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Thoughtstarter: Other Perspectives Tool - tapping into different views and perspectives (Please Build On This)

An online/in person people bank to tap into different perspectives for in class discussions, general learning and advise for the students

Photo of Kate Rushton
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'While the number of people in higher education has increased, the income divide on college campuses has widened'.

Source: University World News 

Many different perspectives are not being considered. 

Therefore, my idea is to offer greater perspectives in class discussions and debates and other areas of life for students.

People locally and from all parts of the world would offer their perspectives and views on different topics that are considered in class discussions and generally in an individual student’s life. 

A ‘bank’ of people with their profiles could be created for this purpose tapping into higher education institutions, alumni networks and informal connections for this purpose. 


Someone on a remote island in Tonga could read the reading material and offer their view in-class or if this is not feasible before the class for consideration e.g. by being paired up with a student on campus who could relay their perspective or send a pre-recorded perspective to be considered. 

A local lawyer could be booked to offer in formal advice for perspective law students on campus. 

For a class discussion on the Kyoto Protocol, the other perspectives that could be considered:

  • a 20-year-old student in Samoa
  • a retired Alaskan oil work 
  • a government official in Kuwait
  • a worker at an environmental NGO in Chile

For a class discussion on the future of Artificial Intelligence, the other perspectives that could be considered:

  • University expert in AI
  • VC in AI
  • Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies
  • students studying the course online

I am unable to develop this idea. Please if someone wants to develop this idea or a similar one, feel free to do so.

Could this be used to tap into the different perspectives from people in the local communities?

Could this be used for online students to give them a route to engage more in the discourse at their college campus?

How could you overcome the technical and logistics challenges? How could you create your bank of people?

Could this ‘different perspectives’ approach be informal and students could tap into the perspectives of different people via a booking system?

Could this be digital and include an international perspective and/or physical and include a local perspective?

Could this be used by students to get career advice and support?

Who is your idea designed for and how does it reimagine higher education to support the needs of tomorrow?

This is for higher education lecturers, traditional students, online students, alumni, local people and people from all over the world. This allows students to tap into and consider different perspectives in class and also gain advice from different people so they can make more informed decisions and gain a greater understanding of different viewpoints, and hopefully become more empathetic. It allows higher education lecturers to tap into more varied resources for their courses.

This idea emerged from:

  • An individual

What skills, input or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

Please build on this idea.

What early, lightweight experiment might you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

Please build on this idea.

Tell us about your work experience:

I am the Community Guide for this challenge.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Celia Gates

Hi Kate - I'm fascinated by your idea. There are huge parallels with my concept; the Global Brainstorm. Perhaps we could further connect and discuss? Happy Easter if you celebrate (a good excuse for chocolate either way) ;-)

Photo of Kate Rushton

Hi Celia!

Thank you for your comments! Is this your project -

I only posted this as the Community Guide for this challenge as a thoughtstarter to drive discussion and new ideas in our higher education challenge.

However, there are a few ideas you might want to look at e.g. MindFeels - Learn and understand each other better through stories 

I suspect you know the Human Library but I just want to mention it -

Feel free to send me an email at to tell me more about the project. I might have a few ideas but there may be a delay in my response because two of our challenges are in a transition period.

Happy Easter to you too! I have a chocolate egg beside me as I am typing away.

Photo of Andres Felipe Vera Ramirez

Hi Kate,

I really like this idea (specially nowadays, when we need to look for ways to embrace refugees in creative ways). The funny thing about this is that perhaps universities does look for diversity, but no the basic and higher education (at least in my country we have very few diversity, sadly).

Would be cool if we could have things like this HBX classroom of Harvard ( at schools. Also, I think we need more in-person activities that allow us to empathize and learn from others (this is one of the key things for transferring knowledge, and knowhow).

Kind regards from Colombia,

Photo of Andrea Zelenak

I think this would be really cool if this were combined with a purpose/project based curriculum. I can picture students solving problems with their studies and getting input from these experts as well.

But also, when you're part of a huge class with only one professor, adding more people you can discuss and ask questions with would be beneficial. Maybe they could have "office hours" like other professors as well.

Photo of Jessica Vechakul

Could universities offer courses that have a concurrent partner course in another country? The partner courses could follow the same curriculum so students can engage throughout the course with students from another culture and region of the world.

As for local engagement, if there are service learning projects that are intended to benefit a local community, the community members' perspectives can be integrated into the project. Even better, the community members can be engaged throughout the learning and problem solving process.

I cannot champion this this idea but I wanted to contribute a few thoughts to get the discussion rolling :).

Photo of Kate Rushton

Hi Jessica! Thank you for your comments and advice. I know that one of my former Universities (Nottingham) pairs up with Ningbo and there is a lot of cross-collaboration but I am not sure how concurrently the courses run. I really like the idea of service learning projects with community involvement. :-) Have a Happy New Year! Kate