In the Beginning: Lex Cybernetoria (1998)
While New World University’s degree programmes are new, its history can be traced back to discussions that took place at a pair of conferences called Lex Cybernetoria sponsored by the Centres of the Study of Emerging Institutions in Reykjavík, Iceland in October of 1998 and Nevis, West Indies in 2000. These conferences brought together one hundred or so luminaries in the fields of academia, entrepreneurship, technology, and policy for frank discussions on how our world would be changed by what was then the still new advent of the popular Internet.
The associations, discussions, and ideas spurred there were the legacy of these conferences. In particular, many Lex Cybernetoria attendees were especially interested in how the Internet might be used to facilitate access to higher education, particularly in low and middle income countries.
A New Organisation: Free Curricula Centre (2003)
On 4th December 2003, two Lex Cybernetoria alumni founded the Free Curricula Centre, a new organisation meant to promote the development of open educational resources as a way to approach one the most significant costs for tertiary students: textbooks. Because this is when discussion became action, we consider this to be the founding date of our organisation as a whole.
FCC was keen to bring together anyone who was interested in finding innovative ways to increase the number of textbooks that were freely available. Initiatives included “Twenty-First Century Editions”, an attempt to start with textbooks that were old enough to be in the public domain, and then revise them with enough current material for them to be useful in the present. FCC also hosted working papers on topics relevant to open educational resources and free culture.
Expanding Responsibilities: New World University (2010)
After a number of years of activity, it was decided that the Free Curricula Centre should expand not only to promote development and use of open educational resources, but also to use them itself to offer its own educational programmes. This new initiative was to be called New World University, and it would effect a reorganisation such that FCC would become a centre of research and practice within the new overall institution.
This initiative took several years to bring to fruition, both in terms of planning and development, and the result is that in 2013 New World University began offering degree programmes and is now headquartered in Roseau, Commonwealth of Dominica, West Indies. And the best is yet to come!