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Jois-connected Contemplative Sciences Center to offer free online courses

March 14, 2013

I’ve been periodically checking in with the Paul Tudor and Sonia Jones-backed Contemplative Sciences Center at the University of Virginia since its $12-million funding was announced a year ago.

There hasn’t been a lot to see, I have to admit. But today, for whatever reason, I finally found the Center’s UVa web home. In other words, those of you who want to know more about this program, with its more-or-less Jois/Ashtanga connections, now have something to investigate. (It’s copyrighted 2013, so I’m assuming it is relatively new.)

What jumped out at me is:

  • The “Contemplative University” will begin offering free online courses via Coursera in spring 2014. From the website: “The Contemplative University will thus function as a virtual University for members of the public, as well as a powerful resource for on grounds teachers, researchers, and students. The Contemplative University will be a profoundly dynamic site where partners from all across the world and social sectors will be empowered to contribute to form a remarkable distributed network of knowledge production about contemplation in all aspects.”
  • The first “Contemplative Institute” will also happen in spring 2014. Again from the site: “The Contemplative Institute is an annual private symposium hosted at UVa each year to explore the possibilty [sic] of transformative impact by new contemplative approaches in a specific social sector.”
  • The “Contemplative Encyclopedia”  will be “a massive and unprecedented reference resource that will provide an elaborate guide to the true diversity and depth of the world’s traditional and modern contemplative practices and traditions, as well as contemporary research and applications. The Encyclopedia will provide, through this structured and deeply layered outline, a way for scholars, students, and the general public to explore these traditions in the past and present, and view audio-video, texts, translations, photographs, and much more.”
  • There also is a page seeking proposals, but it seems limited to UVa faculty and staff.

That encyclopedia sounds interesting, right? At the same time, it also is a bit quaint in our Internet / wikipedia era. But the way lots of yogis/Ashtangis love their deep resources, this could be a hit for a certain circle of the Internet.

The site looks to be still in somewhat a development stage; its contact page promises “More information is coming soon.”

Posted by Steve

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