Kindred spirits in Germany
Kiron University is being established in Germany (and in the cloud) as a place for refugees to continue their education while applying for a sylum. It uses MOOCs in a blended learning model that sounds a lot like Cloud to Ground Learning:
“For the first two years, our students can choose courses out of the whole universe of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), the number one trend in (online-) education of the last decade. Those world-class courses of universities like Harvard, MIT, Stanford or Yale are already freely accessible to everyone in the cloud. Put simple, we take these open source online courses, modify them with the latest e-learning technology like our smart note taking tool Nibster and design elegant study programs with real-life working sessions, projects in teamwork, mentoring, student support and modern, fun ways of learning and testing out of it. All of this is done with the careful supervision of our partner universities as well as experienced professors, experts in education and established educational institutions.”
After two years, the students are to transfer to universities in “Europe, the Near East, West Africa, the US, and Canada” for a last year of study (it’s on the European model of a three year bachelor’s degree). Markus Kressler, the 25-year-old cofounder, tells NPR, “”Basically, everyone can already log into these courses,” Kressler says. “What we do is we just take these courses, bundle them into degree programs and make cooperation with real universities so that they also recognize these courses in order to really get a degree in the end.”
There’s a good deal of wishful thinking in that statement and others on the Kiron website, yet the core concept seems very clever. Offering students a supported MOOC learning experience does give them potential to pursue education while their legal status is in limbo. That’s a win for the individuals, for the society where they’re being warehoused, and for the society they will eventually join.