Division of Labor
No, I’m not going to ramble on about Adam Smith, though he was the one who taught me the principle. I want to talk about one part of the implementation of the Freeman Academy: work loads. Breaking up responsibilities can help to control costs and make an operation more efficient. Since one of the main purposes of the Freeman Academy is to make this kind of education accessible for people, we have to keep things affordable.
We want to break things down based on the kind of work people will be doing. Aside from the administrative staff, there are three primary role that I see. Here’s how it breaks down so far:
- These people will create the curricula and exercises, present lectures and activity instructions, and act as backstops for the tutors (see below). Each professor will be responsible for a certain subject or subjects in a certain presentation mode (young children, middle childhood, or teenage/adult teaching). A professor for the Freeman Academy does not need a traditional degree, though to start with most will probably have them. What they must have is solid knowledge of the subject they’ll teach and the ability to present information effectively in their mode.
- Just what it says on the label: someone to check that answers are correct, and to check things like grammar, punctuation, etc. Basically, the TA. They must have solid language skills (preferably having finished the Trivium) and have passed the class for which they will grade with a certain score (I’m thinking 90%, but I’d love input on that from people with more experience).
- One on one help when a student is struggling is available from a tutor for an hourly fee. Where the professor creates a curriculum and presents it to the world at large, the tutor can customize the presentation to the individual.
I struggled on that last one, I must tell you. I wanted to include the tutor’s services as part of the class, but it simply became too expensive when I ballparked the numbers. Also, I usually hate buying product ‘bundles’ where I must pay for things I don’t need to get the things I do. This is why I don’t have cable, for example. I only want about four channels, and I’m not willing to pay for the others to get them. The same applies here. The professors’ work should be sufficient for many or most students. Some will need more help, but many of those will have friends or family members who can take the tutor role. Why make them pay for what they don’t need?