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Well I did a search for "campus" and no related threads came up so here it is. I'm also not sure if this is the best forum for this thread, but it seemed as good as any.

Here's the e-mail announcement from ARI:


We at ARI are proud to announce a major new online educational initiative: The Ayn Rand Institute Campus. On January 10, 2012, we will beta launch an innovative and interactive learning environment where Internet users can study Ayn Rand's provocative ideas in unprecedented ways, using a system of learning tools that can be found nowhere else.

ARI Campus will allow students around the world to take courses at their own pace and on their own time—for free. Students at all levels can explore the educational materials that lie at their fingertips within and around each course—from the multimedia experience of a course including audio, video, and supplementary visual and textual content to the “More to Explore” section that offers reading and viewing suggestions for students who want to deepen their knowledge on a particular topic.

Courses have interactive modules that often include quizzes and user interactions. ARI Campus will also offer a site discussion board designed to help students discuss, integrate and digest the information as fully as possible. We have endeavored to enrich the learning environment far beyond the experience of listening to a recorded lecture.

Our initial course offerings will include the following:

• Ayn Rand: A Writer's Life

• Ayn Rand: Radical Thinker

• The Ayn Rand Bookshelf


We the Living

The Fountainhead

• Moral Virtue

• Philosophy of Education

• Philosophy: Who Needs It

New courses will be added regularly—the first release post-launch will be an exciting and in-depth look at the novel Atlas Shrugged, taught by Dr. Onkar Ghate and appearing in February.

Please join us, starting January 10, and explore and try out this brand new learning environment. The full, public launch of the site is slated for September of 2012. We hope to see you soon on ARI Campus!

Looks pretty cool. It's great they really are surrounding themselves and embracing modern technology to communicate their ideas. In this instance the AR Campus sounds like "open learning" some academic institutions have begun offering. I'll definitely check it out.

Edit: Just so its apparent I don't work for ARI or anything, I only wanted to post this news.

Edited by IchorFigure
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THAT is exciting. I know that I sound like a cliche, but as a businessman, I am extremely busy and have not made time to read and study as much as I would like to....

This will be a great way to overcome that with some formal courses on a topic that is both fascinating and useful.

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According to their email, Campus has had over 1000 registered users already.

The site is really nice and clearly streamlined. I sampled a little bit of each course. The Writer's Life course featured some historical facts and photos of Ayn Rand I had never encountered. And the courses by Leonard Peikoff on philosophy of education and moral virtue seem very interesting.

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I was looking forward to going through the available courses. Unfortunately, the campus has been shut down for now due to technical issues etc.

This goes beyond being dissapointing for me as an individual (I was in the middle of a course when I received the notification that the campus would be taken down). Before the campus "opened", the page featured a countdown to its release date which is something you do to build excitement for a project. I received several emails about the campus over the course of a month from ARI. The fact that the campus was not ready for public consumption, despite the insistent hype, is frustrating because this was/is an official Ayn Rand Institute offering.

Objectivism clearly has a massive uphill battle in terms of growing its base and missteps like this aren't going to help matters. If the campus needed beta testers, why didn't ARI implement that as part of the development process? Beta testers are free and invaluable to the development of any software. Making a big fuss about the campus and then shutting it down a week after it launches reflects terribly on the ARI site as a whole. The entire missfire is made all the more potent BECAUSE it is an Objectivist offering. If any group should take a scientific and thouroughly exhaustive approach to esnure the relesae of a top notch product, it should be an Objectivist group. To hype something and make it public when it is clearly not ready is the same as evading reality. It reflects poorly on the philosophy. I had let some select people know about the campus in hopes that it would ignite their interest in Objectivism. What will those individuals think about Objectivism after experiencing a buggy website and then the complete removal of the campus? Its not professional by any stretch of the imagination.

How do others feel about this?

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Before the campus "opened", the page featured a countdown to its release date which is something you do to build excitement for a project. I received several emails about the campus over the course of a month from ARI. The fact that the campus was not ready for public consumption, despite the insistent hype, is frustrating because this was/is an official Ayn Rand Institute offering.

It is in Beta status until September which is the official full launch. Although perhaps they don't make it explicitly clear enough. A larger image that says "beta" for a header might be useful.

Don't count on it too much while it's in beta status, like don't save notes on it without backing them up on your PC. I think that even for beta it is running great. The issues I ran into were minor and mostly aesthetic.

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I understood that this was a beta release. There is a big difference between a "beta release" and "beta testing". The former is something that is 95% or more ready for public consumption. Essentially, a beta release is something the producers are very confident in and expect to discover only very minor things that need tweaking. The latter (a beta test) is something that is typically done behind the scenes by a group of people specifically signed on to test the product. At the beta testing stage, the product is not ready for public release because there is a high expectation of bugs and considerable work to be done before releasing a polished version for release.

If the campus had not been through any form of beta testing, I'm not sure why it was publically hyped and released, even as "beta".

It is a free educational offering, and I am still 100% enthusiastic and appreciative of it. I'm looking forward to going through the courses once the site is up and running again. My concern is... when you're the underdog, you simply must do everything BETTER than the rest. The hype and consequent removal of the ARI Campus after a week has the opposite of the intended impact, which I assume is to encourage new minds to gain a better understanding of Objectivism.

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I don't think so. I've used numerous "open education" sites before, and none of them were as well streamlined and integrated.

Usually there is just a really old school web page made to just "get by". Then a video lecture all on its own. The way they put the video together with the course outline, and interaction, and a notes option is great. The audio is clear, you can actually hear what's being said. A lot of the time on open education lectures you can't hear or there's audio problems, because they're simply flat recordings of a class.

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I agree with that, the presentation of the Ayn Rand Campus is ambitious and innovative.

It is clear from the emails I received, however, that removing the site after a week due to technical issues was not part of the game plan. I am not trying to diminish the offering. I suppose it is more of a personal frustration because I had marked my calendar and was excited about plowing through the available courses. Any time you are releasing an interactive product with a high potential for glitches, there should be an apple testing period before any kind of open/public release. Why amp up the public for something that has not been properly tested? All of this could have been handled behind the scenes, and I would have been happy to help as a beta tester, as I'm sure many hundreds would have been.

Anyway, no point in beating a (temporarily) dead horse. I'm looking forward to engaging the campus again upon its return.

Edited by tygorton
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