Going beyond the classroom to transform college education.
At the Academy, education extends beyond the classroom in many ways. From micro-lectures to international study tours, CurriculumPlus offers students unconventional learning experiences that not only allow them to tailor their education to an unprecedented level, but also explore the places where innovation is happening, wherever it’s happening.
The mainstays of CurriculumPlus are the Responsive Learning Modules. Developed to complement Academy coursework, RLM sessions augment students’ classroom education and meet their individualized needs by providing them with critical learning opportunities, but without the full infrastructure of a semester-long course. As a result, RLMs are diverse enough to respond to a wide variety of student interests, and flexible enough to deliver each subject in the most useful and relevant way.
RLM sessions range in length from a few hours to a few weeks and can take many different shapes to suit the material.
Providing a direct pipeline to industry thought leaders and professional practice, the Innovators Forum is an opportunity for students to receive immediate and critical feedback on their ideas. Past speakers include Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS; Ben Horowitz, co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz; Brent Bushnell, CEO of Two Bit Circus; and Eli Beer, founder of United Hatzalah.
A hallmark of the Academy’s mission is the mandate to provide learning across multiple platforms that include rigorous instruction, research, and experimentation, but also deep dives into real-world problem solving with existing companies and institutions. The list of industry and research collaborations to date includes adidas, Samsung, Volkswagen/Audi, Cigna, Adobe, TOMS Shoes, The Grammy Foundation, Fender Guitars, Los Angeles World Airports (LAX), Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Heal the Bay, and the American Heart Association. Through industry partnerships, students develop ideas that create value and real impact. A collaboration between Academy students and USC researchers to advance cancer patient care resulted in a new undergraduate minor, Health Innovation, a joint offering by the Academy and USC Keck School of Medicine. The original project, Cancerbase, was highlighted at former Vice President Joe Biden’s 2016 Cancer Moonshot Initiative at the White House innovation fair, South by South Lawn. Project prompts have included the future of mobility; feasibility and viability of global WiFi; new models and incentives for social entrepreneurship; application of creative technologies in K-12 classrooms; and advancing data collection and visualization in patient- and physician-facing technologies through machine and deep learning.