CN has many applications, however, one great use case is that of IU Kelley School of Business Professor, Lin Zheng. Dr. Zheng uses CN to compliment her Kelley Study Abroad Course to China. She integrates student learning abroad with educational technology to have them create meaningful showcases on their CN ePortfolios and create posts to interact with one another on CN Post. We asked Dr. Zheng a few questions regarding her program and her use of CN below:
Why did you start using CN? How long have you been using it?
In fall 2016, I set out to find a platform for the ePortfolio assignment in the study abroad course I taught in spring 2017. The Center for Teaching and Learning helped me identify choices. Finally, we chose CN for my course. Since then, I have been using the CN not just for the study abroad course but also in an online MBA course.
How many courses have you taught/do you currently teach on CN?
I used the CN in a study abroad course in 2017 and 2019. I also used the CN in an online MBA course since 2016. Students completed ePortfolio on the CN and engaged with each other throughout the courses.
Can you tell me a little bit about your study abroad program?
My study abroad program is titled “Doing Business with China.” It aims to introduce students to the business environment in China and key features of Chinese culture. Students are expected to improve intercultural competence after completing the course and. We met in the classroom in the spring semester to learn from multimedia sources and guest speakers. We immersed in Chinese culture and business environment in a 2-week trip to China in the summer. During the trip, we had business and cultural visits in three cities across China.
How do you use CN to engage your students in the program?
My students were engaged in the program by posting and creating ePortfolio. Their posts included informing about recent events relevant to the program, sharing travel tips, inviting for social events, reflecting on the experience, and commenting on each other, etc. I have found a variety of topics in students’ posts.
Do you think CN is a good fit for this application (in study abroad programs)? Why?
I believe CN is a good fit for the study abroad program. It uses familiar social media interface to engage students. It allows students to post, poll, rate, and reply to each other. Students can embed links, files, and images in postings. It is flexible to search using multiple criteria. Best of all, it is already integrated with Canvas. The CN is part of Canvas and allows students to remain in a closed group.
What do your students think about CN?
I have heard positive feedback from students about using the CN. They commented on how intuitive it is to post on the CN, given the familiar social media interface. They enjoyed conversations in a closed group without advertisements and strangers. They felt engaged in the program even when they didn’t see each other in person.
What features or aspects of CN do you think your students use the most?
My students used posts, polls, ratings, and reflections. They created ePortfolio on personal pages. I would say they used posts and reflections the most. Posts included topics relevant to the course while reflections were simply replies to each other’s original posts or reflections.
In your opinion, what do you think the future holds for this type of educational technology in teaching and learning as it applies to study abroad and international educational experiences?
I think educational technology, such as the CN, has a bright future in supplementing study abroad and international educational experiences. It creates a platform for participants in the study abroad program to share their experience and integrate knowledge and skills. The online technology also connects people across the world, so everyone will have experience learning from different cultures/perspectives via the Internet.
Here are a few more study abroad ePortfolio examples:
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