Making education universally accessible

WEB WATCH

Worry no more about accessing information on Computer Science or Business Administration. University of the People (uopeople.com), the world’s first tuition-fee free online university,  hopes to promote global advancement and democratisation of higher education.

With support from the United Nations, it is a non-profit venture. Its high-quality, low cost global educational model enjoys the support of respected academics, humanitarians and other visionaries, and is delivered through the internet.   Launched in September 2009, UoPeople, a California-registered institution, has 380 students from more than 70 countries who are pursuing unaccredited studies in either business or computer science.

Open source e-learning

Uopeople advocates peer-to-peer teaching to provide university-level programmes for students across the world. The site operates on a limited budget without compromising on quality of education by employing collaborative and open-source e-learning. Within online study communities, students can share resources, exchange ideas, discuss weekly topics, submit assignments and take examinations.

A community of educators, both active and retired professors, librarians, master’s students and other professionals oversee the assessment process of this tuition-fee free online education model.

Courses and eligibility

Uopeople at http://www. uopeople.org currently facilitates a learning experience through its four programmes in two academic fields:

*Business Administration

*Computer Science

The Business Administration module is equivalent to B A in Business Administration. The curriculum  provides a strong, broad-based foundation in the fundamentals of business policy and procedure. It explains how business theory and application work and how they  can be used to solve practical problems. Assignments and projects are designed to help students use their imagination and innovate.

The Computer Science module is designed to help students learn more about the design of software and modern mathematics that can be applied to all aspects of software design, development and verification. The online programme is equivalent to B Sc in Computer Science. It focuses on investigating how computer software works and how it can be used to rectify errors. At the end of the module, students gain an understanding of the structure of programming languages and learn the skills to put these concepts into practice. Students who wish to enroll for either of the two Uopeople courses would be required to go through an orientation course. The purpose of this course is to develop and enhance basic skills in reading and writing English. This course would also introduce the student to the Uopeople learning environment, the study process and additional tools needed to complete studies. A passing grade in this course is a pre-requisite to continue further with the two programmes. At present, Uopeople is not an accredited institution and does not confer degrees. Currently,  its programmes offer a learning experience that is similar in scope to university studies for four degrees: An Associate (A S) and Bachelor’s (B S) in Computer Science and an Associate (A S) and Bachelor’s (B S) in Business Administration.

Uopeople founder and President Shai Reshef says, “The idea is to reach the millions of individuals worldwide who have finished high school, have all the ability and the right to study in an academic institution, but cannot do it either because they don’t have the money or because there aren’t enough institutions.”

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