Using OurPangea Within Our Universities & Educational Departments
Universities are society’s greatest resource and crowning achievement. They are at the center of cultivating and crafting knowledge, philosophy, research, health, and art. Most importantly, though, they are hubs of community, sparkplugs of innovation, and the vibrant center of thousands upon millions of lives, ideas, and creations. It is for this reason that OurPangea decided to begin its groundwork mission here, at the University of Texas. UT’s own slogan states it plainly: “What starts here changes the world.” This message could also apply just as easily to the concept of any university – a strong, cohesive community of like-minded and similar individuals dedicated to learning and broadening their perspective of the world. Additionally, each university community consists of dozens of sub-groups in the form of student clubs, fraternities, sports teams, classes, and even personal social circles. In short, a university is the perfect place to kickstart a new initiative connecting these communities and helping them grow. To fully document and present all the possible communities within a university could take lifetimes! But for now, we will explore some of the more immediate and relevant ideas OurPangea is currently exploring alongside dedicated members of university communities to impact the future of education.
In the real world, any community is inherently the sum of its parts – What happens within each community defines what it truly is. Using the above example, sub-groups within a college or university interact and those interactions combine to form how the greater community is perceived. On a smaller scale, the students within each group are the lifeblood of the entire community of learning and living. Students create and define university culture. Groups of students within residence halls, within majors, or within clubs and groups all create their own communities in the context of the larger university community. A University would benefit from every students interaction because everything will impact what their greater community ‘is.’ And students using OurPangea have the power to shape what their community looks like easily through their day to day interactions.
In a practical sense, OurPangea might be a professor’s greatest tool. The system allows a teacher to create a group for each of his classes and facilitate discussions outside of the classroom. OurPangea would also lead to greater class cohesion to help break down barriers between students and create that unified class community, bridging together perspectives from wide-ranging student groups and individuals alike.
When the scale goes up to the level of an entire university, all the smaller community organization really starts to culminate. OurPangea allows for universities to construct their own identities, using both the “big picture” and every tiny detail that comprises them. A university would express its large-scale goals with it, down to each department and how that department is contributing to the university. From there, departments could construct their goals for each individual professor, class, and student. The university would be able to create the identity online it truly is in real life, and manage community groups, large and small. Using this, alumni could look back and interact with the university, or prospective students could explore as if being a new member of the community. The unique interactions of the professors and students contribute directly to what makes each class, each department, and each university unique, and this will be reflected in the communities that they build together through OurPangea.