Why does Mendicant University exist?

sandal edited this page Jun 18, 2012 · 1 revision

Why does Mendicant University exist?

With so many different ways to learn technical skills online, it is a fair question to ask why yet another "programming school" needs to exist. Despite the fact that our school came into existence before teaching software development online was a trendy thing to do, the thing that makes Mendicant University unique has always been social, not technical.

While we definitely strive to provide excellent learning resources to help programmers improve their craft, we also have a strong desire to build a culture that promotes "programming with a sense of purpose". In particular, we are a community of software developers who care about digital literacy, free culture, and social responsibility:

  • We care about digital literacy because much of what we do in life has become heavily dependent on technology. All people need to understand enough about technology to avoid being continuously exploited by it, and programmers in particular need to understand the things that they build so that they can be responsible for their own creations.

  • We care about free culture because we believe it is the best way to cultivate creativity and freedom on a global scale. Free cultural works such as free software and free documentation help break down walls that have stood in our way since the beginning of time. With that in mind, we will do what we can to continue supporting the free-flow of information, ideas, and cultural artifacts.

  • Lastly, we care about social responsibility because in a highly connected world, there is no such thing as action without external consequences. While it is impossible to predict how your own actions will affect the rest of the world, an important first step is to recognize that we exist within both a local and global society, and that acting primarily out of self-interest is not an ethical way to live.

While these values are compatible with the goals of many other online learning communities, our specific focus on them is what defines our school. In the end, technology is about people, and these people-centric principles help us remember that point as often as possible.