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University Rating For Impact & Communities (Refinement Questions; User Journey; Potential Metrics)

An alternative ranking system for universities which provides new insights for students entering the higher education system.

Photo of William Morris
27 12

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N.B. Credit for the idea goes to a team from the Shanghai Chapter OpenIDEO event - Edupractical (see video). 

The problem:

Students are very uninformed on what are the best universities for them and often don’t decisions suitable for their future. Currently, students simply look at university ranking systems that are often based on arbitrary factors that don’t relate back to applicable ways in a student’s career. 

The solution:

Create a new alternative platform that focuses specifically on rating the university’s ability to help grow future leaders in terms of impact. This is looking at how they develop communities, interaction, and systems that connect the local to the global. 

By changing how we measure success, we change how universities are run. By rating universities on their ability to create leaders that create positive impact for communities, it is applying pressure for them to improve their education processes and curriculum. At the same time, it allows for students to make one of the most important decisions of their lives in an informed manner. 

We also want to incorporate a platform for knowledge sharing between students and potential students where honest, anonymous advice is given. This means that students can best align this goals and vision with universities through a deeper way than simply rankings or open day visits. 

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

Our idea is for students currently searching for an undergraduate or postgraduate institution. It allows students - who are more connected and globally aware than ever before - to find a degree and career path that is as innovative and purpose driven as they are. It gives the students an opportunity to thrive outside the box of an increasingly uni-dimensional and unfulfilling higher education system.

This idea emerged from:

  • An OpenIDEO outpost or chapter

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

Student surveys. One interviewing students currently applying to universities to understand their criteria for selecting a university and career path and one to students who have just or are imminently graduating. We will want to understand to what extent student’s expectations were met by their choices and how those change over the course of a degree. Of special interest are “I wish I would have known…” statements.

How would you describe this idea while in an elevator with someone? 2-3 sentences.

We are creating a tool that ranks universities based on their social impact, connectedness with local and international communities, and their resources for students to emerge as impactful global citizens. This is a reimagining of the value of the education system away from: “student as what value they will add to the economy” and moving towards valuing the impact the graduates will have on their communities, both large and small.

What is the specific problem your idea is trying to solve? 1 sentence.

Providing deeper insights into what a university offers past reputation, research, and job potential.

How is your idea different or unique from what is currently on the market?

Current measures of ‘impact’ of universities focus on specific degree paths, such as an MBA program at a certain business school. We exist not in a vacuum, but in a system, so our tool will look at the entire university as a community to asses to what level the school as a whole is engaged in not only creating better leaders but strengthening and supporting communities.

How do you plan to measure the impact of your idea?

The app would collect data on the number of hits to the site and number of registered users. After the first year at university and after graduation users would be surveyed about their current satisfaction level with the program they chose.

How might your idea be transferable to a large number of people?

Our tool will treat the global university market as one large system. Students from all over the world won’t need to access list after list to assemble a vague idea of the impact of a university. Students who previously never considered attending university outside their home country can be exposed to novel ideas and approaches, making them better players in the global society of the future.

What are your immediate next steps after the challenge?

Start to developing a deeper understanding of what students want. We have a number of perfectly situated individuals within the Shanghai community who can work with us to get this information from students. Once that is understand begin to develop a process for ranking universities and reaching out to students, professors, and other relevant parties.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Anna Beridze


The idea of catering closer to students' needs in order to help them apply to academic institutions better suited for them is a great idea. Because most rating agencies tend to collect quantitate data, which is less disputable than the qualitative data you want to collect, how will you be measuring the qualitative data's reliability. I guess I'm interested in how you will be able to filter out the bias factors when collecting your survey?

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