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New online course format at Minerva Schools

The first batch of the Minerva Schools at KGI, an initiative of the Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) and San Francisco-based Minerva Project, would matriculate in the fall of 2015

M Saraswathy  |  Mumbai 

The Minerva Schools at KGI, an online undergraduate institute, is planning a centre here, where students can spend a part of their four-year study period. The school would have an online programme, with live lectures. Students from different centres across the world would have access to these programmes.

The the founding class of Minerva Schools at KGI, an initiative of the Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) and San Francisco-based Minerva Project, begins in Fall 2014 and the first full class will matriculate in the Fall of 2015. Students participating in the Minerva Schools' undergraduate programme will reside in major cosmopolitan cities across the world and take part in intensive online seminars using a video learning platform.

KGI is a member of the Claremont University consortium. In July 2013, it had announced it would launch the Minerva Schools at KGI.

Robin Goldberg, chief marketing officer, the Minerva Project said, "Unlike other online courses where students log in from home and take classes at leisure, this programme will have a batch of students in each of our centres, taking classes with other students across the world. This will be done through an online platform developed by us. We will ensure not more than 19 students are there at a time with the faculty."

The Minerva Schools at KGI is awaiting approval from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), one of six regional associations that accredit public and private schools, colleges, and universities in the US. Goldberg added the institute expected to secure the accreditation soon.

In the first year of the foundation school, all students would travel to San Francisco. The institute would have 15-25 students in its first batch. For this batch, the tuition fee would be waived through the four-year undergraduate programme. The institute plans to have centres in Rio, Berlin, Shanghai and Mumbai. The format of each class would be discussion-based and it would have a seminar-like approach. Goldberg said the emphasis would be on interdisciplinary education.

In 2015, students of the first batch would work with Minerva to expand its presence across the world. This, said Goldberg, would be a one-year paid internship programme for these students. These students would join other members of the foundation batch (of 2015) in the second year of the programme in 2016.

The Minerva Schools at KGI comprises two schools: the School of Arts & Sciences and the School of Business.

The second batch would have to pay a tuition fee of $10,000 a year. This, Goldberg said, was about 25 per cent of the tuition fee at other selective, private American universities. The institute plans to have 200-300 students in the batch of 2015.

Vibha Kagzi, the school's managing director for India, said Indian students would have an advantage, as they would get a chance to travel to different countries. She added the school didn't require students to take SAT, a standardised test for admission into most colleges in the US. Admissions would be on the basis of academic performance in the 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th standards.

Apart from the full-time faculty, the institute also plans to have special faculty from institutes across the world, including India. Goldberg said these special faculty members would have to get their curriculum approved from the Minerva headquarters.

"The Minerva Schools' unique model allows us to control costs, while investing heavily in curriculum development and student and faculty services. As a result, we have an unprecedented opportunity to offer this exceptional undergraduate educational experience to any student who meets the school's high admission standards. We are looking forward to making education of this quality accessible to a broad, global student population," Sheldon Schuster, president, KGI, said in a media statement.

The Minerva Institute for Research and Scholarship, a non-profit organisation, would administer scholarships and student loans for all Minerva students. Scholarships would be based on financial need or the criteria established by donors. The Minerva Institute would also work to make financing available to ensure all students have access to low-interest loans.

The school is also developing internal case studies for students. It is setting up regional teams across the world to enable easy exchange for ideas and managing students locally.

First Published: Wed, October 23 2013. 21:39 IST
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