The alternative university


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CROS is developing an alternative higher education model. In our view, the mission o education is to help people find happiness through the liberty of choosing what they want to learn and how they want to learn.

This presentation is about our mission and how we want to achieve it.

Published in: Education, Technology

The alternative university

  1. 1. Alternative University Pilot educational model
  2. 2. Alternative University Vision MISSION The mission of the Alternative university is to form people that are capable of living a happy and fullfiled life by discovering and growing their talent and passion. EDUCATION A happy person is one that found his element, the place where his talents meet his passions, someone that IDEAL learns and evolves autonomously throughout his life. Inner balance and self knowledge are as important as professional success and the role of active citizen in the comunity. Values Autonomy, reaching the human potential, colaboration and mastery are some of the values that this educational model is based upon. PRINCIPLES of the learning model of the Alternative University: • autonomy in learning - each person decides what, how much and how he learns; • personalisation - no predefined curricula; each person creates his own path; • learning is an organic and nonlinear process; • learning is a social and colaborative process; • when integrated with reality, learning acquires relevance and autenthic motivation; • the motivation for learning has to come from within.2
  3. 3. THEORETICAL FUNDAMENTS OFTHE “AU” MODELThe AU educational model is built on a humanist rigid hierarchies to more colaborative practices.filosophy base, having postmodernist fundamentsat its core. In our view, the mission of education is The AU learning theory is closer to the socialto help people find happiness through the liberty constructivism wich states that learning happensof choosing what they want to learn and how they while interacting with others, in rich socialwant to learn. environments. A theory that relates to this is the one of the communities of practice, this beingOne of the AU aims is the “search of the element” the model from wich UA started. (Lave & Wenger,- the place where someone’s talent meets his 1991;Wenger, 1998 ). Conectivism is an emergingpassion, thinking model proposed by Sir Ken theory found at the base of this alternativeRobinson (Robinson, 2009) learning model, developed by George Siemens and Stephen Downes in 2004 (Siemens, 2004; Siemens,The AU model adopts a student and learning based 2006). Acording to this theory, learning is notparadigm. A strong inspiration comes from “The necessarly found within us, but in the surroundinglearning paradigm”, a model proposed for the first environments, and learning consists in masteringtime in Change magazine in the year 1995 by the the way to find the right informational ties afteramericans Robert Barr and John Tagg. Acording to accessing the social networks. This is considered tothis model that was initially proposed as a method be the learning theory suitted for the digital ageto reform the american colleges, there has to be that we are living right now.a transition from the current paradigm - in wichhigher learning institutions “deliver instruction ” Self-directed learning is the AU educational(the instruction paradigm) to a paradigm in wich model’s central axis. The concept was defineduniversities exist to produce learning (the learning by Malcolm Knowles in 1975. Self-directed orparadigm). This transition implies structural autonomous learning is a complex process where achanges as: change of focus from entries (admitted person takes initiative, with or without the help ofstudents, proffesors, material and financial others, in order to establish his learning needs andresources) to exits (emphasizing on learning learning objectives, to identify learning resources,outcomes); the transition from fragmented to select and implement learning strategies and tolearning to a holistic one, built on the principle of evaluate learning outcomes (Knowles, 1975).learning experience flexibility;adopting a learning theory that promotesautonomy and self knowledge and going from The self-directed learning has it’s roots in a sistem of intrinsic motivations that has been explored in numerous scientific studies sintethised by Daniel Pink in his book Drive - The Surprising Truth Abou What Motivates Us (2009). The studies demonstrate that in the case of creative tasks and learning processes, the intrinsic motivations offer better results. In order to cultivate this intrinsic motivations, we need autonomy, mastery and high purpose. 3
