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Open-Source Curriculum & Collaboration

A human-centered, student-derived curriculum, based on cross-cultural, student and teacher collaborations.

Photo of Aaron Wong
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In modern, 21st-century education, we push both students and educators to be global collaborators, critical thinkers, and creative communicators. We ask them to be more agile, to prepare for the dynamic, yet ambiguous workplace ahead of them, but, we do very little in higher-ed and K-12 education to prepare both students and teachers to navigate these difficult challenges. 

How do we build capacity with our educators, and how do we prepare our students for this ever-changing world? We need educators to collaborate in groups to develop their curriculum and teaching styles, just as much as we need students to collaborate on their  group projects and communication. Perhaps this pedagogy can mimic real-world workplace problems that they'll face in the future.

I was inspired by my personal higher-ed experience at the California College of the Arts' MBA in Design Strategy (DMBA for short), while working as a ProInspire fellow in a DC Public Charter schools, and deliberating this idea with DC OpenIDEO chapter-mates. This experience taught me the value of critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity, among many other values in education in modern education - most importantly, how little it was strategically taught.

With my experiences this past year, I believe that authentic teaching moments where students are equipped to make critical decisions about their own education will provide students the greatest educational benefit. The job of the teacher is to lay the foundation and give students the guidance to think independently, and act collaboratively. How we can do this is through a well-designed frameworks for a community of teachers around the world can work together, while another community of students from around the world can work together as well.

CCA DMBA Open-Source Curricula
The MBA in Design Strategy program has been continuously publishing some of its curricula as free syllabi and teaching materials to help instructors teach key topics for the future.
So far, these courses are studio courses, meant to teach students by making and doing, instead of merely reading and regurgitating.
These ready-to-use syllabi can easily be customized for different situations. They are primarily created for design and business programs at the graduate and undergraduate level, but can be adopted for teaching to most any audience at most any level.
These curricula are published under the following Creative Commons license.

I belong to a MBA program at CCA where nearly half of my classmates are commuters from across the globe. We have residencies once a month for face-to-face group work, lectures, and discussions. The rest of the time, I meet with my teammates over Zoom meetings that mimic real-world workplace experiences. We are given the right to challenge our professors, respectfully, to construct more meaningful learning experiences for everyone.

My idea is to develop new educational standards across higher-ed, and a more structured platform where teachers and students can easily connect with others student from another school, or program in another part of the world; to share and collaborate on documents (possibly in different languages), and live video-chat (possibly with translations), so that higher-ed can truly by global, interdisciplinary, and collaborative.

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

The idea is designed for students and educators around the world in similar or other interdisciplinary majors. My idea serves 21st-century educational needs to be global communicators, collaborators, and creative critical thinkers. My idea not only gives educators better guidelines, and actionable steps to ready their students for the real world, but also gives both educators, and students a better platform to easily meet, video chat, share, and collaborate with others around the world.

This idea emerged from:

  • A student brainstorm
  • An OpenIDEO outpost or chapter
  • An individual

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

I need help bringing this idea to life! This idea would require access to higher-ed programs to research, develop, test, and refine the teaching standards and the functionality of the web platform. I would also need a team to develop this web platform with cloud file sharing, video chatting, and community discussion boards - think about it as a conglomeration of Google Drive/Mural, Zoom/Skype, and Blackboard/Moodle in one easy to navigate service.

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

I've been conducting regular observations on two schools in DC, using their classroom as the labratory, to providing feedback, guidelines, and actionable steps for teachers to develop themselves and their students as global communicators, creatives, collaborators, and critical thinkers. I've conducted my own research as well as partnered with educational institutes such as the Erikson Institute to develop new standards for the school. Results have been astounding with how technology is now used.

Tell us about your work experience:

My background was in interior design, where I ventured into workplace strategy and change management. That lead me to research interior design's influence on education, to designing Verizon's training rooms of the future, and then to my current fellowship at ProInspire with Eagle Academy PCS in Washington DC. Here, I'm on a mission to change workplace and school culture to implement new technology standards, for educators, principals, and students in order to deliver higher student outcomes.

1 comment

Join the conversation:

Photo of Kate Rushton

Hi Aaron,

I really like the fact that you are conducting research on interior design's influence on education.

Would your idea incorporate the principles of Kickstart A Korse - Crowdfunding Education and S2T2S O2O2O2O ?