How Skipping Traditional College Can Help You Get Ahead

Private companies AT&T and Udacity are teaming up to create what may become the future of higher education by offering 6-12 month online courses to teach vocational programming skills.

What's the Latest?


Private companies AT&T and Udacity are teaming up to create what may become the future of higher education by offering 6-12 month online courses to teach vocational programming skills. Upon completion of the course, the companies will award a certificate called a "nano-degree", a name that is meant to emphasize the similarity to and difference from a traditional 4-year college degree. AT&T has said it will accept nano-degrees as a credential for entry-level jobs. Stanford professor and former Google engineer Sebastian Thrun said: "It’s a more focused education with less time wasted. They can get a degree quickly, get a job and then maybe do it again."

What's the Big Idea?

American higher education is badly in need of reform as tuition costs continue to balloon while the curricula fail to retain the flexibility demanded by the modern economy. The promises of first-generation online courses, which moved traditional subject lectures onto the Internet, has done little for those underserved by traditional higher education. "Instead, the evidence so far suggests that online education may do better in giving low-income students a leg up if it is directly tied to work. And companies, rather than colleges, may be best suited to shape the curriculum."

Read more at the New York Times

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Ideology drives us apart. Neuroscience can bring us back together.

A guide to making difficult conversations possible—and peaceful—in an increasingly polarized nation.

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  • How can we reach out to people on the other side of the divide? Get to know the other person as a human being before you get to know them as a set of tribal political beliefs, says Sarah Ruger. Don't launch straight into the difficult topics—connect on a more basic level first.
  • To bond, use icebreakers backed by neuroscience and psychology: Share a meal, watch some comedy, see awe-inspiring art, go on a tough hike together—sharing tribulation helps break down some of the mental barriers we have between us. Then, get down to talking, putting your humanity before your ideology.
  • The Charles Koch Foundation is committed to understanding what drives intolerance and the best ways to cure it. The foundation supports interdisciplinary research to overcome intolerance, new models for peaceful interactions, and experiments that can heal fractured communities. For more information, visit charleskochfoundation.org/courageous-collaborations.

How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
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Why a federal judge ordered White House to restore Jim Acosta's press badge

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WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 16: CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta (R) returns to the White House with CNN Washington bureau chief Sam Feist after Federal judge Timothy J. Kelly ordered the White House to reinstate his press pass November 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. CNN has filed a lawsuit against the White House after Acosta's press pass was revoked after a dispute involving a news conference last week. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Acosta will be allowed to return to the White House on Friday.
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