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  • Writer's pictureMario Nicolais

Struggling higher education institutions could learn a thing or two from my brother

On the second floor of a nondescript office building near the corner of Colfax and Wadsworth sits a small studio where every year hundreds of people receive a Harvard education.

From that small room multiple courses beam across the globe to every continent but Antarctica. When students log in, the subtly smug instructor grinning back at them is my younger brother, Teo.

As colleges and universities across the county struggle with reopening plans amid a pandemic, most of his courses have hardly registered a blip. 

Last year he had 967 students enrolled in the real estate courses he teaches for the Harvard Extension School. It is likely to top 1,000 this year as summer school enrollments increased. More people with more time have looked for more avenues to prepare for a post-COVID world.

For the past several years, his online course sizes finished only behind a renowned Harvard computer-science professor. But it isn’t a shock tech savvy programmers would be comfortable in that type of environment. Real estate finance and development, on the other hand, is literally about the brick and mortar of physical locations.

It will be those types of subjects, more difficult to translate into a digital world, that will challenge teachers and students the most.

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