A recent article in the online education industry publication EdSurge took a good look at Pioneer’s innovative POSS (Pioneer Open Summer Study) Program and was very appreciative, and not just because this program—a response to Pioneer academic panel seeing many summer opportunities evaporating as a result of COVID-19 — was entirely free.
The author noted how the program’s four tracks were all designed to help the student participants gain a more in-depth understanding of the COVID-19 situation that has disrupted their lives. Three were directly epidemic-centered: Pandemics and Globalization, Pandemics Epidemiology, and the History of Pandemics. The fourth, Socio-cultural Evolution, invited participants to consider the present situation in the larger context of “what happens to societies when big things change.” All four were open to as many students were interested, and the program was therefore designed to make sure it could accommodate large numbers of students.
Interviews with a student who is participating in both POSS and an individual Pioneer Research Program, one of the teaching assistants, a professor who ran the epidemiology track, and Matthew Jaskol, Pioneer’s founder, are all upbeat. The quality of the papers submitted by the 145 teams at the end of the program will of course vary, but Director Jaskol thinks that is just fine. “If you’re going to do something, it should be to whatever level you want to bring it to. Our goal is to do something that harnesses your interest and curiosity, not because I told you to do it.”
To learn more about the experiences of the POSS participants, click here to see the original article in EdSurge.