Posted by: crudbasher | August 30, 2012

A Model For A Future University?

Singularity University is a different kind of place. Whereas most universities focus on instruction followed sometimes by small projects, Singularity University turns that model on it’s head. They start off with small project groups who pick a topic. Then they get support by the faculty and industry connections to learn what they need to solve the problem. It’s all practically driven and focused on results. I also note that their president talks about partnerships with other online tools such as Corsera. As I have been predicting, the various functions of universities are being split up and repackaged in new forms.

I do firmly believe that whatever shape a university takes in the future, it will have to move out of strictly academia and more into the real world. Partly this is because with the Internet, students are immersed in the world like no generation before. Consider the life of a person in the 1950s. They woke up and read the paper. The news in the paper was hours old and very limited. They went to work and perhaps they had a radio at work but overall they were very cut off from the world. After coming home they maybe watched some TV if they had one. More likely they listed to the radio for the news. The day was divided into distinct phases. Today, people are constantly connected with phones to each other. Students jump rapidly from one task to another and their world view shifts from the conversation they are having with a person in the same room, to a person on the other side of the country.

This sort of person just won’t do well in a setting in which they are forced to sit in a classroom for an hour listening to a teacher lecture about some abstract topic, which is not interesting or relevant and only merits enough attention to pass the test.

This article talks about the expansion Singularity University is undergoing.

  • Robot Professors Come With Singularity University’s Massive Upgrade | Wired Business |

    lab driven learning

    tags: education singularity university learning2.0 nell

    • For four years, Singularity University has deployed “exponentially advancing technologies” to address humanity’s biggest problems. Now the elite Silicon Valley school is planning to exponentially advance itself, transforming from a provider of short supplemental classes into a sort of innovation pipeline, with a rich website and conference series on one end, an expanding array of classes in the middle, and at the other end incubation labs for startups and corporate skunkworks teams, as well as a strong global alumni network.
    • “It’s about doing something in the world,” Nail says. “It’s about actually making an impact.”
    • Singularity University will become one influential model for how higher education can evolve as formalized learning enters a period of rapid change. At a time when many startups are pushing a more distributed, internet-centric style of education, Nail and Singularity University seem to be moving toward a hybrid approach that actually expands the physical component of schooling, adding collaborative startup offices and live events, even as the university works to build a content-rich internet platform and a powerful online community of alumni.
    • Key to Nail’s plan is a warren of nearly two dozen offices recently added to Singularity University’s campus at NASA Ames, which, taken together with some classroom-style spaces and laboratories, Nail has dubbed Singularity Labs.
    • Singularity Labs will help smooth the transition from project to startup by offering mentorship, workshops and some seed funding to ex-students. Nail also sees Singularity Labs addressing a neglected set of problems.
    • Nail is also looking to the internet to expand the university’s reach. After experimenting with putting some class videos online – “nobody’s going to watch an hour lecture,” Nail says – the university decided to get more ambitious. The goal now is to build an interactive site that that can take some elements of the Singularity U curriculum to a wider audience, possibly in partnership with Udacity or some other online education venture. Nail also plans another site that would publish
      writings from faculty, pointers to items of interest to the Singularity University diaspora, relevant video and audio – “a forum for all the cool things that we see in the world,” as Nail puts it.
    • After a faculty meeting earlier this month, the university is planning to experiment with what could fairly be described as a robot professor.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.



  1. […] Singularity University is a different kind of place. Whereas most universities focus on instruction followed sometimes by small projects, Singularity University turns that model on it’s head. They start off with small project groups who pick a topic.  […]

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