What if the world’s greatest thinkers and leading practitioners all taught at the same university? What if anyone, anywhere could enroll in this school? This fall Big Think is making this idea a reality with the launch of their new education initiative, The Floating University. This new education media venture will distribute online multimedia curricula featuring the best professors the world has to offer.
The Floating University’s first course, Great Big Ideas: An Entire Undergraduate Education While Standing On One Foot, will be used to teach courses at Harvard, Yale, and Bard this fall and will also be available to you, the general public online.
What’s the Significance?
Since their inception three centuries ago, Harvard and Yale will for the first time concurrently offer the same course. Instead of using traditional textbooks, a video lecture series will be implemented comprising the world’s greatest thinkers and leading scholars.
At Yale, 145 students have already registered for Great Big Ideas, for a class limited in size to 18 – making it the third most popular course on campus even before its first day of class. Based on the student feedback alone, the initiative is looking quite promising.
Great Big Ideas delivers an undergraduate liberal arts education in 12 weeks. It’s a survey of twelve major fields delivered by their most important thinkers and practitioners, including former Big Think guests Leon Botstein, Steven Pinker, Michio Kaku, Larry Summers, Doug Melton, Paul Bloom and many others.
Each lecture explores the key questions in the field. It is an effective introduction to thinking differently, and a primer in the diverse modes of problem solving essential for success in the 21st century. Big Think are aiming to challenging the basis of traditional models of education.
Great Big Ideas is just the first of what will be a vast library of Floating University courses, available to the general public to take along with other participating individuals and institutions. The Floating University is founded upon the belief that technology is and will continue to revolutionize the way in which people become educated.
“We presented each lecturer with a challenge,” said Peter Hopkins, Co-Founder of The Floating University and President of Big Think. ”’Tell us everything a non-professional needs to know about your subject in less than 60 minutes.’ As a result, our video lectures are highly focused, and rich in content, animation and graphics that make knowledge come alive. It is like reading a 600-page book in one hour.”
The thought of an entire undergraduate education being condensed into a single semester may seem unrealistic, but The Floating Universtity is making it an accessible reality to all.