Higher education is constantly under examination and evaluation. But what does the future of higher education look like? Possibly Minerva Schools in San Francisco, Calif.

Minerva is re-thinking every aspect of higher education. The school has no lectures, no labs, no football teams, and no buildings. Everything is online, and everything is taught with the future in mind. Professors have a time limit for talking, and students can’t hide in the last row of the classroom because they have to participate. Minerva has even developed a proprietary software program that tracks which students have spoken in a given session and which have not. Everyone must participate and be prepared to defend their positions.

The model is being looked at as innovative on one hand or too much too fast on the other. Whatever your view, Minerva’s proponents say they are trying to address pain points in higher education.

“Most institutions of higher education don't prepare students for succeeding in life after college, both professionally and personally,” said Dr. Stephen Kosslyn, Dean of Arts and Sciences. “We focused on something we're calling ‘practical knowledge,’ which is knowledge that's designed to be useful to students after they graduate.”

We know the jobs of the future have not been created yet. Technology entrepreneur Ben Nelson who founded Minerva Schools believes his school will prepare students for these jobs by teaching skills as opposed to book knowledge. Minerva does not consider itself to be an online institution because students live together and travel abroad together.

“The reason for this is we think the world is increasingly flat, that to be successful in the 21st century one has to have an international orientation. There's no better way to get such an orientation than by living different cultures and living with students who are from different cultures,” said Kosslyn.

We examined Minerva Schools in our inaugural episode of Upgraded by Hobsons, a monthly podcast on education and student success. Listen to an excerpt here:

What do you think the future of #highered should look like? Share your ideas by tweeting us @Hobsons using #UpgradedbyHobsons, or by emailing upgraded@hobsons.com

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