Cardinal Passion Engine 

2013. 5

- Redesign the accreditation process @ Stanford in 2020. 


 Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), especially Coursera, are growing fast. The "threatening" growth and significant social impact make education policy makers and educators start to question, if students can learn the knowledge online, why would they still come to a real school? What makes a school special? What can be improved to attract more students? @Stanford is an innovative class at the exploring the future university life at Stanford. 


Design  During the project, we explored the theme "Accreditation." How might we accredit what students are doing for their passion? How might we use accreditation as a trigger to motivate students to confidently pursue their interests? How might we make Stanford an special campus filled with vibrancy and energy? 


Cardinal Passion Engine

Cardinal Passion Engine is an online community where students can fund each other's project through Cardinal dollars, a special virtual currency used in future Stanford University. Students can form groups with the projects that they are interested in, and continue developing the projects as independent studies. The Passion Engine will provide a platform for students to explore, follow, and get supports for their interests. Students will get credit for their interest through crowdsourcing and "crowdaccrediting." This is a bottom-up approach to accreditation process.  

Impact Statement 

If fully adopted, accrediting 1) the learning beyond content mastery and 2) the whole person (what a student is capable of) will transform Stanford from an institution where students focus on grades and degrees to a home in which students are encouraged to pursue their passions. It will free students to pursue their interests without guilt and will showcase what students are capable of.

Furthermore, higher education will never be the same because accrediting the rest of what students do at Stanford fundamentally will change behavior on campus, motivation for students, and will blur the line between research, classes, extra curricular activities, work, etc. Ultimately it will take grades, classes, and GPA off the pedestal on which they currently rest, and place value on the person a student is becoming.


Teammates: Ivy, Tara & Robert 


People?  We interviewed...

Stanford students | Stanford professors | Google recruiter | New York Times Reporter | Bankers | Law school students at NYC | Art history student at NYU | Art student at FIT | Performers at Times Square | Broadway actors | Farmers | Art galleries 

Where? We went to...

Stanford, Bay Area, and NYC. 



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Stanford Experience* Education 


- Redesign the education units system

What if we have a modular education system and students can gain badges to represent what they have learned? What if various experiences become requirements of our education system? Check out the video! 

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Teammates: Ivy and Seamus 


Public Space

We started the design process with empathy. We went outside to observe how people are making use of the public space. We went to the tresidder union where you can see many people study, chat with friends, and hang out with families. We walked around to take photos and record videos. One interesting thing students mentioned about the public space is "INCIDENTAL ENCOUNTER, " which can't be duplicated on the Internet.    

International Student  

Then we came to talk to an international student from China, Nicole, about her living and learning experience at Stanford. At the beginning, she mentioned her amazing and "overwhelming" experience at Stanford, and then with our talk going deep, she pointed out her team collaboration experience, which was not that satisfying. Cultural collision, miscommunication, and the international mentality were jumped out of our conversation. 


After we had collected empathy data from our observation and interviews, we started to analyze it, categorize it, and make it visual. We iterated our understanding and concepts several times, and then an interesting phrase came out - "Experience Education" - What if we offer experience education, for example, what if every student is required to take a team collaboration class and get some collaborative experience, so he/she will know how to collaborate with international students? What if...all courses are gone, and students just need to take those "experience-based courses?"

Suddenly, we realized this idea or question makes sense because usually in an interview, the recruiter will ask for your experience instead of the courses you have ever taken ?! 


This is an example of our storyboards. This one tells an idea of cultural pop-up shop @Stanford.