Educational startup Minerva. Is the future already here? 

Educational startup Minerva. Is the future already here? 

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Minerva, a Silicon Valley startup, is successfully managing education amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Minerva alumni are recruited by top companies: Google, Twitter, Uber, and Razor Labs. Perhaps Minerva's particular teaching model will replace classical education.

Minerva University was founded in 2012. In 2020, it was flooded with 25,000 applications for admission to undergraduate courses from 180 countries. Only 2% of applicants we admitted.

Minerva does not have lectures or exams, and teaching takes place in the format of online video classes, in which students are required to actively contribute. In the first year of study, the course is generic for all students with a common syllabus. They do not study specific disciplines, such as mathematics or history, but develop critical thinking, and problem solving ability. The subject specializations are chosen in the second year. The freshman dormitory is located in San Francisco, with students of subsequent years spending semesters variously in London, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Seoul, Taipei and Hyderabad.

The main advantage of Minerva is its practical teaching style. Students do not just listen to the lecturer, but actively discuss new knowledge. At Minerva, professors do not speak in class for more than a just few minutes, the rest of the time is spent in group discussion.

However, such a training system has its own inherent limitations and vulnerabilities. First, the university does not have a campus in the traditional sense. In the eyes of some students, the lack of lecture halls, communities, sports teams will be a significant disadvantage for the university. However, Minerva also provides students with a priceless experience - living in different countries of the world.

The second cause for anxiety is how secure and confidential is personal data of students. During class, special equipment is recording how actively the student participates in the discussions, and also when he has logged in and logged out of the system. This information is available to university staff, and can be misused. For many students, handing such total control is troublesome and may cause their concentration on learning to waver.

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