A Plastic and Pandemic Educational Protocol for University

Team Member Names:

  • Shirley Goose
  • Zilai Wang

Short Summary of Ideas


The etymology of “university” derives from the Latin word “$Universitas$”, which originally did not solely refer to a place of learning but was a term used to describe a whole community or society—a place where a variety of ideas and disciplines could flourish together. This connection between “university,” “universe,” and “universal” highlights the inherent concept of universality in the institution—a comprehensive system encompassing diverse knowledge and ideas.

University as a Protocol

  1. Universality and Accessibility
    A protocol is a standard or set of guidelines that can be universally accessed and utilized across different systems and platforms.
    Universal as a protocol, provides a standardized framework for education that can be accessed by a diverse population. It aims to offer a broad spectrum of disciplines and ideas that are universally relevant—mirroring the vastness and inclusivity of the universe itself.
  2. Integration of Diverse Systems
    Protocol ensures that different systems can communicate and function together effectively.
    University serves as a meeting point for various academic disciplines, cultures, and perspectives, facilitating an integrated learning environment. This resembles a protocol in that it harmonizes diverse inputs (students and academics from various backgrounds) into a coherent output (educated, well-rounded graduates).
  3. Adaptability and Evolution
    Protocol must evolve over time to accommodate new technologies and changing requirements.
    University also needs to evolve and adapt its curricula and methods to new scientific discoveries, societal changes, and technological advancements to stay relevant and effective.
  4. Scalability and Expansion
    Protocols are designed to handle increasing amounts of data or users without losing effectiveness as time evolves.
    A good university must be able to scale its educational offerings, expanding to include new fields of study and accommodating more students while maintaining educational quality.
  5. Standardization with Flexibility
    While protocol sets standards in various areas, a good protocol also allows for some degree of flexibility to enable customization and innovation within certain boundaries.
    Even though university establishes core educational standards (e.g., degree requirements, accreditation standards), it also encourages intellectual freedom, creativity, and innovation within its framework.


The concept “plastic” refers to the plasticity of an educational protocol. Plasticity includes two aspects. First, the educational protocol is variable and always maintains its potentiality to break down its existing forms. Second, the educational protocol produces the new form by itself, instead of being imposed by another external rigid plan. In other words, the plasticity of self-production needs a special space in which diverse elements of the university encounter directly.


The concept “pandemic” is dedicated to make a new version of “universality”. “Pan-” means totality and “dem-” is related to democracy. In a viral pandemic, everyone inevitably at first thinks of their own life, that is to say thinking for their individuality. Similarly, a pandemic educational protocol will include different individuals as many as possible, and it hopes that more people can participate in this public issue out of their own individuality. This new mode will decline both visible central plans and invisible administrative principles, such as the invisible hand of the market.

Existing Problems

  1. Passivity of Students
    Similar to a protocol designer, the university sets the rules and standards. However, students as users of this protocol, often find themselves following a predefined path without much room for deviation or input. This can lead to a sense of passivity where students are recipients rather than active participants in their educational journey.
  2. Decreasing Satisfaction and Credibility
    In recent years, more and more students start to express their dissatisfaction with the outcomes of their university experience (e.g. job prospects, personal fulfillment, the applicability of learned knowledge). This disillusionment can be seen as a failure of the protocol to meet its users’ needs effectively.
  3. Lack of Effective Exchange Platforms
    Universities often lack sufficient open platforms for free exchange of ideas. Traditional lecture-based teaching can stifle discussion and interdisciplinary collaboration. Existing platforms like online forums or learning management systems (LMS) may not be effectively engaging. A more interactive platform that help facilitate better communication and idea exchange among students and faculty is urgently needed.
  4. Assessment and Evaluation
    Traditional assessment methods (e.g., exams and graded assignments) often do not accurately measure student learning and capabilities, similar to a protocol that does not effectively transmit data. A brand-new multi-dimensional and comprehensive evaluation system that provides a more accurate and holistic view of student achievement is needed.

Improvement Ideas

Return to Fundamentals

Goal Enhance understanding of what universities are intended to provide, their role in society, and the potential they offer for personal and professional development.


  • Awareness Campaigns: Launch campaigns that explain the evolving role of universities, both as centers of learning and as institutions that support broader societal needs like innovation and community development.

Peer Support

Goal Utilize peer resources to provide aims in experience and psychology aspects.


  • Student Orientation Programs: Revamp orientation programs to better communicate the opportunities available within the university setting, including extracurricular activities, research opportunities, and career development resources.
  • Alumni Engagement: Utilize alumni to share their experiences and outcomes, demonstrating the tangible benefits of their university education and fostering a deeper connection with potential and current students.

