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SOCIALLY IMMERSED UNIVERSITY 

We believe everyone has the right to be equipped with the necessary skills to thrive in life.

 

Socially Immersed University was a free initiative where career professionals became the teacher. Most of the classes were geared towards ages 11-19. This initiative has been halted until further notice, however our Pinterest boards are still up. We only have a few videos from this initiative up on YouTube since we used Zoom.

Ex of Desired Topics:

1. Nutrition

  • to include cooking classes

2. Home Fitness

3. Civic Engagement 

4. Coding

5. Career Development

6. College Readiness

7. Financial literacy 

8. Business 101 (all industries)

9. Culture Exploration (All cultures)

10. Do It Yourself Projects 

11. Public Speaking

12. Social Justice ​101

13. Basic Life Skills/ Adulting 101

14. Correcting Stereotypes 101

15. Advice Q&A

16. Art (All mediums)

17. Self Defense 

18. Handyman/Handywoman 101

19. Environment Education

20. Re-purpose 101

How Did it Work?

Problem: Covid-19 shut the world down causing humans to be inside. Student were on a continuous Spring Break with no educational materials. 

Light Bulb Poster

1st: The Idea

We wondered what it would be like to utilize this time to create a curriculum that not only we desired but also one that would prepare more students for 'real life.

We wondered what it would be like to have international teachers and to foster cross-cultural learning.

We then generated topics that we believed would be beneficial and left space for others to propose additional ones.

We wanted this to be 100% free for students, especially with the unknown financial burden COVID brought/ enhanced for many.

Teacher

2nd: Recruitment 

We wanted to determine if there were individuals willing to teach, so we began recruiting before finalizing our planning.

Given that we were all unexpectedly confined to our homes for an extended period, we considered anyone who had been laid off or was self-employed as potential instructors.

To facilitate the process, we designed a sign-up sheet to collect their information, including the subjects they wished to teach.

We identified potential teachers by monitoring layoff announcements and reaching out to HR departments, as well as by participating in relevant Facebook groups and on LinkedIn.

Teachers were fully aware that this opportunity was a 100% volunteer commitment.

Cinder Blocks

3rd: Logistics

We recognized the importance of a secure hosting platform, so we opted for Zoom to conduct all interactive sessions, primarily to ensure the safety and security of our participants from weirdos.

 

For sessions with more of a 'lecture' format, we utilized StreamYards to stream them on our social media platforms.

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To promote our sessions effectively, we designed eye-catching graphics using Canva. We created a standardized flyer, thumbnail, and social media post template that we used for each session.

To ensure clarity in lesson execution, we conducted quick follow-up calls with our teachers.

For planning and organization, we relied heavily on Google Suite, particularly Google Sheets and Docs. We created a comprehensive schedule using Google Calendar, which we embedded into our website and also shared via our newsletter.

Image by Sara Kurfeß

4th: Awareness

We actively engaged with over 100 Facebook groups where we knew parents and teachers frequented, allowing us to share our links and expand our newsletter subscriber base. 

Additionally, we reached out to nonprofit organizations that had previously hosted youth programs before the onset of the pandemic.

We also established direct communication with teachers, utilizing the contact information available on their school websites. They also assisted with giving resources for us to share out.

Volunteers who led sessions also shared our iniaitve with their networks. 

Session in Progress

5th: The Actual Session

We ensured that students received advance reminders containing the Zoom link and a list of materials required for the day's session.

 

We strongly encouraged workshops that utilized software accessible to students from home at no cost to their parents. Although we occasionally received access codes for paid software without free plans, we made every effort to minimize any financial burden on parents.

  • Ex: A Graphic Designer lead a workshop using Canvas Free plan instead of Adobe Suite.

Resources were given via email and maintained via a free Google Drive folder, where they remained accessible for six months.

Image by Crawford Jolly

The End

The sessions spanned a 3.5-month period, with classes held on various days throughout the week.

 

While most of our classes catered to English speakers only, we made sure to provide subtitle translations and demonstration videos to ensure accessibility for a wider audience.

Throughout this journey, we were humbled to see the work of our talented students shared on social media, which resulted in an impressive 50k impressions that summer across three continents.

A heartfelt THANK YOU to everyone who participated!

This initiative took us 2 weeks to set up and execute.

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