Former Silicon Valley CEO Ben Nelson announced earlier this month that he has secured $25 million from neighboring Menlo Park-based venture capital firm Benchmark Capital. The invested funds will be used to create an elite global university online named The Minerva Project.
What Nelson envisions is an institution with no capacity limits that offers high-quality instruction from the top minds in academia to the best students the world over by harnessing the ubiquity of Internet access. It’s a bold endeavor, and of course, Nelson isn’t the first to take on the marketplace of online education, or even of elite online education. Both online campuses affiliated with brick-and-mortar institutions and standalone programs abound, and newer models are popping up every day; tenured Stanford University professor Sebastian Thrun left his post in February to set up Udacity, a for-profit school offering free college-level classes on topics like cryptography and Web engineering. -Digital Trends
Received article in a Cornell Black Women Alumni email thread. Other active participants included a Penn grad student and a Columbia/LSE grad student. I responded. I’m not a grad student.
I actually… like it.
I can be elitist, but having been out of school for some years, I’ve encountered wildly intelligent people working on niche projects that myself or people from HYP or Cornell could not have conceptualized. Some of the smartest people I’ve met wear white tees and combat boots everyday and their business ventures are successful. Almost enviably successful. Some didn’t go to college. Some dropped out. Not because they could not tough school. School was actually hindering their creativity. It’s interesting.
The Ivy League, Stanford, UVA, Haverford, and the like don’t have a monopoly on brain capital. They have a monopoly on status and those who approbate that mindset. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Part of me does.
The pedagogical structure of traditionally elite schools isn’t conducive for all. This Minerva Project would appeal to those I referenced. The ones who would have thrived under an alternative didactic system. The Silicon Valley dude has a point. There’s a market for those types of minds.
And while we’re doubting its validity working at… They’re on their private island building tomorrow’s ingenuitive platforms.
I’m just saying.