New education for a new world

Many learning experts agree that learning should be more social, easier (because learning has become more digital) and above all: more personal. Creative college SintLucas approaches learning radically differently with the University of Northampton is a partner. A new bachelor program will be launched in September 2020: the bachelor Creative Business Studies. U.NXT: next generation business.

Next Learning Valley’s Jos Maassen is a MOOC quartermaster at U.NXT and is very enthusiastic about the program.

So, what is U.NXT? And what does a MOOC-quartermaster do?

“It is a new way of learning that is nowhere to be found in the world. This has never been done before. U.NXT offers a bachelor program where you can learn in a personal, social, and online way. We combine the online program with live coaching on campus and at companies, in collaboration with lecturers and professionals. As quartermaster I supervise the development of the online curriculum on the basis of currently existing MOOCs. Massive Open Online Courses which we select from renowned partners such as edX and Coursera.

What MOOC-provider edX had to say about U.NXT: “Must say, this is one of the most well-structured blended learning plans I have seen.”

Why is a bachelor program like U.NXT needed?

“Because the world is changing. Society needs digital business entrepreneurs who search for pragmatic and innovative solutions. People who want to keep on developing and who think in technological opportunities. If we want to keep up in the future, we have to start now. For this, a different approach to education is necessary. U.NXT wants to give the professionals of tomorrow a push and close the gap between education and the job market.

What does the online curriculum look like?

“The bachelor takes three years. Every year is divided in trimesters with five core subjects: Design & Creativity, Technology, Business finance & entrepreneurship, Big data (analytics) and World languages (such as English, Spanish, and Chinese).

Students learn through existing international MOOCs created by the best universities in the world. Online learning requires discipline, but at the same time the social aspect remains present if you act as a MOOC moderator for interaction and feedback. And, something that is an advantage for many students: study books are a thing of the past. Instead, students learn through the use of videos, online articles, and assignments, that are offered in a playful and challenging way.

The knowledge gained through the MOOCs is applied during the challenges that are created by companies from the high-tech industry. This takes place in a gamified learning environment. This is a simulated environment where character, competences, and cognition all come together. This takes place under the supervision of a coach from the specific company and from U.NXT.

Will the U.NXT students ever see each other?

“Students see each other on the campus of U.NXT, and they meet each other when they work on location on challenges at high-tech companies and are coached by their professionals. These challenges come directly from practice and are incredibly educational so that students are continually developing. This is needed in the world of today and tomorrow. In this way, students are getting relevant work experience and it offers the companies an entirely new outlook and thinking capacity to their challenges.”

Who can enroll?

“The bachelor Creative Business studies is open to everyone with an mbo-4 or havo/vwo diploma and also very suitable for lateral entrants. It is a private educational program, so group sizes are small which is best for optimized learning results. We certainly also facilitate in social learning; sharing knowledge and experiences with each other.

What does the University of Northampton do in this story?

“We closely collaborate with the University of Northampton when it comes to the selection of the different MOOCs that will form the curriculum. They also help us with the accreditation of U.NXT as an institution and with the accreditation of the educational program. The latter takes place in the form of a so-called CAIeRO process. They are very enthusiastic and interested because U.NXT offers a world first and we want to go global on a long-term with this unique method of education. It is really a super cool and unique project!”