Saylor Foundation Seeks to Make Higher Education Free
Think about it: if there were no impediments to higher education, wouldn’t more people seek out a university education? Millions of people around the world are denied post-secondary education, simply because they do not have the means to attend college. Some of the brightest minds in the world are not being utilized, perhaps adversely impacting our world.
Well, the Saylor Foundation aims to make higher education much more accessible by bringing together hundreds of college-levels courses and offering these for free to interested students. Courses in general education, chemistry, biology, business administration, mechanical engineering, communications and other subject areas are available, numbering 267 at this writing.
The foundation was established by Michael j. Saylor, founder and CEO of MicroStrategy, a so-called “business intelligence” firm that has netted Saylor his riches. Saylor is the non-profit foundation’s sole trustee, one that was formed to make education free. Technological advances have made digital access to education more efficient and provides a robust platform for open education. Open education means free education, something students can get by signing up for courses online and completing same. Though no degrees are currently awarded, Saylor Foundation students receive a “certificate of completion” for each finished course.
The Saylor Foundation works with credential professors, individuals hired to create course outlines or blueprints, and to find open educational resource materials for use. OER content is also created in-house and copyrighted materials are linked to as well. The foundation also acts as an aggregator, by including courses from Open Yale and Khan Academy too.
Prospective students do not need to apply to Saylor to take courses. Instead, courses can be freely accessed on the web site. If you want to track your progress, you have the option of filling out an ePortfolio where the Saylor system makes it possible for you to register for courses and keep record of your classes. Introductory paragraphs with each program describe the requirements; students are given a sequential order to follow to complete their units.
Saylor courses are taught in English and are available to a global audience. There is no start or end date for classes with students allowed to set their own pace. Additional undergraduate classes are being added with the foundation planning to expand to primary, secondary and post-graduate studies down the line.
Michael Saylor himself is no fan of traditional face-to-face teaching, finding such methods archaic while mobile teaching, particularly via a tablet, is much more efficient and cost effective reports Alisha Azevedo, writing for the Chronicle of Higher Education. Just how deep Saylor and his foundation will impact education has yet to be grasped. But, with a desire to make a change and the funds to back it up, the Saylor foundation may revolutionize education beyond our wildest dreams.