THE BIG IDEA
As part of my for-profit, make-a-living activities, I have been involved in developing a global experiential education city (www.intlcampus.com pw:turnkey). Over the past few years, the project has grown both in scale and in ambition. Its generation looks something like this:
You have probably noticed echoes of this journey in my blog, via ruminations on the multi-directional campus, flipped campus, experiential study abroad, etc. Two years of hard work later, I am more excited about this project than ever. Our global experiential education city will host branch campuses of universities from (almost) every continent. On our experiential campus, international students will work together on industry projects, curated based on their coursework, and led by industry professionals in structured co-working environments (think MIT Media Lab). Unlike at all other branch campuses, the universities will deliver their academic classes online. This way, universities can offer students both in-house academics and experiential abroad, without the usual costs of faculty relocation and remote campus operations. Our education city is blended by design, from the ground up.
At the recent ASU+GSV Education Summit, talks often veered to “What does the future of ed look like? What if we could build ground up? What if we could keep the parts that work and unload the legacy inefficiencies?” In the real world, however, universities rarely have the luxury to think in context of 5-10 years ahead, because the day-to-day reality (lack of faculty buy-in, complex online/on-campus integration, status quos) only allows for incremental changes and improvements.
We are hoping to change this day-to-day reality. At our global experiential education city (GEEC), we are offering universities around the world the opportunity to activate the future, today. What does this mean?
JOHN’S DAY AT INTL CAMPUS GEEC
John is a Miami University of London(hypothetical) student studying at Miami University of London @ INTL Campus GEEC.
7:30am – John starts his day in a student apartment on a beautiful university campus in a beautiful part of the world.
8:00am – John logs into his Miami University of London online account to take his Marketing 213: Brand Management class.
9:30am – John heads to the Arts & Education Building to work on his Experiential Marketing Industry Project
10:00am – John works on a team with Svein from Norway (a communications major taking a PR class from his university in Norway) and Liú from China (a finance major taking his marketing 101 class from his university in China). Together they develop a social media strategy for a local restaurant. Tomas, the on campus Project Mentor and Manager, who has 10 years of experience at a digital marketing agency, oversees the project, helps the team develop next steps, and directs the students to take an online workshop on using Hootsuite.
1:30pm – John, Liú, and Svein grab lunch at the on-campus café.
3:00pm – John is back at his apartment taking Marketing 229: Strategic Design.
4:30pm – John completes the online Hootsuite workshop.
6:00pm – John and his roommate José from Mexico go to the sports center for an intramural basketball game.
7:30pm – John and José meet their neighbors Mireia from Argentina and Amrita from India for dinner in the town’s medieval center.
9:30pm – John is back at his apartment completing some class assignments.
At first glance, none of these activities seem out-of-place. It could be a typical day for a college student. However, John’s experience DOES NOT currently exist on any campus in the world.
The three ingredients required for this student experience are BLENDED, EXPERIENTIAL, and GLOBAL. A blended campus, where a student can live and take classes online, does not exist. A campus that offers each student experiential projects, curated based on the student’s coursework and led by industry professionals, does not exist. A campus with a global, internationally-balanced and integrated student body does not exist.
John’s day should not be an unreachable ideal. John’s day should be a commonplace standard for millions of college students.
The INTLCampus GEEC offers John’s Day to the world of higher education. What is so exciting about John’s student experience is not only that it is possible, but that it is a lower cost model for Miami University of London.
Removing the Barriers to Success
We have studied the “hundreds” of branch campus experiments and experiences around the world. Though we were very excited about the global branch campus concept, we were surprised to find that very few could be qualified as major successes. So, we dug deeper into the problems these programs faced: was it timing, operations, or finances that stood in the way of success? Often, it was the combination of all three. In responding to these “complications”, we built our entire business model around solving the pain points associated with many of these branch campuses.
We were able to come up with something that makes global expansion and internationalization not only very exciting, but highly profitable. Universities can offer a branded global campus and a broad range of classes and degrees abroad without spending any resources on remote faculty or campus operations.
The key disruptive innovations at GEEC are campus-as-a-service and experiential projects-as-a-service. Here is how we do it:
What is a Global Blended Campus?
A university-branded campus offering online courses from the home campus and on-site experiential projects.
