We are in the midst of an effort to explore what the new technologies enabled by powerful computing and reliable long-distance connection will mean to higher education. (There is, of course, a parallel effort in K-12, but that’s another topic.)
A new entrant is poised to make a bid, and it’s worth some study.
The Minerva Project was initiated by Ben Nelson, the man behind Snapfish (a photo website). His vision is of a university that offers an “uniquely rigorous and challenging university education.” (At a price, we might add, that is a relative bargain–reportedly, the target cost is something like half of what the Ivys charge).
The idea is that classes will be delivered via video, and students will then engage in discussion and debate. Importantly, and in pointed contrast to MOOCs, class size will be limited to 25.