Home > Uncategorized > Two NYTimes Articles Linked: “Pods” in Hastings-on-Hudson and On-line Colleges

Two NYTimes Articles Linked: “Pods” in Hastings-on-Hudson and On-line Colleges

August 2, 2020

A week or so ago I wrote an op ed on the dilemma posed by the emergence of “pandemic pods”, a concept that has gotten widespread media coverage over the past few weeks. Today’s NYTimes is a case in point, featuring an article by David Zweig describing how the phenomenon is playing out in Hastings-on-Hudson, an upscale suburban NYC community.

Today’s NYTimes also featured an op ed piece by Frank Bruni describing Minerva University, an online enterprise that has no campus but instead houses students in communal housing arrangements in cities around the world. Here’s a brief description drawn from two paragraphs of the article:

(Natalie) Kanter and her roughly 105 classmates spent their first two semesters in San Francisco, where Minerva’s bare-bones administration is, before migrating for one semester each to Berlin, Buenos Aires, Seoul, Hyderabad (India), London and then San Francisco again. Minerva has a footprint — well, more a toe dimple — in each of those places plus Taipei, Taiwan.

It’s defined not by physical structures but by a proprietary, highly interactive digital platform that professors use for their seminars. The seminars are capped at 20 students (but are usually smaller) and emphasize participation to a point where the platform — a far cry from Zoom — shows a professor how long he or she has been droning on.

It isn’t hard to see how the emerging “pods” could accomplish the same thing… but instead of going from home-to-home in, say, Hastings-on-Hudson the pods could go from Hastings-on-Hudson to Yonkers, to the Bronx, and maybe even another state… or they could go from Hastings-on-Hudson to a small town in the Alabama, to Appalachia, and Albuquerque…. because multi-cultural experiences don’t require international travel… and maybe if more kids understood how their peers in other parts of the country live and think we could become the UNITED States of America.

The article is worth a read… but anyone who has spent any time reading about online learning can probably extrapolate the way the school works… and why experiential education is more valuable than the traditional college program on the traditional college campus.

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