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Forget college degrees. What the world needs is Designer Degrees. A Designer Degree is a certification that a student has completed a series of classes specified by a particular designer. Let's say the designers are successful and respected people, such as Warren Buffett. The idea is that a designer would publish a set of classes that he or she considers most useful for any newcomer to the field in which the designer is an expert.

The designer would not be limited to one college for specifying classes. For example, if Warrant Buffett designed the Warren Buffett Business Degree, he would specify the general type of classes that need to be completed, and the student would be free to find those classes across any number of institutions and sources, including online classes or work experience. A graduate who earns the Warren Buffett Business Degree might take a few classes at the local community college, spend a year in China learning Chinese, work for an Internet startup for a year, join Toastmasters International to practice public speaking, read a number of specific business books, and so on.

The power of this idea is that it allows students whose grades are not in the top 1% to get degrees that are both relevant to their chosen fields and respected by potential employers. In most cases, Designer Degrees would cost a fraction of what a traditional college degree might cost.

In our current system, a college student usually ends up taking unwanted classes because the preferred classes get filled early. When you're a captive of a college degree program, you're limited to the college's class schedule options, high prices, and location. With a Designer Degree, you're free to compile your classes from whatever sources you can. In the long run, competition should drive down the cost of a degree.

The Designer Degree approach would need a system to verify that students complete the specified classes, and that the classes were of sufficient quality. Perhaps the system needs auditors to approve classes in advance, and examine and certify the claims of students. There would be cheating in the system I described, but I think it could be limited.

I don't think a Designer Degree system would have been possible in pre-Internet days. And it wouldn't be practical for people in rural areas. But where I live, in the San Francisco Bay Area, almost every type of learning experience is available within a one hour drive. That would be true of most metro areas.

You may now commence ripping this idea to shreds.

 
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Mar 28, 2012
wow - I think this is the only idea of the last 50 - 100 or so of yours that I think has any real potential. Unfortunatly it would almost require one of the current "brands" of education to act as an audior at a minimimum to give it any weight...
 
 
Mar 28, 2012
Old "Celebrities" from back in the day.:

John Harvard (Harvard University)
Elihu Yale (Yale University)
Cornelius Vanderbilt (Vanderbilt University)
Leland Stanford (Stanford University)
William Rice (Rice University)
Ezra Cornell (Cornell University)
Johns Hopkins (Johns Hopkins University)
James B Duke (Duke University)

What about an Oprah or Obama degree ?
The "O" School or The University of "O"

A degree with their brand would have
limited value if the holder is incompetent.

Good try Scott.

 
 
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Mar 28, 2012
Competition has done a great job of keeping the costs of current degrees down...
 
 
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Mar 28, 2012
Competition has done a great job of keeping the costs of current degrees down...
 
 
Mar 27, 2012
I wonder what courses would be required for a degree in Kardashian?
 
 
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Mar 27, 2012
Scott,

After 26 years of earning my own livelihood, I have come to the conclusion that education and the piece of paper called Degree do not have the same cause and effect.

I am too tired to work on this subject right now. May be tomorrow unless you post something new.

Cheers.

.
 
 
Mar 27, 2012
I LOVE it! Run with it! It needs a big-name figurehead to get it rolling. Maybe you know someone... JKJK!
 
 
-2 Rank Up Rank Down
Mar 27, 2012
I don't understand what's so new about this. Maybe it's not like that in the USA, but here you can get just about any course that you want. Usually courses that are offered by companies are a lot more expensive then the ones you get in college, not the other way around. I used to work at a company that offered such courses, $400-600 a day was a normal price. Then there is the open university (Volksuniversität), which costs almost nothing.
I am not sure I want to be taught by Warren Buffet, but that's another story. Also I can't imagine that Warren Buffet would want to take the effort for something that has obviously not a big pay-off.
 
 
Mar 27, 2012
I like the idea. I wonder how the implementation would look like. I imagine that a lot of rooted academics would argue that "you can't truly be educated without..." some crap. And you'd have a lot of employers scratching their head. The first people to do it would be at a big disadvantage when it came to getting jobs, and the people who followed would rely on the success of the first people. Assuming it survived the first waves, I think it would be a great education model. Sorta like a relabeled "stealth" vocational program, instead of a university degree.
 
 
Mar 27, 2012
By the way, a variation on this idea was in the movie "Rejection". Hilarious film. You should see it if you haven't already.

Reject rejection.

 
 
Mar 27, 2012

I want a Hugh Hefner degree.
 
 
Mar 27, 2012
In the UK, we have the Open University, which has a lot of the benefits that you describe.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_university

People can choose the modules that are relevant to them and build a degree.
 
 
Mar 27, 2012
Good Idea !!
Why not design a Dilbert's course for Cartoonists.
 
 
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Mar 27, 2012
I like it. It's like reverse engineering recognition of prior learning.
 
 
Mar 27, 2012
I agree with this concept...

I learned way more on the job working under one of the top engineers in the state, than at school.

I have also learned even more from working labor, constructing bridges during the summer when I was younger.

You would be amazed at how many engineers don't know how to build what they design.

Especially people fresh Out of college...
 
 
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Mar 27, 2012
No shredding. Also, please forget about running for President. Shake up the Education Industrial Complex instead. My sentiments echo what AtlantaDude wrote. I would also like to suggest that as an impetus to change, we make colleges start co-signing the loans they are pushing upon the credulous young victims of Generation Debt.
 
 
Mar 27, 2012
Love the idea, but the biggest detractors (and this is similar to the idea of letting the housing market hit rock bottom) will be those already invested in the current system, ie. degree holders, who don't want the value of their degree lessened.
 
 
Mar 26, 2012
What can you learn from videos and on-line text? The various attempts seem to show that it doesn't work very well for mathematics and the sciences. People gain the illusion that they have learnt something, but actually haven't mastered anything.

Of course, many people don't learn these things in lectures either.
 
 
Mar 26, 2012
LOVE this idea!

The tuition bubble is being fueled by scarcity - not a scarcity of university slots overall, but a scarcity of premium branded university slots. The upper tier universities are offering online courses, but will not give you a fully branded degree (without some ".x" or "online" or "secondary campus city" qualifier) because they want to protect the scarcity of their premium branded university degrees.

Introducing degrees with designer brands like "Bill Gates" or "Warren Buffet" might wrest control of premium branding away from the top tier schools, remove premium brand scarcity and hopefully help pop the tuition bubble. However, for it to really work, I think these designers would have to get more involved than just saying "OK, you can use my name".
 
 
Mar 26, 2012
Good idea. I think there is definitely a place for this type of program.

The PMP (Project Management Professional) certification is similar to this, although it doesn't have the snazzy Warren Buffet endorsement.
 
 
 
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