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Aug 22

New Global University To Be Both Free and For-Profit

New Global University To Be Both Free and For-Profit

By: Diane Schaffhauser, Campus Technology

August 22, 2012

A former digital media czar and small town mayor are working together to launch a new fully online university that will be free for students. The two founders, CEO Curtis Pickering and President Scott Hines, said they expect to open World Education University at the end of October or beginning of November 2012. said in a statement that both he and Hines were from “economically disadvantaged backgrounds and products of free college education,” and they “believe that everyone should have this same opportunity.”

Pickering received an athletic scholarship and Hines attended the Colorado Springs-based Air Force Academy. Neither has run a school before. However, Hines founded a tutoring service that grew to serve students in districts in 26 states and which he eventually sold.

“For us it’s a personal journey,” Hines explained. “We believe those opportunities lifted us from poverty and allowed us to go on to be successful in a number of different areas.” Both now reside in tony Rancho Mirage, CA, a town next to Palm Springs and where Hines serves as mayor. Pickering had earlier sold his interest in a Kansas City-based advertising and digital signage firm.

WEU (pronounced “we-you”) aims to become a comprehensive, degree-granting institution. “We’ve brought together a lot of our industry expertise and built a pretty amazing team of entrepreneurs in both education and technology and have put this team together to attack this enormous problem,” Hines said. The “problem” is educating the “historically underserved populations in high-poverty communities and developing nations,” as well as the “newly disenfranchised middle class who cannot afford the burden of debt associated with a university education.”

The Education Model
To address the large number of students the university expects to attract, it will rely on multiple forms of technology, Hines said. The school will use a number of systems “built from scratch,” including two proprietary applications it calls PALS, the Pinpoint Adaptive Learning System, a kind of course management system, and CLA, the Cognitive Learning Assessment. CLA will be part of the admissions process. When students register for courses, they’ll take a “thinking style test,” similar to Myers & Briggs. “When you take the test, the outcome will tell you what type of cognitive learning style you have,” he explained. “It’s based on a number of different research systems. It really becomes the basis for this adaptive system.”

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