A More Open Platform Using Blockchain Technology

Goal Develop a decentralized platform that supports free and open exchange of ideas, academic collaboration, and secure management of educational records.


  • Decentralized Ledger: Use blockchain technology to create a decentralized platform where academic credentials, course materials, and student portfolios can be securely stored and verified. This transparency enhances trust and facilitates easier movement between institutions.
  • Smart Contracts: Implement smart contracts to automate various administrative processes like enrollment, transfer credits, and degree issuance, reducing bureaucracy and making the university system more efficient.
  • Collaborative Tools: Integrate tools that allow real-time collaboration and feedback among students and professors, encouraging active participation and making the learning process more dynamic and interactive.
  • Open Access Publishing: Utilize the platform for publishing research and academic work, ensuring that it is accessible to a wider audience and not behind paywalls, fostering a greater exchange of knowledge.

Enhanced OER with Advanced Distribution Systems

Goal Expand the scope and reach of Open Educational Resources(OER) to include not just academic knowledge but also resources focused on career development, mental health, and personal growth.


  • Comprehensive Resource Libraries: Develop extensive online libraries that aggregate high-quality OER materials from around the world. These libraries would include textbooks, courses, workshops, and seminars across a wide range of disciplines.
  • Personalized Learning Algorithms: Employ AI algorithms to provide personalized learning paths based on individual student goals, learning styles, and career aspirations. This could help students navigate the vast amounts of available resources more effectively.
  • Integration with Career Services: Link OER content directly to career services and internship opportunities, providing students with practical experience and networking opportunities relevant to their studies.
  • Mental Health and Personal Development: Include resources for psychological well-being and personal development, recognizing the holistic needs of students. This could involve partnerships with mental health professionals and life coaches to develop content that supports students beyond academic learning.


Historical and Theoretical Study


Select a range of historical academies that represent different eras and philosophies. Potential candidates include:

  • Plato’s Academy: The first institution of higher learning in the Western world, focusing on philosophical dialogues and debates.
  • The University of Bologna: A medieval university that pioneered the modern university structure, including legal studies and student governance.
  • The Royal Society: An example of the scientific academy model from the Renaissance that emphasized empirical research and collaborative inquiry.

Analyze historical events, including the famous analysis, failure incident analysis, and interviews with existing users and stewards of protocols (student and university fellows.

Data Collection: Gather information on their founding principles, curricular structures, and societal impacts.

Comparative Analysis: Compare these institutions across different time periods to discern patterns, innovations, and outcomes that influenced educational progress.

Theoretical Study
The theoretical study will utilize theories from Catherine Malabou(plasticity and anarchism), Roberto Esposito(immunitas), Yuk Hui(digital objects) and Bernard Stiegler. Through these theories, theoretical study will analyse elements, structures, the order of magnitudes and exisiting protocols in universities. It will also point out problems of them and explain why a plastic and pandemic educational protocol is desirable.

Interviews with University Stakeholders

Goal Collect a broad spectrum of experiences and insights from current university participants to understand contemporary challenges and expectations.

  • Participant Selection: Select a diverse range of voices from various universities, including undergraduates, postgraduates, faculty, administrative staff, and alumni.
  • Structured Interviews: Develop a set of questions that explore their views on the effectiveness of current educational models, the impact of technology, and their vision for the future of education.
  • Qualitative Analysis: Use thematic analysis to identify common themes, challenges, and suggestions for improvement.

Development and Testing of an Open Platform Prototype

Goal Create and evaluate a working model of a decentralized, open-access educational platform.

  • Platform Design: Based on the input from historical analysis and interviews, design a platform that incorporates blockchain for security and transparency, AI for personalized learning, and open-source principles.
  • Prototype Development: Build a minimum viable product (MVP) that features basic functionalities like course enrollment, resource sharing, and peer-to-peer collaboration.
  • Pilot Testing: Launch the platform with a small group of users to collect feedback on usability, effectiveness, and areas for improvement.

Thoughts and Expectations

We hope that by revolutionizing the protocol of universities, a more fair university with decentralized students will emerge. In the heart of student decentralization lies the essence of freedom—the freedom of individuality, of diverse internal values, and of multiple pathways leading into various sectors of society. This notion of decentralization embodies more than just the scattering of destinations; it represents the core principle of personal autonomy and the flourishing of diverse perspectives within the educational landscape.

This same spirit of freedom is also foundational to the Web3 world. The core value of this new digital realm is to provide a decentralized framework where individual autonomy and privacy are prioritized, mirroring the aspirations of a truly liberal educational model.Integrating Web3 technologies into the university protocol to bring an academic environment where students are not just passive recipients of predetermined knowledge, but active participants in a dynamic educational network, is what we must do in the future.