Did You Know?

  • The first university was founded in 387 B.C. when Plato established his school at a garden named after a Greek hero named Academus. Like Coliseum (named after Nero’s Colossus), the name has taken on a special significance and “academy” is used with respect almost 2,400 years later.  The initial academy was truly open – scholars engaged in debate in a garden without walls or other barriers.

    Plato’s academy was open because he didn’t need walls for safety.  The human voice could be heard by anyone in the vicinity, so attendance could be open and unstructured.  In a sense, the advent of high speed computer access has enhanced the human voice.  With modern technology, the same learning can now be imparted across a vastly larger audience.

Welcome to the Future of Learning


Education is changing in exciting ways thanks to new computer technologies. At the forefront of this change, the PSU Challenge Program and McCullough Research are  sponsoring the Academus Project, a classroom adventure in “learning without walls.”

Academus enhances student achievement and improves college readiness by introducing computer technology to dual credit high school and college classes.  This project builds on the already successful and established Challenge Program in which college courses such as Composition, Survey of British Literature, World Literature, Spanish, French, History of Western Civilization, United States History, Calculus, and Probability and Statistics are taught on site at Portland area high schools by high school faculty working in partnership with PSU faculty.


Computer-Enhanced Learning

Beginning with one teacher’s English classes at Grant High School, students have been given laptop computers linked to the PSU library and its vast electronic storehouse of global resources.  With this access, traditional readings in a literature course now include literary glossaries and concordances, intertextual readings, literary and nonliterary online texts, and primary and secondary research material of all sorts including author and sociohistorical sites.  Traditional writings in a writing course now include increased technological competence, writing processes of inventing, drafting, revising, and editing using technology, online communication with the instructor and other students, electronic research, citation manuals, and the opportunity to create electronic portfolios, which are used increasingly for college applications.


Limitless Learning Opportunities

Now the project is expanding to more classrooms in not only English but other disciplinary fields in high schools throughout the Portland metro area and beyond.  By providing so much knowledge at the students’ fingertips, Academus is forging a close link between the University and the community and truly creating a boundless classroom of “learning without walls.”