Welcome to Blue Marble, a True Virtual University
Blue Marble University© was created to offer a select portfolio of unique, exciting, innovative, undergraduate and graduate degree programs that you will not only enjoy, but which will help advance your career, and are affordable as well!
Our mission is to offer science and technology based programs useful and relevant to a world which has changed markedly over the last few years. Undergraduates must come out of their basic education programs ready to contribute to modern industrial pursuits on a global scale. And graduate students must be trained in the new technologies: stem cell sciences in the bio-medical field; plant tissue culturing in Agriculture; and use and management of world resources. We also support humanities education and believe that humanities students should learn about 3D worlds, and blogging, and why studying the humanities and liberal arts is still important today.
Education is changing…and really fast. Many of us are pioneering new models, because we realized it is not going to be possible to reform or improve either the existing K-12 education or post-secondary education from within. There is just too much worthless mega-bureaucracy in place at so many levels that this will not occur. It is an international problem. The USA Department of Education states that the accreditation system for post-secondary education is outmoded and has to go, that “seat time” is not a relevant measure of education, yet nothing changes.
In creating Blue Marble University, I took great inspiration from Steve Jobs 2005 Commencement Address at Stanford University, and particularly this advice: “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma—which is living with the results of other peoples’ thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.” I took that to heart, and started Blue Marble University with a blank sheet of paper and thought about what I would do to create the very best virtual university. Perhaps you readers might find some inspiration from that speech as well:
Reform minded educators have essentially abandoned trying to reform from within and are beginning to create a parallel education system outside of the traditional formats. Different models are being tried, but the goal and end result will be new accepted ways to become educated, faster, cheaper, and better. These new models are generally referred to as “alternative education” or “non-traditional education”. To get a taste of what kind of changes are blowing in the wind, you might enjoy browsing the following two websites: One is called Learning Ecosystems: http://danielschristian.com/learning-ecosystems/; and one is a collection of innovations loosely referred to as a “Walmart of Education”: http://www.calvin.edu/~dsc8/walmartofeducation.htm . Blue Marble University is part of this new revolution in education.
I used to be a scientist and a lawyer, and now, I devote my life to education and specifically to the success of this new educational model. My experiences in Thailand, where I now live most of the time, has also been instrumental in helping me evaluate the American system of higher education against various foreign models. For example, in Thailand and many other countries, a student interested in medicine or dentistry enters a 6 year professional program right out of high school. There is no wasted time taking a typical 4 year general studies Bachelors program prior to medical or dental school. In the Philippines, a US citizen can enter into a top rated medical program in english, graduate, and become a licensed physician in the USA, all for $3,500 USD per year. Wow, compare that cost to the cost of undergraduate or professional education in the USA! Or how about the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, considered the most respected technology institute in Europe (and the place where Albert Einstein attended). A US citizen can attend for about $1600 USD per year for undergraduate and $3500 USD per year for doctoral programs, all taught in English of course.
American education is cost prohibitive. As I originally looked around at the educational landscape in America for my then 6 year old son, I didn’t see anything that appealed to me. Sure, there are some very fine programs and majors, particularly in the computer sciences and engineering. Who wouldn’t want to go to Duke, Stanford, MIT, or Harvard?? But at what cost. The programs lose their appeal when one considers paying $100,000, $200,000, $300,000 and more for his or her education.
American education is many times not relevant to anything. Many students attend traditional college programs, obtain their B.A. degrees, and then struggle with making sufficient livelihoods in America. Traditional education in America has been pretty much a failure for those students in their 20’s and 30’s. Many have educations that lead to nowhere and are consequently irrelevant. As a further example, I trained for 3 years in the PhD degree program of the Department of Biology at Johns Hopkins University. At that time (and no doubt presently as well) most of my companion graduate students needed 6 years minimum to complete the program, the dissertation work itself consuming 2-4 or more years. And what do you get out of that? You have done research in a very narrow area that is likely to have no use whatsoever upon graduation. In my case, I was trained in bacteria and bacterial virus models. But when I left Hopkins and was hired as a Research Chemist by the National Cancer Institute, I worked entirely on mouse models. I had never seen a laboratory mouse before. And I never used any one piece of equipment that I was trained on at Hopkins. The point being, everyone is trained on the job, and that is true whether you end up in an academic, research, or corporate environment. Therefore all that is needed, particularly with respect to an advanced degree, is general cross-disciplinary training rather than rigorous training in a narrow field. In science and engineering, all one really needs to know is the scientific method, how to analyze data, how to develop hypotheses and think up new experiments to answer questions. That and the scientific lingo that you need to communicate with. And this is true of business programs as well as other advanced education programs.
