Academic Programs
Small Seminars

Learn in a Dynamic Setting

Unlike the passive lectures most university students endure, all Minerva classes are small seminars, which focus on discussion, debate, and collaborative work sessions. This active learning approach stimulates deep cognition, enhancing your understanding of course material and furthering your ability to apply concepts to unfamiliar situations in novel ways.

Your classes are conducted using the Active Learning Forum™, an online technology platform built specifically to facilitate interaction via live video. In each session, your professor prompts you and fewer than 20 classmates to participate in the lively exchange of ideas and deep engagement with course material that are the hallmarks of active learning.

You move fluidly between discussion, breakout groups, debates, simulations, quizzes, polls, and team presentations, as you travel throughout each city and around the world. These innovative features, as well as class recordings, participation data, and performance tracking over time, make the Active Learning Forum crucial to the Minerva pedagogy.

Bethany on ALF
Take Class Anywhere /

One of the exciting advantages of the Active Learning Forum is the ability to conduct and attend classes from any location with a broadband internet connection. This provides a great deal of flexibility, allowing you to use each city as your extended campus. You are free to join class from local cafés, libraries, co-working spaces, and even outdoor settings with strong wifi.

Bethany Jana, U.S., taking class from her room in the San Francisco residence hall.

Photo: Tim Matsui

Improved Instruction

The Active Learning Forum is designed to improve instruction by allowing your professors to provide frequent, detailed evaluation of your performance. This individualized feedback is based on data collected continuously during each class. As you participate, your professors gain deep insight into your strengths, level of understanding, and areas for improvement. Every session is recorded, providing an accessible archive of class activity.

In addition, a sophisticated learning management system enhances your studies outside of class. You are able to access assignments easily, track your progress across courses, and effectively direct your academic development.

The Active Learning Forum /

The Active Learning Forum is designed specifically to improve your educational experience, with video-based seminars that provide: 

  • Intimate interaction with your professor and fewer than 20 students 
  • Individualized instruction and frequent feedback 
  • Attendance from anywhere with broadband internet 
  • Simplified schedule and assignment management 
  • Enhanced performance review and progress tracking

Bethany Jana, USA, joins a Complex Systems seminar from Minerva's San Francisco residence hall.

Photo: Tim Matsui

Sophisticated Educational Tools

Advanced interactive features let you move dynamically from group discussion into other instruction modes, including breakout groups, debates, quizzes and polls, collaborative document creation and editing, and real-time simulations. These tools help to ensure that every class is both intellectually stimulating and academically rigorous.

As the platform for your coursework, the Active Learning Forum enhances your intellectual growth by enabling interactions not possible in a traditional classroom setting:


ALF classroom breakout groupInstantaneous Breakout Groups
Breakout groups enable professors to facilitate smaller group work quickly and easily. Within seconds, you and your classmates can be divided up based on specific criteria such as key strengths, areas for improvement, or individual specialization. Any resulting output is then automatically integrated into the class and associated with each of the individual participants.


ALF classroom pollQuizzes, Polls, and Simulations
Periodic quizzes and polls help your professors determine students’ overall understanding of specific topics during — not after — class time. They also promote engagement from you and your classmates by providing meaningful pauses in the discussion. Similarly, real-time simulations enable rapid evaluation of hypotheses for subjects ranging from social behavior to physical and biological dynamics.


ALF document collaborationCollaborative Documents
Collaborative documents facilitate active and interactive learning during class – in real time. Professors and students demonstrate and write on documents, show photos, pull up websites and play videos. You can take notes, edit documents, see classmates’ contributions, and receive an archive of notes after class.


individualized feedbackIndividualized Feedback
Feedback sessions with your professors improve upon what is possible with one-on-one meetings. You and your professor both have insights into class time data, quiz scores, grading, and other measurable information. During your meetings, you can both watch and review video from previous classes, allowing for precise feedback — in context — on aspects of your personal performance.