing sizes and culture shock.

Photo of Estela Sanchez
Team

Hi Hermosa, GREAT GREAT idea! Everyone has been harping on accreditation, Right? Well the way I see it is that brick-and-mortar institutions have the accreditation EduPass would need. What if EduPass worked with students to enroll in classes online or at other institutions whose credit would transfer to the institution that they are currently enrolled in (whether that is a traditional college, community college, online college). EduPass could help students find cheaper alternatives to fulfill requirements than that offered by their university, that transfers! And it could reduce the amount of time it takes to graduate.

Wish you the best. What ever direction you go it'll turn out Amazinnng.

Photo of John Matthews
Team

As a previous Assistant Dean at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, I can confirm that accreditation would be tough. This is, however, what students do these days. They "cherry-pick" the courses they want and try to get credits to transfer to the next institution. Sometimes they transfer, sometimes they don't. And sometimes, an accredited institution will grant them a degree. 

It would be nice if you could grant them a degree from EduPass that is accredited. But, it may be a project that you could strive for in the future.

Alternatively, you could use an open badging system like Credly. A student could submit courses they took, and have them verified by the university. The student would then have a collection of badges that they could include on their LinkedIn profile. It may not be as powerful as a degree from some institution, but at least the student would be getting credit for what they've achieved.

We actually went down this road with Learning Herd (http://learningherd.com) and a student's collection of non-credit courses, but took the idea off the table for now.

Photo of Kevin Heller
Team

Great idea; however, bureaucracy will prevent it from working. 
I hate to be negative about the idea, because I actually would like to see this come to fruition. However, I work at a University, and I can assure you that developing articulation agreements between universities is a major challenge. One of the questions is this: which university will issue the degree? That university has to approve all the courses that would be part of this consortium, and university committees, composed of faculty, typically make those kinds of approvals. And they take forever. And faculty are notoriously cranky, obstructive, and difficult to work with. Getting all the universities in one system to work together is next to impossible; getting un-affiliated universities to work together is a tremendous challenge that I don't see a solution to. 

Photo of Dave Zinsman
Team

Hi, Hermosa!
I love this idea; lots of great threads around the idea of flexibility. Flexibility is a big selling point for students, institutions, and teachers; this represents many ways EduPass can be shaped to solve problems. Lots of ways problems can be solved = lots of ways to pattern a product for students, and a business case for institutions. 

I second Alexandra's comment. Let's start bringing this bad boy to life in some lo-fi sketches; get feedback from the OpenIDEO community; and try to mock it up somehow!

Photo of OpenIDEO
Team

Welcome to the refinement phase Hermosa! We’re excited to see how this idea can standardize the accreditation of online courses on a widespread scale.

In the upcoming weeks we’re looking forward to learning more about the business model, value proposition, and user journey of this idea. In particular, we’re curious to learn how EduPass degrees can be certified and recognized by future employers. How might you standardize the accreditation of online courses across universities? Also, can there be a hybrid version of this idea where students are able to receive a part of their college education in traditional classrooms? In the Refinement phase we’re also interested in how this idea might meet the needs of 1st generation college students. Studies have shown that 1st gen students are more likely to graduate with the support of a strong peer-network and amenable campus setting. How might you address this issue when students of EduPass will not have traditional classroom experiences? Some thoughts from our experts are that perhaps EduPass might be a great option for high school juniors and seniors who can take discounted college courses to save tuition on credits later on. This idea can also be suitable for juniors and seniors in college after they’ve acclimated to their campus environment during the first two years of enrollment - reducing the risk of early dropout from 1st gen students.

Here are some key questions and milestones we encourage from all ideas in the Refinement:
1. How might this idea address the unique needs of low-income families and first generation college students?
2. Clearly summarize the value proposition of your idea in 1-2 sentences
3. Identify assumptions that need to be answered in order to validate your value proposition.
4. Collect feedback from potential partners and users to answer the assumptions you’ve identified.
5. Communicate your idea in a visual way with user experience maps http://ideo.pn/UX_Map

Lastly, here's a useful tip: When you update the content of your post, it'd be helpful to indicate this in your idea title by adding an extension. For example, you can add the extension " - Update: Experience Maps 12/22" to you idea title. This will be a good way to keep people informed about how your idea is progressing. We’re excited to see this idea progress in the next weeks!

