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Rethinking Higher Education

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What's the Big Idea?

"Why does Harvard teach French?" That's how education innovator Adam Glick began his talk at The Nantucket Project, a festival of ideas held on Nantucket, Massachusetts this month.

As tuition costs continue to skyrocket, parents and students are demanding answers to this question: what am I getting as the return on my $50 thousand annual investment that is college tuition today? There are already cheaper alternatives. A new online course that is currently being offered at Harvard, Yale and Bard is threatening to disrupt higher education as we know it.

Watch Adam Glick describe it here:

What's the Significance?

Glick, along with Big Think, launched The Floating University, a new educational media venture that creates and distributes online multimedia curricula featuring the best experts, scholars and professionals that the world has to offer. 

The Floating University's first course, Great Big Ideas: An Entire Undergraduate Education While Standing On One Foot, is being used to teach courses at Harvard, Yale, and Bard this fall and is also available to the general public. This is the first time in more than three centuries that Harvard and Yale are concurrently offering the same course. Students have responded. At Yale, 145 students 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. (Intro Economics and Intro Psychology are #1 and #2).

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.

Watch a sampling of Great Big Ideas here:

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 revolutionize the way that people become educated. As a longstanding nexus for thought leadership, it is a only natural progression for Big Think to lend its hand in the democratization of education.

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