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Ali EftekhariAli EftekhariAli EftekhariAli EftekhariAli EftekhariAli EftekhariAli Eftekhari

Practical Project: Towards Real University

Since I really do care about academia, I started a series of projects to practical modelize the evolution in higher education towards real university (real with respect to the needs and potentials of our time). These projects can be categorized as

Smart Exams: It is evident that exams and official grades are the strongest driving forces in any education system (though this should be changed). Thus, it is almost impossible to conduct an effective education system without designing a smart exam system. As a matter of fact, the natural tendency of students is to learn everything for successfully passing exams. The exam defines the knowledge and skills of our alumni. Exams must be similar to real world's problems, but they are too advanced for education level. This is the art of a smart design of exams.

Problem Solving: As expressed, Problem Solving is Everything. Education must be based on problem-solving; this is a strong approach to attract the attention of students. The human brain is by nature a problem-solving machine. When we face a problem, the brain cannot resist against the temptation to solve it (like watching a detective movie). Each course should be started by introducing the core problem; then, students better understand how the running course is useful. The main obstacle to education (at any level) is that students do not believe that the knowledge delivered in their classroom is actually useful in real life.

Research-Based Education: We always separate education and research, as we think research starts when education is finished. However, real education occurs during real research. A PhD student learns more during his/her research project rather than in coursework. Similarly, s/he even learn more in a postdoc experience. It is possible to provide opportunity even for undergraduate students to get involved in world-class research.

Social Entrepreneurship: It is somehow fashionable to talk about entrepreneurship these days, does not happen in practice. This is indeed part of education to teach students the way of thinking to initiate a project. Tragically, we do not respect initiatives unless they are successful. It is important to foresee the future of a novel idea, but we just prefer to wait and see.

Practical Entrepreneurship: Every university is struggling with financial limitation, and the common (obviously easiest) solution is to enhance fundraising tricks for more endowments and increasing tuition fees. The real potential is indeed the university: intellectual capital. We leave students to struggle with their premature ideas in wild market; most of them fail, and a few will leave the university behind. Why not supporting new initiatives inside the academic environment? This will lead us to a wealthy university, supported students, successful alumni, and satisfied graduates.

Academic Life: If not providing a real social life within the academic environment, there will be no effective education. As a matter of fact, the main mission of higher education is to provide an opportunity for social living within the academic community. Contrary to available systems, it is not possible by only offering social activities, but academic life must be closely entangled with education.

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