  4. 4. AU EDUCATIONAL MODEL elements and structure Students’ development has three pillars - three different learning environments: 1. The real life practical experience that takes place in a project and in a students’ NGO is the 3. Each member of these communities is involved for one year in a program dedicated first element of the CROS model and its starting to self-directed learning, enhanced by a point. The Youth NGOs offer an experimental coaching program, a mentoring programe space and authentic motivation for growth. and workshops for networking and personal branding. The individual support received by 2. The communities of practices facilitated by CROS create a space for reflection, collaboration, every student gives structure and coherence to each learning journey and develops the networking and sharing of best practices. students’ capacity for self-directed and lifelong This space is created by sharing experience learning. workshops, an online platform, trainings and courses, social events and more. Qu Developing team & e how e Exp stion y s& Kn ow- acti c eri s en and n om ed s& es organizations Goo d pr ces Auto M as Ne leng al Res te Ch r y Youth Community ult Ne In YOU NGO tw of practice s f M trin ork o ot Ini rt iv sic tia e A ing cts ing at e Info & Th arn io purpos so tiv lut es & je n Higher L e ance ion Pro Resources & relev s ills sk Pa s sio ns At tit e CROS Alterantive Model ud dg wle e of Higher Education s K no The innovative model designed by CROS is implemented in partnership with 21 student and youth NGO’s in Bucharest. The communities of practices developed so far, HRemotion and New Media School, are dedicated to the outstanding young people from these organisations, passioned about HR and communication.4
  5. 5. LEARNING PROCESSESThe learning processes are designed in yearly cycles and distributed as shown in the calendar below: LEGEND Trainings (~11/year) Summer school(7 days) Workshops (~12/year) Experience sharing workshops (~28/year) HRemotion comunity Social events (~14/year) NewMedia School access to external opportunities comunity through partnerships, trainings and 5 confferences
  6. 6. VIRTUAL SOCIAL INDIVIDUAL SPACE COUNSELLING REAL INDIVIDUAL FOR MENTORING Mentoring is a professional relationship based SELF-DIRECTED on the fact that a more experienced professional LEARNING shows support, guidance and encouragement to Self-directed learning is the core feature of the a less experienced person in order to help the last educational model designed by CROS. During the one develop both his skills and character. Mentors first year in the communities of practice each new are remarkable professionals with at least 5 years member has a counselor who accompanies him in of experience in the field of Human Resources or the journey to self-directed learning. Being a self Communication. directed learner means being able to set your own development objectives, choosing appropriate PERMANENT WORKSHOP OF strategies for your own learning style, finding available resources, being able to competently use NETWORKING AND PERSONAL different techniques and methods of learning and BRANDING self-assessment. In our perspective, at the end of a young person’s training, he will have a portfolio of real projects COACHING and will be part of a professional network. To Coaching is a non-directive approach to support encourage networking and personal branding people in achieving personal and professional CROS offer to its community members a development, to meet their challenges and continuous workshop on this subject where we achieve performance. The program is supported invite experts, provide feedback, support and share by professional coaches who have gone through experiences. certified training programmes. SOCIAL SOCIAL SPACE VIRTUAL CROS CAMP – a systems and tools together. Topics are chosen REAL PERSONAL 7-day residential event. by participants and are scheduled in order to Each academic year provide insight for the following activities of the begins and ends at members’ organizations or solutions for challenges CROS Camp - a week encountered in real projects. At these meetings long summer school. we frequently invite business, HR and media This is a concentrated experience showing the practitioners who present case studies and are NewMediaSchool and HRemotion educational involved actively in the discussions. programmes “in a nutshell”. Its goal is to create a genuine atmosphere for the following year of the TRAININGS AND WORKSHOPS (~ 20 two communities by developing five attitudes: / year) networking, learning, playing, sharing experience Depending on the learning needs identified at and dreaming together. the beginning of the year, we invite experienced professionals in the business environment to EXPERIENCE SHARING facilitate learning sessions for our community members. The format of these sessions is adapted WORKSHOPS (~ 28 / year) to students’ learning objectives; the method can Within a year, the community members attend vary from workshop to lecture and the duration sharing meetings where they exchange best can vary from several hours to several days. practices, find answers to their questions, build6
