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July 09, 2009

Academic Brand Extensions

Un_university The United Nations recently launched what they claim to be the world’s first tuition-free online university. Dubbed University of the People, the site aims to bring education to the masses. Shai Reshef, head of the venture, has ambitions of giving free textbooks, e-learning, and peer-to-peer teaching to hundreds of millions of people with no access to conventional teaching methods. According to the UN, students will be placed in classes of 20, after which they can log on to a weekly lecture, discuss it with their peers, and take tests online. Volunteer professors, graduate students, and students in other classes offer additional training. Visit the University of the People here.

Jackwelch Those with perhaps a less overtly altruistic bent might consider another educational brand extension – the Jack Welch online MBA. The Jack Welch Management Institute is slated to begin classes this autumn, with an MBA running a mere $20,000 (versus some $100,000 the old-fashioned way). "We think it will make the MBA more accessible to those who are hungry to play," Businessweek quotes Welch as saying. "And they can keep their job while doing it." More here.

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Brand extensions are all around us — clothing from the Sierra Club, furniture polish from Steinway and, yes, even the kitchen sink from Jacuzzi. TippingSprung, a New York-based brand-extension consultancy, publishes an annual survey on brand extensions with Brandweek. If you spot a noteworthy extension for the blog or survey, email us.

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