University of Oxford academics propose blockchain based, Woolf University, based on one to one (or more) on-line tutorials for which students pay the teaching academics.
“Tutorials are the essential building block of the Woolf education system, just as they are at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge,” is the proposal’s unique sales benefit.
“The Woolf platform is designed to reduce bureaucracy, lower tuition costs, secure teaching salaries, and increase the time that students interact with their professors … no matter where they are in the world,” the Woolf whitepaper states.
If it works it will transform teaching beyond online, taking it back to its origins; “What Woolf offers is different: students attend tutorials. … these can be online … or they can be face to face. In either case, both parties ‘check-in’ to the tutorial on the blockchain. Woolf is not an online university; it is simply organised online. Tutorials provide direct and personal interaction with an expert academic .”
And did they mention, that the model removes the middleperson; Woolf U will; “will increase the efficiency of student-teacher coordination by removing intermediaries, thereby narrowing spreads between hourly tuition costs and academic wages, thus distributing money more transparently, democratically and justly.”
Not to mention generating self-employment for the precariat, replacing fixed-term jobs granted by university managements with block-chain based relationships between staff and students. “The market will provide stable teaching opportunities without requiring a fundamental change in their geography of pattern or life.
Whether it happens or not the fact that the proposal is out there demonstrates the perturbation in higher education delivery.