Photo of Adam Smoot
Team

Great idea Hermosa, the feature that immediately jumps out to me about your idea is that it leverages current infrastructure to create a tailored learning experience for each individual, based on their interests. I think that there is opportunity for you to expand the infrastructure beyond traditional institutions and incorporate online learning vehicles. Online learning such as Kahn or Coursera could be an important part of making a college degree accessible to a broader population. I agree with the comments regarding accreditation - and, I think that finding the right organization to partner with could help apply credits to a select number of these online course. It's not uncommon for colleges to recognize experiences such as military training towards college credits, I don't think this would be any different.  This organizational partner could serve as a clearing house, categorizing and validating available courses. 
I look forward to seeing how you grow and shape this idea! 

Photo of OpenIDEO
Team

Congrats on making it to the Refinement Phase Hermosa! In the next few days we'll be sending you additional feedback to help you take this idea forward - so be on the lookout for that. We're looking forward to how this idea will grow!

Photo of Vidur Uthappa
Team

Hi Hermosa, I love the Idea. Just a couple of inputs:
1) Accreditation is must, it is something which will standardize the education gained by each student from EduPass, also give some security to land a job. This is something that EduPass and the contributing universities can work on, since most of the universities are accredited and their courses will be upto the required academic rigour. Maybe they can setup a curriculum and set of required courses to be completed to receive a degree with a particular major.
2) This is for the Point # 7 in benefits from the idea: 
There are tons of students across the world taking similar courses which involve very similar course work and material. We can create a crowdsourced platform as a part of EduPass like a wiki for class notes where students can upload their class notes, useful resources for R&D etc. This would create a very useful repository of resources course-wise with different perspectives coming together and this platform would act as a one stop shop for students to access this wealth of information which is closely relevant to their course.

Photo of Alexandra Alden
Team

Hi Hermosa! Alex here from Path to Pitching, good start! Glad to see you’re interesting in making your idea real and pitching it to our network of accelerators! To get your idea pitch ready you'll need to form a team, then get out in the community and talk to your users to validate your problem and customers. Once you've done that start prototyping as soon as possible.

Check out our Human Centered Milestones, they are intended to help you develop your idea: http://bit.ly/1N6hgbQ

Learn more about the Path to Pitching: http://bit.ly/1HzPkeV

Photo of Nicole Cote
Team

Thanks for posting this interesting idea! After reading, I have a couple of queries you might consider:

1) Does this program follow a structured degree path per major? Normally, all degree programs have certain required courses that need to be taken. Would this system work in the same way? If not, how would future employers be able to judge the rigor of one student's work or degree versus the other?

2) Similarly, what would be the incentive for numerous universities offering a joint degree, when they would lose money by students not taking all classes at one place? Further, does that in some way limit the necessity of the existence of the schools on a whole?

Just a few logistical thoughts that I had when reading! Thanks for sharing this interesting idea.

Photo of hermosa farca
Team

to be honest, I don't know the answers to these questions right of the bat, but definitely things to consider!!! thanks for all the awesome feedback.

Photo of Katerina Bohle Carbonell
Team

I like your idea. I have two points for you to consider while further developing your idea:
1. Have you looked into accreditation? This is currently done on a university-basis.
2. In what way is it different from following a specialization or verified certificate on coursera/edx/udacity?

Photo of Shane Zhao
Team

Great provocations Katerina. Hermosa, in this challenge we're particularly interested in ideas that can lower the cost of accredited bachelor degrees. It'll be interesting to consider how EduPass can work with on-campus higher ed institutions. Can this approach be used to cut down on the cost of tuition while still allowing students to gain accredited degrees?