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University of the People: Already doing what you want to achieve

U of P offers two online, accredited degrees, tuition-free.

Photo of Kevin Heller
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What is a provocation or insight that might inspire others during this challenge?

The key to making this work is to re-imagine what a university degree looks like it. Do you really need 60+ clubs, a multi-cultural center that hands out t-shirts, fountain drinks for free in the dorms, and 500 students in a live lecture class? Or is that just the American tradition? University of the People is already doing what you want to achieve, accredited and online.


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Photo of Shane Zhao

Great share Kevin! This is a very interesting example of how MOOCS are transforming the higher education space. We're curious to learn how the accredited degree from the University of the People compares to traditional bachelor diplomas? How might this accreditation process be adapted by other free online learning programs?

Also, it'd be great to include a link in your post. This way people can read more about the University of the People:T

Photo of Kevin Heller

Hi Shane,
Good point. I added a link above, but I'll add it here, too:

It's hard to describe how it compares to a traditional bachelor's degree -- how does the University of Dallas compare to St. Cloud State University? At the end of the day, they both issue accredited degrees. I would imagine that most people would value a BA from Stanford, Yale, Harvard, or Berkeley more highly than one from Boise State, Seattle Central College, or UT El Paso, but in a lot of places, the question on a job application is not, "Where did you get your BA?" but rather "Do you have a BA?" So -- how does it compare? I have a much more utilitarian attitude: I would propose that it doesn't matter how they differ, so long as they're both accredited.

The accreditation process is conceptually easy: there are external accrediting agencies that review your school and either grant or deny accreditation. The hard part is that in order to become accredited, there are all sorts of additional requirements beyond "simply" creating a MOOC and enrolling students.

In a nutshell:
Concept = easy.
Administration = hard.

Photo of Shane Zhao

Well put Kevin! Thanks for followup

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