  7. 7. COURSES (7/year) the sharing of resources and ideas throughFor a period of 2 to 4 months participants will conversations. The platform consists of a wiki,create a learning process for studying and solving collaborative documents, a discussion group, aa professional practical challenge. They are assisted network of blogs, a social system of indexation andby an expert (teacher) and a more experienced the connections formed on social networks likeNGO volunteer. The teacher’s role is a complex one, Facebook and Twitter.combining the roles of a facilitator, guide, expertor consultant. The learning process is tailored toeveryone’s level, taking into consideration both the LIBRARY AND THE “3 BOOKS Astudent and the organisation he belongs to. MONTH“ PROGRAM For at least two years now, CROS has beenINFORMAL MEETINGS, SOCIAL developing a library accessible to students and partners, containing both specialized booksEVENTS AND “THE GAME” (~15/an) (Human Resources and Communications) andThe close and genuine relations between the personal development books, in two formats:community members and the sense of belonging paper or electronic ( Kindle). The library has threewill create rich and authentic conversations, electronic devices for reading books (Kindle).feedback and mutual assistance among them. Each month members of the community makeFrom cooking and film evenings, board games proposals of books; we vote and we order theand going to the theater to workshops for creating favourite three. Books are lend to the community,Christmas gifts, we will make shared from one member to another. As a result,sure that there are plenty of opportunities of being those who read a book write articles on theirtogether. blogs. The purpose of this programme is toFor this reason we initiated “The Game” - a social initiate conversations and to develop a “commongame where students gain points as they meet language” within the communities.various challenges designed to facilitate close andgenuine relations between students. ACCES TO EXTERNALONLINE PLATFORM FOR OPPORTUNITIES By developing our partnerships we facilitateCOMMUNICATION AND students’ access to learning opportunities outsideCOLABORATION the CROS communities: conferences, courses,Interaction and cooperation in the real world trainings, competitions and projects, internships,is continued in the virtual one. The community etc..members use an online platform that facilitates THE “AU” MODEL BEYOND STUDENT ORGANIZATIONSIn the ongoing pilot phase, the model works by having as starting point the volunteering experience in a student or youth organization. Its architecture allows the replacement of volunteering in NGOS or youth NGOs with any relevant practical experience for the students’ level and for their learning objectives. Starting with this academic year (2011-2012) we opened the communities of practice for other young people interested in their professional development. CURRICULA There is no fixed curricula or timetable in the alternative model created by CROS. Our student-centered educational model is based on the idea of self-directed learning, alowing each student to build his own learning path. It is a nonlinear path, as each one discovers himself and the world around him. The role of curriculum designer turns into the one of architect of the learning environment which ensures that the learning environment is sufficiently rich in resources and experiences in order to help students build an optimal route. 7
  8. 8. RAMONA IOANA LACATUȘ Coach She graduated the Faculty of RESOURCES International Relations at the Academy of Economic Studies, has more than 9 years of professional experience in the private field and she is also alumna AIESEC Bucharest. She started her career as coach at the age of 22, with a total that exceeds 4000 hours of one-on-one coaching. She has specific coaching PEOPLE qualifications achieved in US and the UK and since 2008, The most important roles in the model she is running her own coaching company. (My Life Coach) are listed below. Numbers in parentheses DIANA ROSETKA represent the specific number during the Human Resources Mentor academic year 2011-2012. Diana Rosetka graduated the Faculty of Linguistics at the University of • student (116) Bucharest (Romanian-Dutch section) • coach (30) and for four years she has been teaching there. Subsequently, she • mentor (26) gained over 10 years of experience in • trainer (25) the private field (customer relations, sales, training and management). She • 2.0 training’s teacher (14) is now general manager of Achieve Global, a multinational • facilitator - sharing workshops (12) company of training and consulting. • learning architect (8) • self-directed learning consultant (38) • organizer (ex. trainings, social events, “3 CHRISTIAN SCHOLTES Teacher Trainings 2.0 - Team Management cărţi pe lună”) (10) He has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology at • expert / resource person (~40) the Babes-Bolay University of Cluj-Napoca and has over 10 years experience in the • investigator/researcher/curator of area of consulting in Human Resources, learning resources(~6) both at a national and regional level (Austria, Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria, Moldavia, Serbia). He has numerous national and The roles within communities are dynamic and are international qualifications in areas such as training, change assumed according to the context. An experienced management and human resources infrastructure. He is co- professional can be a mentor in the Mentoring owner of the company HRMS. Program, a trainer or a resource person during the SILVIA PUREL