And I am not alone in my thinking as shown by this excerpt from ” A time for change in the PhD system”, by Deborah Braconnier, at Physorg.com:
“According to Mark Taylor, the system for PhDs needs to be reformed or shut down. Universities are promoting their PhD programs in order to have the graduate students in the laboratories and as teaching assistants. This works as a benefit to the universities, but in the end provides no benefit to the graduate. The PhD programs have become too specialized in subfields and many find they are unable to talk to colleagues in the same general department because their knowledge is too specialized. Taylor believes that in order for doctoral programs to keep up with the 21st century, they need to eliminate these specializations and move towards more cross-disciplinary knowledge.”
Alternative Education is creating new models. There is a growing move afoot toward alternative education models, non-traditional models, and parallel systems of education. For a further discussion of these concepts and how they played a role in my thinking, see the review presented in the Blue Marble Position Paper entitled “Blue Marble Review of Post-Secondary Education” , which discusses governmental interference with education, and the worn out and valueless accreditation standards.
My goals for Blue Marble University were first to be affordable; second to offer exciting new programs without the constraints of worn out pedagogy; and third, offer the programs totally online via a virtual university, so that students may attend to other experiences such as travel, internships, employment, hobbies or other interests. It’s a big world out there when you haven’t seen any of it.
Finally, I would have to say that none of this would have happened but for my chance meeting and association with Kelli Miller, PhD of Canton, Georgia (USA).
Kelli received a Masters of Education degree in Adult Education and Administration from Jones International University, the only accredited virtual university in the USA (and the only one that will ever be accredited…but that is another story). And she obtained her Doctor of Philosophy degree specializing in the Challenges of Non-traditional Adult Learners from Capella University. Kelli really understands the virtual university learning environment and how online students need to be mentored. Dr. Miller is a talented, innovative educator, that has provided enthusiastic support for the Blue Marble model throughout the development stages. She serves as the Director of Education Programs at Blue Marble University.
I am developing Blue Marble University to be the kind of affordable education institution that my son can be proud to attend in his college years. I am developing this institution not just for everyone else, but for my own family. As Steve Jobs said: “We didn’t build the Mac (computer) for anybody else. We built it for ourselves. We were the group of people who were going to judge whether it was great or not….We just wanted to build the best thing we could build.” [Interview, Playboy Magazine, February 1, 1985]. And so, I want to build the best new education model I can, for my own family to use, and hopefully others may want to join us at Blue Marble as well.
In order to have the freedom to offer exciting, dynamic, and career oriented programs, and I mean freedom from regulatory interference, our institution has been formed overseas as an international educational institution. Like other “foreign” education sought to be used in the USA, our doctoral degrees are generally accepted in the USA based on being equivalent to degrees from regionally accredited colleges and universities, as determined by a professional foreign educational credentials review agency.
The tuition at Blue Marble University is $3,450 USD per year with a payment plan, or $3,200 USD per year if paid in advance in a lump sum.
Please review our exciting new programs and the cutting edge degrees that we offer. And come join us as we explore new pathways toward fulfilling, useful, and affordable education.
Walter P. Drake, JD, PhD
(Thailand circa 2005)
Dr. Drake’s background is in biomedical science and law. He is developing Blue Marble University to be a highly regarded virtual university offering new and unique programs internationally at a modest cost, with delivery of the educational content solely online. He serves as Director of Blue Marble University. Click HERE for the CV of Walter P. Drake.