Washington University Co-op's

Cervantes Free University &

Learning Cooperative

 

 




 

 



 

 
 

Mission Statement

The Cervantes Free University and Learning Cooperative (www.cfu-lc.com) is a faculty and student initiative to support the "Cooperative Learning" Pillar of the WashU Coop (www.washucoop.com). We provide free web-hosting service for a variety of college courses, co-curricular courses, and reading groups, and we facilitate learning opportunities of all kinds. We hope the nascent CFU/LC will serve the Skinker-DeBaliviere and Greater St Louis communities as well as Washington University, helping to break down the "WashU bubble." Oberlin College has an experimental college, providing limited academic credit to students who tutor local youth, or teach each other practical skills, such as bicycle maintenance or baking, or living cooperatively. MIT has its OpenCourseWare site, providing online, free versions of most of its courses, as a public service. Both are successful programs, benefiting the sponsoring institution and the community. Why can't this work here? We believe it can, with or without formal University support. The Learning Cooperative is as old as the WashU Coop. In Autumn 2003 Dr. Jerome Bauer worked with two students on a group study course on "Cooperative Living, Community Building, and Sustainability," later expanded to a two semester Focus Seminar in 2004-2005, 2005-2006, and 2006-2007 (to be offered to the community through CFU in 2007-2008). Halfway through the semester the students formed a rotating pot luck and discussion group, in which the mission statement of the WashU Coop was drafted. In Spring 2005 Dr. Bauer met with students in the Focus Seminar in two extracurricular groups. The Social Thought Reading Group met in the Coop "Perry" building to discuss Marx, Mannheim, Nietzsche, Trotsky, Leo Strauss. theories of religion, the history of Nazi Germany, and other topics (this summer we will read Derrida, by student request). The Ishmael Discussion Group met to discuss the works of Daniel Quinn. Many of the founders and current leaders of the WashU Coop and the CS40 Hybrid Living Committee are alumni of these free and informal discussion groups. Without inflated tuition and the pressure to compete, discussion can be lively and honest. The WashU Coop has hosted many programs and learning groups, including: workshops on safe preservation of foods, apple pie baking, and bread baking, hosted by home economist and University College student Harriet Shanle; a koan workshop; studies of Jewish mysticism with a rabbi; demonstrations of alternative healing modalities by diverse practitioners; yoga and falun gong; a dinner talk by the agricultural economist Dr. John Ikerd; a fair trade forum; and a discussion of community affairs led by Skinker DeBaliviere Community Council Executive Director Darcell Braylock; to name a few. Coop students also tutor local college bound youth, and plan to teach art and music to neighborhood youth. The Cervantes Learning Cooperative will continue to serve as an information exchange for co-curricular learning groups of all kinds, where much of the real education takes place. Our Rochdale Home Linux server will provide free web hosting to cooperative learning groups related to our Six Pillars: Community Building, Environmental Sustainability, Healthy Living, Social Responsibility, Cooperative Learning, and Leadership. The Coop Library will be open to groups joining our network (please see www.washucoop-library.com). While the Cervantes Learning Cooperative will continue these traditions of informal cooperative learning and teaching, the Cervantes Free University offers non-credit college level courses on a "teaching for tips" basis, with a money-back guarantee, and an option for formal evaluation, including a detailed letter to support an application for academic credit from an accredited college. Anyone with appropriate credentials who is willing to follow these rules may teach in the Cervantes Free University. CFU has no campus, but we will use facilities of the WashU Coop and other neighborhood organizations. The North American Students of Cooperation (NASCO) and its local affiliate, CoLibri Coop, have expressed interest in these initiatives, especially the open Multifocus course "Cooperative Living, Community Building, and Sustainability." With their help, we will experiment with pod-casting, wikis, and other innovative techniques. In the years to come there will be growing demand for affordable college courses. Every university community contains many highly qualified and experienced college teachers, with extensive portfolios of syllabi and other course materials, who have been laid off or resigned. Many have put down roots in the community, and do not wish to move. College tuition is inflated and unaffordable, and many now question the value of a college education. Why not cut out the middle man? College teachers with the true vocation will find a way to teach, with or without pay. The Cervantes Free University will provide a way for them to do so. We support lecture, tutorial, seminar, and experimental course formats. We support the intellectual property rights of college teachers to their course titles, syllabi, and materials. We support the creation of a college teacher's union, including independent teachers and scholars. We hope the community will support our efforts, and tip our teachers adequately. We take our name from the creator of Don Quixote, whose literary character may have been a noble fool, but who was no fool himself. Cervantes stands for practical idealism. Courses offered in the past include Introduction to Sanskrit and Pali. CFU 100 May the Force Be With You: Science Fiction and Religion (Su 08 TBA) [Taught at WashU Su 05, 06, 07] CFU 200 Multifocus: Cooperative Living, Community Building, and Sustainability (Au, Spr TBA) [Taught at WashU Aut 03, Aut-Spr 04-05, Aut-Spr 05-06, Aut-Spr 06-07] CFU 210 Hindu Civilization (Au TBA) [Taught as "Hinduism: An Introduction" and "Hindu Traditions" at WashU Aut 99-07] CFU 360 Yoga Traditions (Au TBA) [Taught at WashU Au 00, 02, 04, 06] CFU 360 Miracles, Marvels, and Magic (Spr TBA) [Taught at WashU Spr 01, 03, 05, 07] CFU 370 Karma and Rebirth (Au, Spr TBA) [Taught at WashU Spr 00, 02, 04, 06] CFU 350 Hindu Medicine and Indian Food (Su 07/08, Au, Spr TBA) [Taught at Penn as SARS 107, "India's Food and Civilization," Su 96, Taught at WashU Su 01, Au 02, 03, 04, 05, 06] CFU 400 Sanskrit and Pali (Su 07/08, Au, Spr TBA) Learning Cooperative: Teach Each Other! CLC 100 Social Thought Reading Group (TBA) CLC 101 Science Fiction and Fantasy Reading Group (TBA) CLC 102 Sophia Religious Studies Discussion Group (TBA) CLC 200-400 Miscellaneous Topics (TBA)