A global blended campus allows the university to globally leverage its investment in online education. It is an ideal way for the university to offer an international education and an experiential education, while still delivering its in-house, branded academic excellence (online). THIS IS HUGE!!! The GEEC is a vehicle for global marketing and delivery of higher education. AND IT’S SO MUCH MORE. It offers students a premium on-campus experience. BUT, IT’S SO MUCH MORE. It offers students maximum industry engagement, project experience, and real-world skills development.
IDEALIZED EDUCATION OF THE FUTURE REALIZED = Academic+Experiential+Social+Global.
Industry projects are insourced to campus and are managed in exciting “MIT Media Lab”-type co-working spaces (yes, there will be ping-pong tables). The projects are managed by on-site industry professionals, managers and mentors. They are supplemented by targeted workshops on general skills (project management, organization, communication, leadership, teamwork) and targeted skills (data science, social media, etc.) Projects are curated per student, based on the student’s current coursework – thus, students are able to practically apply academic learning in real-time. This allows for students to build their resumés + LinkedIn profiles. GEEC develops exponentially more employable graduates.
The Experiential Lightness of Being
We are providing universities the lightest possible global expansion solution without the usual compromises. Universities are able to offer a campus environment, assuring student security, quality-of-life, and premium amenities. Universities are able to offer the breadth of their faculty and curriculum, providing the academic choice, quality, and consistency they are known for. Universities are able to offer experiential industry projects in a structured environment, giving their students an opportunity to learn by doing and dramatically boosting graduate employment. This is all done with such a light cost-structure: no capital projects or debt are required (no large capital outlays for the board to approve), no complex international operations and logistics, no international movement of faculty, no increase in real estate liabilities. These programs should be profitable from DAY ONE.
We think that the classic American-style campus has a lot going for it and share the vision of a campus as a safe haven for structured academic and social growth–the key words being safe, structured, and social.
Our goal is to offer a place where students live together, learn together, do projects together, play sports together (which sounds just like at an American college), but with MUCH MUCH MUCH HIGHER rates of engagement. The goal is to build educational communities that encourage intense focus and concentration while maximizing the students’ social engagement. It’s a structured and safe place for 18/19/20/21-year-olds to learn, grow, create, and experience. An American-style university campus is an ideal venue for this type of experience. There simply is no comparable alternative.
A Global Student Body At A Multi-Directional Campus
The classic problem that international programs face is the level of local engagement. Are the kids spending too much time with their compatriots? Is the local population engagement-friendly?
Our solution is to go global. At the INTLCampus GEEC, we will actively mix students from all over the world – in their living, social, and working environments. Students will be a part of a global community in their dorms, at their projects, and on the sports fields. A more international student body creates a diverse atmosphere—campus is freed from cultural peer pressure. Students learn cultural sensitivity and cross-cultural communication daily. At the same time, the benefits of local engagement are built into the model by the very nature of the campus location and local portion of the student body. The INTLCampus GEEC offers bike path access to a local idyllic college town that is a center for world culture, history and architecture.
On-campus programs can range from blended full-degree, to experiential semesters abroad, to pathways, short programs, summer programs, etc. Universities are able to use the campus for their home campus students, as well as global students (and global recruiting). This means that students are coming and going, from different continents and to different continents. This will have a dynamic and exciting effect on the student community. The GEEC experience encourages constant social engagement with a dynamic stream of new faces–as neighbors, classmates, and project partners. A GEEC student can graduate as a world citizen with dozens of intercontinental (and meaningful) connections.
Back to Business
How is it possible to offer something that everybody seems to only dream of? How is it affordable?
- The universities globally deploy their millions-of-dollars investment in online education and their billions-of-dollars investment into academics – at almost no extra charge, as they have already made this investment.
- Campus management is sourced to an organization that exists purely for the purpose of building, managing, and maximizing on-campus quality of life, experiential engagement, and social engagement.
- We provide a highly scalable and structured on-campus experiential platform, where projects are run by industry project managers, while on-campus tutors are provided for extra academic support.
IDEALIZED EDUCATION OF THE FUTURE REALIZED = Academic+Experiential+Social+Global.
Check out our GEEC at www.intlcampus.com (pw: turnkey).
Visit us at NAFSA Booth #227.