Sphere College Project

A New World of Learning

What Exactly Is Sphere College?


I gave a talk about Sphere College on Monday at AT&T Labs-Research in Florham Park, New Jersey. The talk seemed to go rather well, and I had some excellent followup conversations afterward, some of which are ongoing via email. One reason we connect with others in this was is because the questions we get help us continue to develop our own ability to convey our ideas to others. During these conversations it became more clear to me precisely what, to my mind, Sphere College really is. In a nutshell…

The system I envision here is of a self-organizing system in which it is not possible for any of the entities—faculty/staff/students, current and future—has sufficient knowledge of the complete system to fully design it beforehand. Human experience is simply too heterogeneous. This implies that the implementation must be discovered on the fly. Communication among the entities begins with rather low fidelity (in the sense of accuracy of reproduction of a signal to its source), complicating the problem. However, the fidelity increases manyfold as the system matures. At all times a sufficient infrastructure must be present to ensure progress toward the common goal, embodied in our mission statement (which was written by the students under my guidance). The function of some of the entities—a minimal number—is to maintain the integrity of the infrastructure. I posit that this system is optimal.

Granted, there are many people to whom the above is not going to make a lot of sense, but think about it while we work on other ways to convey the concept of Sphere College. In the Steering Committee we have been discussing a nice metaphor. More on that at another time.


Author: Richard Liston

Musician, computer scientist, educator. I'm creating a new educational environment for adults.

2 thoughts on “What Exactly Is Sphere College?

  1. You mention that the mission statement was written by your students (under your guidance)…Can you please explain how a mission statement can “authored” by a group of students but guided by the President of the entity and still maintain its fidelity. Just wondering.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s