Minerva Project Review

Posted by admin on June 23, 2012 under Review | Be the First to Comment

Minerva Project reviewsThe Minerva Project is the latest online educational initiative that aims to change the way people are educated forever. But don’t go thinking that it is similar to Coursera and Udacity. In actual fact, it is the complete opposite. While the aforementioned innovations are intent on bringing education to the masses, the Minerva Project is focusing on gathering together the world’s best minds. About the only thing they have in common is that all classes will be conducted online. Ben Nelson is the founder of this project which hopes to hold its first classes in 2014. But what is the Minerva Project all about?

The Process
The Minerva Project is ambitiously referring to itself as the first elite American university to be launched in over 100 years. Certainly, the entire project is being backed heavily with $25 million raised and an announcement that former Harvard President and United States Secretary of Treasury, Larry Summers, will be the head of its advisory board. According to Nelson, the Minerva Project will not suffer from a lack of resources, a problem that is plaguing even top American universities. According to Nelson, it costs Yale $250 million to add just 250 students. Nelson maintains that Yale should have increased by 25,000 students in the last two decades based on demand. He also points out that Harvard has an acceptance rate of less than 6%. The reason why students are rejected is because these colleges don’t have the facilities to accommodate more than a set number.

Minerva will offer four year courses with two semesters and four classes each semester. In other words, it will be very similar to the annual structure of a top university. However, Minerva students are encouraged to learn from home for the first year to ensure everyone has the same basics learned despite any language barriers. From the second year, each student is encouraged to live in a new city each semester. The idea is to allow students to learn by experience rather than just from textbooks. Nelson says that students who are not trilingual at the end of the four years will not graduate.

The Minerva Project will have a number of physical campuses, the location of which depends on the students. For example, if there are a group of students from Italy, there may be a campus in Rome. Minerva students are also encouraged to live with one another throughout the final three years. The only criteria for this project is intellectual capacity. Classes will contain a maximum of 25 students and be conducted online. Minerva will have its course content designed by top professors and PhD graduates with teaching experience may be sought out as course instructors.

The Minerva Project is one of the most ambitious education projects ever attempted. It is even hoped that the university will help students who graduate by helping them find grant money and fellowships aggressively. This is in stark contrast to other colleges who expect alumni to donate money to help them expand. However, the project will need far more funding than its current level for it to succeed. Overall, the Minerva Project is trying to create its own version of academic Utopia. The odds are stacked against the project succeeding but as classes don’t start for another two years, perhaps it can gain additional funding. It will be extremely interesting to see how many students apply and how many are accepted. As the total cost of the four years is expected to be 50% of what it would cost to attend a regular university, it’s likely that there will be a huge level of interest.