University of the People
How much does it cost?
Nothing. That’s right – it’s free. It’s the world’s first TUITION FREE university with its first crop of students coming from 49 countries aged from 16-61.
Where is it based?
Nowhere and everywhere. It’s the internet baby, so it truly is the first global university.
When can one join?
Enrolment is on a rolling basis, with five terms and therefore five start days, avoiding the stupid traditional model of a ‘once per year’ start. They can do this by having a solid orientation programme on ‘Computer Skills for Online Learning’ as well as 'English Composition' (as all courses are currently in English). The first cohorts will be around 300 students.
Drift to the free
This is exactly what the web leads to in terms Chris Anderson and Kevin Kelly’s drift towards the free model. We saw it with knowledge. First it was holed up in elitist, expensive books, libraries and institutions, then published as ‘encyclopedias’ (Encyclopedia Britannica), then half-baked business models like Microsoft Encarta and eventually the free Wikipedia. The democratisation of education will follow the same road.
Will it work?
It still has all the hallmarks of a US driven initiative, with US holidays in the calendar and the usual stuff that US people think is global but is actually local. However, it has all the hallmarks of a successful initiative; vision, global reach, free and online. Someone’s going to crack this and it sure as hell ain’t going to be the Donald Trump University. Good luck to them – they deserve it.