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Have you heard about how Plymouth State students are engaging in real-world activities with regional impact? They’re preparing for the workforce by participating in challenging, meaningful projects. In order to create more of these valuable experiences and facilitate connections between students, faculty, staff, alumni, and partners, the University has created “Cluster Connect,” a new digital platform uniquely supporting the PSU Integrated Cluster experience.
Our new learning model features ideas and projects that have regional impact, engage external partners, and equip students with experiential learning skills across academic disciplines. Cluster Connect breaks down walls and allows PSU to engage, collaborate, and connect online through Cluster projects and activities by serving as a digital space to share ideas, discuss projects, and track ongoing engagement. Through social interaction and collaboration, the PSU community posts and shares information virtually across campus and within specific Clusters and targeted groups.
Cluster Connect enables PSU community members to identify colleagues with complementary interests; review and comment on Cluster news, ideas, and accomplishments; and engage in project launch, activities, and discussion. As faculty design projects centered around solving problems of regional businesses and organizations, they build cross-disciplinary teams focused on robust learning experiences.
Since Cluster Connect’s debut in early 2018, initial brainstorming that may have previously originated in e-mail or on the back of a napkin have emerged in the platform’s “Ideas” section. This is where projects and Cluster-based activities often begin. As the idea is developed, it engages interested faculty, staff, students, as well as partners and alumni before becoming a full-fledged proposal. Team members from specific Clusters review proposals related to the disciplines that make up their Cluster. Once approved, proposals become projects that might be embedded in a course, championed by a student club or community organization, or more broadly available for engagement from across campus.
■ Corey Hoyt