Save College! A Cure for Online Angst

Are you a college student, wondering about returning to campus in the fall? Being forced into unsatisfying on-line classes? Being pushed off campus? Being told that if you return to campus, you will have unrealistic restrictions on your movement and social activities? Taking the risk of getting Covid19 anyway? And to add insult to injury, paying full tuition?

We have a proposal for you. We are organizing small “Pods” of students who will live and study together in desirable locations. We’ll also support non-residential groups in major cities. Pods will share household responsibilities like cooking, driving, and cleaning; sporting activities like kayaking, skiing, and biking, as well as swimming, playing fields, tennis courts, and private gym access; and social life. They will be tested as a group every 3 days, for Covid19. Most importantly, we will provide IN-PERSON coaches and teaching assistants, for a satisfying and effective learning experience.

Sigh up HERE if you are interested in participating as a student, coach, or educator.

This will be an interactive process where students express interest, and then we organize pods to meet their goals.

Tell us if you want to help organize a pod, or help us found a company to support pods. Help us put this together on the fly, at Internet speed. Sign up here.

Our Goals for Fall 2020

  • Dramatically improve the effectiveness of instruction for students that are pushed into online courses
  • Provide fulfilling social and recreational experiences
  • Satisfy in-person attendance requirements for foreign students in the US
  • Set up pods of about ten students, with resident coaches
  • Manage health care concerns related to Covid19 with a rapid ramp-up of pooled testing, and restrictions on larger-group mixing as agreed on by pod members.
  • Work together with students and educators to set up pods where we need them and want them

Costs

With your help, we’ll know about costs soon. We’ll need to cover the cost of residence and other facilities, and a resident coach. Hopefully we can bring it in for about the cost of a campus residence. And, we are going to get aggressive about negotiating with colleges to cover the cost.

My colleague John has goals like this:

  • Baseline room and board, at a beautiful location in Maine, with access to recreation, the ocean, and winter sports: $5,000/semester.
  • Tuition for online classes —This should be covered by your college, if they kicked you off campus and asked you to take their courses remotely. We’re also going to curate a full curriculum of expertly produced courses,
  • Coaching — this is the wild card. We’re going to recruit, train, and equip coaches that will make online instruction more effective and satisfying.

Where does this project come from?

I’m Andy Singleton, a software entrepreneur with a kid going into college this year. She definitely doesn’t want to spend that time sitting in her dorm room alone.

I have been talking about “pod camp” for the past year with my good friend John Stadler. John is an experienced education entrepreneur who has founded several schools, in both the US and China. He wanted to provide an online curriculum that could be delivered to campers with local counselors, in several different countries.

I have also been talking with my dad, Seth Singleton, about how to save college from the inflation of cost and complexity on campus, and the low completion rates of online instruction. Seth is a retired college dean and current online professor who was on the founding team for new colleges in Ecuador and Vietnam. I started asking him if we could improve online instruction with in-person pods, coaches, and teaching assistants.

We’re all Harvard graduates, and we became concerned when we saw that Harvard is only inviting 40% of their students back to campus this year. What happens to the other 60%? We’re inviting you to join us in organizing some pods.

Join us for fall of 2020.

SaaS entrepreneur/engineer. Founder of MAXOS, Real World DeFi. Previously founded Assembla, PowerSteering Software, on team at SNL Financial.

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