NewCampus is a lifelong learning school. This makes it different from the typical ruler-and-blackboard schools that one encounters. There is no homework or rows of benches in the classroom. On an average day at NewCampus, you’ll see colearners grouped in a lovely colearning space connecting digitally with a global entrepreneur to discuss topics of relevance.
When we decided to build NewCampus we didn’t want to build “one more” university or school. The easy way to craft an adult learning education was to use trendy topics. But we didn’t want to cram our curriculum with that.
Adult learning breaks the myth that learning stops with school or college. It helps one imbibe a lifelong learning mindset to learn and grow with the times. It makes you alert and responsive to the changing nature of the world.
We wanted to incorporate adult, participative and holistic learning principles to make a competitive, engaging and relevant curriculum. We wanted people to encounter a different and atypical learning experience. Instead of being a one-way street, we hoped to create a learning ecosystem.
Our goal was to create a unique learning experience, fostered by the community, nourished by global leaders and powered by a holistic curriculum. A school people would want to attend to learn.
To put it simply — we wanted to build a Hogwarts for all the Harrys starved of learning, direction and community in a Dursley world.
Then, we identified our curriculum pillars — the subject paths on which our colearnering community would journey.
Curriculum pillars act as the foundation on which we base our classes. But, our curriculum isn't 100% there yet. It's an evolving 'beta mode' pathway on the basis of which we have designed our classes. Our curriculum pillars are the broad categories of subjects that our colearners will learn about. After research and thought, we identified our three most relevant pillars:
The Future (of)
Technology, industry, and the seismic changes taking place in today’s changing world.
Research proves that technology is filling our boots at the workplace. It is also creating a new set of jobs for which we are wholly unprepared. So, we will soon be jostling for space on the corporate ladder with robots and machines.
To stay relevant, we must become future-ready. We need to master the technology that is challenging our status quo. From cryptocurrency to artificial intelligence, each day a new tech field emerges. It’s hard to seek structured information or become competent through online programmes.
We want colearners to understand the change and disruption happening around us. We want them to feel equipped to explore, discuss and apply technology in various walks of life.
For this reason, we decided to have this future-facing theme as one of our curriculum pillars. This branch explores how technology affects everything in our immediate society and the world — from finance, food, cities and work to how it manifests as blockchain, AR / VR / MR, AI and ML.
In recent times, we have hosted classes on food tech (Food sustainability at scale: the next evolution of food production), future of work (Machines and humans: collaboration for a smarter workplace), blockchain (Blockchain beyond crypto: building a network to reach the un-banked) and then some!
But this curriculum pillar, more than anything else, keeps us on our toes. Our programming team is on a perennial research mode, scanning the world for the latest technologies and expert class hosts who can enlighten us on the subject.
Culture, today & tomorrow
How we live, communicate, and consume in a global society.
Culture encompasses the stories and experiences that we have as a society. Our population is exploding, our cities are growing denser and our world is changing. With all this flux, our culture takes new forms. We need to understand how technology is impacting our culture. By staying up-to-date with the current changes, we can forecast tomorrow.
But, we have so much information available today that it is difficult to perceive what is the truth and what is not. Fake news is rampant. People are misusing technology, stealing identities and destroying privacy.
We need to protect ourselves in the world of big data to understand the culture of the world. We need to sift through information and perspectives to identify the unbiased truth. For this, we need guidance from experts who have navigated similar territories.
This category of curriculum helps us chalk this path. From understanding media and journalism to exploring sociology and psychology, from art, music, film & liberal arts to cities and governments — this curriculum pillar explores every aspect of our culture and collective history to make us better informed about and perceptive of the world around us.
Projections peg that 68% of the global population is set to live in cities within the next generation. This poses many big questions — how do we build infrastructure? How do we create jobs, especially when AI is taking over most of them? What kind of environmental, social and economic problems would this situation lead to? Our dialogues and workshops foster healthy discussions on these repercussions. Our colearners become better citizens of this world equipped to take on challenges.
Some of the classes we have hosted so far in this category have covered media (Parsing out the truth: digital literacy in a crowded information environment), art (The power of art: building cross-cultural bridges through digital media collections), big data (Are tech giants too big? Google, Facebook, Baidu, and the impact of big data) and more.
Adaptive and creative skills that prepare us for the challenges of today and tomorrow.
The previous two curriculum pillars focused on skill development and awareness. This category turns the spotlight on skills that can propel our careers.
Careers do not look like linear climbs up the corporate ladder any more. With the evolution of technology, many people are at risk of losing jobs soon.
The way out — future-proofing our career
There has been a seismic shift around the globe in the way we work. A part of the global workforce works remotely or balances travel and work with aplomb. Non-linear careers have become a norm. Hiring teams welcome generalists with open arms. Machines have automated many processes in a modern-day version of the industrial revolution, making much of the workforce redundant. Research indicates that 54% of all employees will need to re- and upskill themselves.
So, it is a good idea to spruce up on soft skills like design thinking, teamwork, creativity, empathy, etc. This makes us good problem solvers and thinkers capable of handling a variety of tough situations.
So far, we have hosted engaging dialogues and workshops on storytelling (Experiential storytelling: building and sharing your narrative), diversity and inclusion (Inclusive design for a global audience), problem-solving (Evidenced-based problem solving: how to build and learn from your solutions) and more for our colearners.
We need more people who can build communities, work with a global audience and work remotely in today's world. So, our colearners will focus on learning skills like branding & marketing, design thinking, digital literacy, entrepreneurship & startups, experiential storytelling, tech ecosystems, and the like.
The world’s landscape metamorphosizes day-by-day. And so our curriculum remains a work-in-progress, shifting with the sands of time. In this scenario, it is not hard to open up shop and offer learning experiences on trendy topics. But that is not what we or the world need. Each of our curriculum pillars helps us design our class paths with the right thought and purpose behind them. Envisaging the future, penciling in the present and considering historic data, we have created an intentional learning experience that is constantly evolving with the times.