Corvid College was co-founded in Boston in October 2009 by Dr. Eric Buck, Christian Greer, and Pasqualino Colombaro as an anarchic experiment in education. It has since established a second branch in San Francisco. It is non-hierarchically organized and decentralized as there are no offices, administrators, or preset course meeting spaces, and does not confer official credentials to its students. Teachers and students at Corvid are joined in voluntary association to explore and share in nontraditional ways of learning and subject material.
The word corvid is a name applied to the Corvidae, the family of birds that includes crows, ravens, jays, magpies and jackdaws. The name symbolizes the non-hierarchical and diversely social nature of Corvid College.
Corvid College was founded in Boston in the fall of 2009 in Boston. A new branch sprouted in San Francisco in the winter of 2011.
Corvid is a ‘self-managed in spirit, horizontal in structure,’ ongoing experiment in educational pedagogy, content, and structure. Corvid uses the college model as well as monetary exchange (as opposed to other educational processes like the freeskool or the skillshare group) to encourage sustained student commitment in a model of education as self-cultivation.
Unlike free schools, Corvid courses are not usually offered gratis. Prices are determined by the instructors and students on a flexible, sliding scale with the possibility for barters instead of money exchange and no potential student is turned away from participating in a course for lack of funds. One instructor has utilized a “reverse bribery” system in which “he charges $200 up front and refunds $20 every time a student attends class” as an attendance incentive. “If a student doesn’t attend, he spends the $20 on wine and snacks for the rest.”
What is taught, how, and where is determined by teacher expertise and student demand. In theory, any topic may be taught for any price so long as a teacher and their students agree to it. “Hoedowns” in which students and teachers congregate, socialize, and discuss potential course offerings inaugurate each upcoming term. Previous course offerings have included: Street Art, Philosophy as a Way of Life, Magic: the Gathering, Cover Fire: A Survey of Blackouts, The Wild Within Us, and Unexpected Flesh: Experimenting with Strange Embodiment in Life, Art, and Speculative Fiction, amongst others.
- On the structure and dynamics of Corvid societies, see Bernd Heinrich's Mind of the Raven (New York: Harper Collins, 1999) and Marzluff and Angell's In the Company of Crows and Ravens (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2005)
- What's Left. MIT Campus Radio. WMBR 88.1FM, Boston, Massachusetts, 30 Dec. 2011. WMBR 88.1FM / MIT Campus Radio. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 30 Dec. 2011. Web. 3 Mar. 2012. <http://wmbr.org/m3u/What%27s_Left_20111230_1800.m3u>.