Penny University

A peer to peer learning community

See Recent Chats

Our Goal

Bring people together to learn and grow.

We believe there is a better way for knowledge to be shared and distributed. People should be at the center of the learning process, and engaging with others is the most effective way for people to expand their minds and skillsets. Communities and businesses grow stronger when people build relationships through mentorship and co-learning, and that is exactly what Penny University is made to accomplish.

Frequently Asked Questions

The name "Penny University" is a reference to the early coffeehouses in Oxford, England. These coffeehouses held an important association with the European Age of Enlightenment. For the price of a penny, scholars and laypeople alike would be given admittance to the coffeehouse, enjoy an endless supply of coffee, and more importantly enjoy learning through conversations with their peers. Thus these coffeehouses came to be called "Penny Universities".

Our new group, Penny University, serves as a modern take on this old tradition by connecting those who desire to learn with those who are willing to share what they know. This can certainly be at a coffeehouse, but anywhere else as well, including just a quick Google Hangout. There are no mentors or mentees, leaders or followers.

We are all peers and we are here to both learn and to teach.

We connect over video chats to learn with one another and to build relationships. These meetings are called Penny Chats. There are no rules for what a Penny Chat can be. You can have a casual chat with someone, get together with a couple people to work on a project, or even host your own evening of lightning talks.

  • Step 1: Find a topic. If it's a question that's easy to answer with Google, go ahead and use Google. But if it's a topic that invites or requires discussion, then that's a good candidate.
  • Step 2: Gather interest in Slack. Ask around and see if anyone is familiar with the things you wish to learn or interested or the things you wish to share.
  • Step 3: Invite them with the help of our Slack bot. Just type /penny chat into Slack and enter the chat title, details, date, time, and invitees and we'll take care of the rest. We will notify you as people RSVP, remind all guests just before the chat, and we'll keep a record of all the chats you've participated in in your profile.

Follow-Ups are short write ups that provide a way to thank those who took the time to chat with you, as well as providing you and the community with an artifact of what you learned. Members also sometimes use Follow-Ups to share videos of their Chats, so anyone who missed out can see what happened in the meeting. Finally, follow-ups can sometimes turn into deeper conversations that lead to future Penny Chats.

If you RSVP to a Penny Chat using our slack integration, you will be reminded to write a Follow-Up soon after the Penny Chat is completed. All you have to do is click through and write up the follow-up. Here's an idea: show that you were attentive by listing one, two, or three important points that you learned during the conversation.

Head over to the chats page to see a date-ordered list of chats. Future chats will have an “Upcoming” badge. Consider joining one! Further down we list all the Penny Chats that have happened at Penny University. Each item includes a list of participant, and by clicking through you can see each chat's Follow-Ups.

Anything! Everything! Penny University is your community for learning and sharing with others. It is our goal to build a platform that supports your success in our community. Interact, introduce new ideas, and if we see some way to be useful to you, we will implement new products to support you. Future work will include search functionality, richer content editing, more ways to find upcoming chats, and more. If you have some particularly good ideas, visit us in the #penny-labs channel and let's chat!


Join Us

Become part of a new learning community.

Our members meet through Slack, where they discover each others interests in what they can teach and what they would like to learn. With the help of our bot, they set up Penny Chats with one another to in order to share knowledge, and then write up what they've learned and share it with the community.