The Atlantic profiles the Minerva Project

August 18, 2014

The cover story in the latest issue of The Atlantic contemplates the future of college education in the US, focusing specifically on tech entrepreneur Ben Nelson’s Minerva Project. Instruction will be delivered to students via a proprietary platform that was designed around the principles of psychologist and former Harvard Dean Stephen M Kosslyn. The author of the article, who participated in a test run of a Minerva class, describes the experience as “exhausting ... with no relief in the form of time when my attention could flag ... If this was the education of the future, it seemed vaguely fascistic. Good, but fascistic.” Minerva takes a scientifically rigorous approach to identifying best practices and learning techniques, shunning tradition for data-driven decision-making. Rather than lectures, students are subjected to a barrage of quizzes and reasoning tests. Minerva has an international student base—Nelson believes that in time as many as 90% of students will come from overseas—many of whom come from “unconventional” backgrounds. “We are now building an institution that has not been attempted in over 100 years,” Nelson said. The Atlantic