sharing meetings. Some of the sharing meetings Self-directed Learning Consultant are facilitated by project team members while She has a bachelor’s degree in others are facilitated by “the second year students” psychology at the University of from the communities. The second or third year Bucharest and she is Alumna of the Association of Psychology Students. students assume for themselves the role of trainer She was a former student in the or organizer. The role of consultant for self- first program of the community of directed learning is undertaken by project team practices HRemotion (2008) and currently coordinates the Coaching members and students of the second and third and Mentoring Processes of the educational model. year that have gone through an internal training programme. The role of coach is for professional coaches - certified, with experience in life and HORAŢIU TICĂU business coaching. New Media School Student He is in his second year of the Faculty of Management at the Academy of Economic Studies. He is member of BOS (Business Organization for Students) and since 2010 he is part of New Media School Programme.8
  9. 9. ORGANIZATIONALINFRASTRUCTURECROS - The Resource Center of Student INFORMATION ANDOrganizations is the organization that started theUA model and develops it since April 2008. All the COMUNICATIONactivities of the two communities of practice are INFRASTRUCTUREcoordinated by a team of 11 people, members • CROS has developed a communication andof CROS. CROS members have backgrounds as management system, consisting of somevolunteers in student organizations and are all online tools integrated in order to have apassionate about education. better performance; The result is an online platform of communication and collaboration;Several important ROLES of the project team • Library of resources both in electronic andmembers of CROS: physical shape. • Team coordinator • Sharing meetings coordinator • Training and 2.0 Courses Coordinator FINANCIAL RESOURCES • Coordinator Mentoring Program/Coaching/ • partnerships with companies (Ex. Unilever Self Directed Learning SCE, Coca Cola HBC) • Facilitator for Sharing meetings • national and European grants (ANST, Youth in • Graphic Designer Action) • Fundraiser • grants from private organizations (Dinu • Communication Responsible Patriciu Foundation) • Donations (2% Campaign)SPACES PARTNERS • Learning House (560 sqm + 600sqm garden); The CROS alternative model is put in practice • Media Lab - approx. 200sqm space in the together with 21 of the most active student National Museum of Contemporary Art. It is organizations in Romania and 5 multinational equipped with graphic station, special photo companies. The model is designed and and video cameras, lightings, photo making implemented with the support of the Institute backgrounds, etc for Training and Occupational Learning and • Partnerships for using other spaces with: the of two prestigious companies for business students’organizations involved, Achieve education: Achieve Global and Human Invest. Global, JTI, Romanian American Foundation, CROS model’s main financer is DinuPatriciu Students’ House of Culture, etc Foundation, which provided a grant for the 2010-2011 academic year, for the HRemotion Community. We also benefit from the involvementTECHNICAL EQUIPMENT of proeminent representatives of professional • photo/video equipment in the Media Lab- coaching communities, human resources and MNAC; communication. • 3 Kindle (Electronic Book readers) and 2 iPads for “3 books A month” program. 9
  10. 10. ACCREDITATION institutes with international reputation such as ITOL (Institute for Training and Organizational Learning), CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) or communities of professionals The appropriate ways of getting certification, from Romania as HR Club or International concerning the learning outcomes achieved under Advertising Association. the alternative model which we consider would integrate naturally in this model are: EQUIVALENCE OF NON-FORMAL PROFESSIONAL PORTFOLIO EDUCATION WITH ECTS CREDITS By engaging in learning activities facilitated by The European Credit Transfer and Accumulation this model, students build and customize in a System philosophy promotes the quantification of natural way a professional portfolio. Elements of learning experiences based on learning outcomes. the portfolio: building a personal and professional This system can recognize the alternative learning brand, having a network of professionals, a gallery experiences of the traditional higher education, of accumulated work experiences and the products making them comparable and compatible for that prove their commitment. building a flexible learning path for a student. There is allready a legal provision in the new education law for accreditation centers for the CERTIFICATIONS AWARDED BY certification of prior learning obtained in non- PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS formal and informal settings and we will be among from the student’s interest field. Certification the first to make use of this. will be offered by the end of a customized evaluation process based on the professional portfolio. Thus, we can speak of professional “AU” MODEL IN PRESENT AND PERSPECTIVES OF FUTURE GROWTH In the 2010-2011 academic year we are going to complete the pilot phase of all components of the model previously presented. In 2011-2012 • we will strengthen the alternative model and its components for HRemotion and New Media School; • create the Learning House - a physical space for all our learning activities; • start the third community dedicated to leadership, management and entrepreneurship; In 2012-2013 • we will announce the Alternative University and launch the website; • we will have the “first student 100% alternative” ; • the first “graduate” of the communities of practice which gets formal recognition for his competences;10
