The Minerva Project, an airy-sounding venture in San Francisco aiming to create an elite university for the 21st century, just poached a top academic from Stanford University. The company made a splash last year for attracting $25 million in venture capital and vowing to transform global higher education. Now it’s going to need to raise more money, develop software, hire professors and recruit enough students to open its doors by fall 2015.
Except Minerva’s doors won’t open to anything resembling a traditional university: the for-profit startup expects top students will fly across the world to sit in front of computers. Professors could be located anywhere in the world. Now, Minerva will need to make good on its promise to attract some of the world's most qualified students based on an unproven idea that relies on unfinished software.
The company wants to be a “hybrid university.” Its students would gather in dorms in major cities across the world, and after spending time together in one city, move to another, but take online classes from Minerva professors on the other end of the screen.
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