I am remembering a 2001 0r 2002 interview with a Yale student newspaper on whether Fathom was a success or failure.
What year are you in? I asked the young woman. If you had left college as a first-year student, would we call you a failure, or would we say that you were just getting started?
That was Fathom. A pioneering initiative that had all the right instincts and will remain a milestone in higher education.
Terrific to see Harvard, MIT, Stanford, others getting their act together for large-scale projects. All non-credentialed, but as Harvard Business School knows very well, you can have highly profitable lifelong learning/professional development certificate programs.
Our great public institutions are the ones with the most experience with scale in higher education, though mostly of the silly old lecture hall style of distance learning. Herb Allen had it right in the Fathom-era — create virtual accredited introductory courses and free university resources up for professors worthy of a student’s real-life presence.
Which reminds of the interesting science fiction book I’m listening to — Ready Player One, a dystopia about life lived in the Oasis, the Internet morphed into a virtual life/videogame. At the moment, I’m slogging through a tedious description of a videogame battle, but the description of the Oasis school is worth reading. Also, I really want to know what happens when the young virtual lovers meet IRL. [you’ll figure it out in a minute.] Not quite Neuromancer, but enjoyable.