Online Learning Update

April 25, 2014

Minerva’s Plan to Disrupt Universities: A Talk with CEO Ben Nelson

Filed under: Online Learning News — Ray Schroeder @ 12:11 am

by WADE ROUSH, xEconomy

Founder Nelson, 38, has called Minerva a “perfect university” that will trade huge lecture courses for small faculty-led seminars, and physical classrooms for online video exchanges. The for-profit company won $25 million in seed funding from Benchmark in 2012, and three weeks ago it admitted 45 students to its first class. The students won’t attend classes, exactly; instead they’ll use their laptops and webcams to log into Minerva’s Web-based platform for virtual seminars. They won’t be graded through papers or tests, but instead by faculty reviewing recordings of seminar interactions to see whether they’re picking up key concepts and habits of mind. They won’t even stay in San Francisco: for their sophomore year the entire class will be transplanted to another world city, such as Mumbai. (The actual locations of Minerva’s second, third, and fourth campuses haven’t yet been announced.)

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