  11. 11. FINANCING SOURCESThe expenses for a year of study at the Alternative University will be between 1500 and 2000 euros perstudent for a volume of approximately 200 students. Funding will be hybrid, having 4 main sources: • student fees: ~25% [currently ~10%] • Business Services (recruitment, employer branding, employee training and involvement): ~25% [currently ~45%] • individual donations, public and private grants, corporate social responsibility: ~25% [currently ~40%] • social businesses: ~25% [currently ~5%]“AU” IN THE UNIVERSITY SYSTEMThe Alternative University will be a small institution (less than 1000 students), focusing mainly onlearning, having a strong component of personal development. The target audience are young peoplewith a high degree of autonomy that do not want to choose a fixed specialization fixed, preferringinstead to seek their way in life in an autonomous, nonlinear and interdisciplinary model. The first areascovered are: human resources, communication, graphic design, management and leadership, education.Although relatively insignificant concerning the size, the University will be a significantalternative because it will set a standard in regard to: • focus on student autonomy, flexibility and customization • practical experience and connection with the socio-economic environment • the integration of both personal and professional developmentThinking about an optimistic scenario, other universities, convinced of the attractiveness of thealternative model and of the fact that it has been already implemented in Romania, will become moreinnovative and their learning methods, more flexible, more student-centered, more concerned on thefull development of young people and also more open to practical experiences and to the externalenvironment. 11
  12. 12. ANNEX - SELECTIVE REFERENCES • Ackoff, Russell L.; Greenberg, Daniel. (2008). Turning Learning Right Side Up. Putting Education Back on Track. New Jersey: Pearson Education Inc. • Barr, R. B. & Tagg, J. (1995, November/December). From teaching to learning: A new paradigm for undergraduate education. Change, 27, 12-25. (accesat online la, în data de 5 mai 2009); • Brătianu, Constantin. (2002). Paradigmele managementului universitar. Bucureşti: Editura Economică. • Clark, R. Burton. (2008). On Higher Education. Selected Writings, 1956-2006. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press. • Cross, Jay. (2007). Informal Learning. Rediscovering the Natural Pathways That Inspire INNOVATION and PERFORMANCE. San Francisco: Pfeiffer. • Hagel III, John; Brown Sheely, John; Davison, Lang. (2010). The Power of Pull. How Small Moves, Smartly Made, Can Set Big Things in Motion. New York: Basic Books. • Hammer, Michael; Champy, James. (2003). Reengineering the Corporation. A Manifesto For Business Revolution. New York: Harper Business Essentials. • Kamenentz, Anya. (2009). DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education. Vermont: Chelsea Green Publishing. • Knowles, Malcolm Shepherd. (1975). Self-directed learning: a guide for learners and teachers. New York: Association Press. • Kuhn, Thomas S. [1962](2008). Structura revoluţiilor ştiinţifice. Bucureşti: Ed. Humanitas. • Lave, Jean; Wenger, Etienne. (1991). Situated learning. Legitimate peripheral participation. New York: Cambridge University Press. • Pink, Daniel H. (2009). Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. USA: Penguin Group. • Robinson, Sir Ken. (2009). The Element - How finding your passion changes everything. New York: Penguin Publishing. • Robinson, Sir Ken. (2010). Changing Education Paradigms. uk/2010/10/14/rsa-animate-changing-education-paradigms/, accesată pe 14.10.2010) • Siemens, George (2004). Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age. Accesat online la http://, în data de 29 ianuarie 2010). • Siemens, George. (2006). Knowing Knowledge. Creative Commons Licence. Accesat • online la în data de 10 iunie 2009. • Stănciulescu, Elisabeta. (2002). Despre tranziţie şi universitate. Iaşi: Polirom. • Vlăsceanu, Lazăr. (2007). Sociologie şi modernitate. Tranziţii spre modernitatea reflexivă. Iaşi: Editura Polirom. • Wenger, Etienne. (1998). Communities of practice. Learning, meaning and identity. New York: Cambridge University Press. • Wenger, Etienne; McDermott, Richard; Snyder, William. (2002). Cultivating communities of practice. A guide to managing knowledge. Harvard Business School Press. • www.connectivism.ca12