With college costs rising steadily each year and more alternative, online courses becoming available for free, people are beginning to question whether there is still a need for a traditional college education in today’s job market.
Minerva is an accredited four year university that aims to reinvent liberal arts education by teaching critical thinking as opposed to just regurgitating the same information as everyone else. All of Minerva’s classes take place online, the idea behind this interactive way of learning is to keep students engaged whilst allowing professors to call on them. Students will start their schooling in San Francisco, followed by Berlin, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Taipei, Taiwan, and other global hubs. They will be given this opportunity to travel whilst continuing to take online classes and completing hands-on assignments at local companies and organisations.
Even though it is still early days to determine graduation and employment rates for this university, Ben Nelson, the founder of the school, has stated that every first year student who chose to work last summer landed themselves an internship.
There are doubts regarding this relatively unknown way of learning, with some saying that students are putting their education at risk. In particular, they are questioning the ability to teach science without labs or test tubes and believe that academic research requires the space and environment afforded by traditional universities.
There are also other schools that are looking at different ways of educating their students. For example, MissionU offers a one year non-degree programme, in which students will be taking online courses taught by industry practitioners and completing real-life projects and assignments for various companies. The founder of MissionU, Adam Braun, has said that ‘just because you can prepare well for a test doesn’t mean you will necessarily thrive as a contributor to a great company”, he aims to allow young people to build themselves a better life and career that is more suited to today’s work force.
There are certain employers that have decided to drop college education from its hiring requirements, including Google, The New York Times and the British office of Ernst & Young.