Ameer Ahmed, Polytope Ventures
Caspar Lam, Parsons School of Design
YuJune Park, Parsons School of Design

Pluto is a smart learning platform that captures feedback from teachers, mentors, and peers and brings it into focus. Centered on the individual and built on a collaborative, peer-to-peer model of learning, Pluto weaves together feedback across courses and over time to allow students to connect learning across courses and over time.

Qualitative feedback is an important tool that helps students develop a growth mentality, succeed academically, and build connections across areas of study. In higher-education, evaluations may occur during formal learning assessments or through spontaneous teacher-student and student-student interactions. This is especially true for project-based and problem-based courses often used in design, engineering, and medical programs. The content of such interactions, including ongoing project assessments, references, and directions for growth, is not formal enough to be captured by learning management systems but is lost among various communication platforms like email, chat, forums, or backchannels.

For students, this means that there is no personal, centralized repository for retroactively accessing and evaluating such feedback across courses and years. Students rely on memory, haphazard notes, and vague intuition to discern the steps needed to improve their academic performance. Self-regulation is an important aspect of learning and academic achievement. A system that pairs feedback with resources can lower barriers to self-evaluation, increase the potential for academic success, and help develop a life-long growth mentality.

  • It is the reverse learning portfolio, built around process and discovery rather than the end product/artifacts.
  • Learning occurs through reflection. Traditional education systems feedback is course-centric, but the best students are those that can synthesize from a variety of fields, across courses and time.
  • It opens up all of the resources that are now available online: the internet becomes a student’s library, and feedback, their subject guides.

***Pluto is currently being live tested in classes. It will be in soft launch by June 1st.***


Ameer Ahmed is expert at conceiving and delivering innovative solutions to tricky business problems using Java/J2EE and XML technologies. He wields excellent communication skills to identify business needs and constraints and quickly designs and prototypes elegant solutions using the latest advanced technologies. Ameer has vast experience architecting and developing custom systems for content management and licensing, workflow/BPM and marketing automation for such organizations as JPMorganChase, The Harry Fox Agency, Starwood Hotels and Resorts, Time Inc. and ARTstor. Ameer graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration and Marketing from American College for Applied Arts.

Caspar Lam is a designer and writer. He holds an MFA from Yale and degrees in biology and design from the University of Texas at Austin. He formerly led design and digital strategy for Artstor, a non-profit serving universities and libraries to develop new products related to digital cataloguing, metadata and publishing. He has worked with the Guggenheim Museum, the Yale School of Architecture, and at Li, Inc. on fashion brands including Ohne Titel and Vogue China. Adobe, AIGA, and the ID Annual Design Review have recognized his work. He has been a visiting critic at the Hong Kong Design Institute and served as an Adjunct Associate Research Scholar at Columbia University’s GSAPP. He teaches interaction design at Parsons the New School for Design.

YuJune Park is the director of the BFA Communication Design program at Parsons School of Design at The New School. She is the co-founder of Synoptic Office, a multidisciplinary design studio operating in the space between graphic, interaction, spatial and product design. She holds an MFA in Graphic Design from Yale University and a BFA in Furniture Design from the Rhode Island School of Design. She has worked for, freelanced and collaborated with several studios, including Base Design, Project Projects, Mother NY, Graphic Thought Facility, and Pentagram for a variety of clients including the Museum of Modern Art, Milk Studios, the Davis Museum, and the AIGA.