Going Global: Using CN to Teach Future English Professors Abroad

Indiana University proudly recognizes professors from all backgrounds who have made contributions to research and learning that have not only been great for the reputation of their university, but have changed the fields in which they represent. For example, the IU School of Education is responsible for the preparation of one-third of Indiana’s teachers and 20 Indiana Teacher of the Year recipients.

Yet one concentration within the department, specifically the Literacy, Culture, and Language Education sector, has enough to offer simply through one assistant professor: Beth Samuelson.

Dr. Beth Samuelson, IU School of Education
As a Ph.D. recipient from the University of California-Berkeley,   finalist in the 2006 National Council of Teachers of English Promising Researcher award and author of a vast, impressive amount of publications, Beth realizes the importance of global learning and the impact it can create in countries from the United States to the Middle Eastern region, more specifically, Afghanistan. So how was she able to reach a group of Master’s degree students eager to complete their capstone projects at an education university in Afghanistan while she was in the U.S? Dr. Samuelson credits Course Networking for her success in reaching her student base as an American professor.

There were several factors that helped educators like Beth decide what type of learning management system would be best for implementing the course topics she chose to develop for her students’ capstone theses. Students of the degree program were responsible for: 65 pages of polished writing, a teaching philosophy and professional development plan with a literature review and a portfolio containing three samples from MA TESOL courses. This final step to receiving their degree required intensive reading comprehension, research and dedication. As a result, students often had questions about specific aspects of assignments.

Beth used the CN as a channel for communication that was not only effective, but necessary for her students to perform well in the course. For example, Dr. Samuelson used the post tool to offer examples of an annotated bibliography so students had something to refer to when it came time to put together their literature reviews. Academic terminology familiar to American students was not always as familiar to her international students. Students were also assigned readings periodically that required a reflection, in which students used the same tool to post responses to on the network as well. The course site also served as a venue for her and her students to share resources that could offer them help when the professor or their peers were unavailable, like the Purdue OWL (see screenshot).

Dr. Samuelson also incorporated the ANAR seed system as a method of praise and encouragement for participation in her course. Five percent of her course’s participation grade derived from the amount of ANAR seeds they received and students found this particularly engaging as they saw their seed numbers accumulate.

It’s no surprise that after her course ended, student feedback on their experiences with CN overall was generally positive. Despite being in different areas of the globe and some specific instructional concerns (time differences and access to computers in the region), students were able to conduct meaningful lessons and share thoughts and comparisons regarding their coursework in an effective manner. Dr. Samuelson’s capstone course graduate students are now active English professors in Afghanistan. They described the learning environment metaphorically as a mountain (see right): the students were on one side, their professor on the other, both learning and guiding each other to reach their peak goal of completing their projects with the help of tools and functions offered on the CN.

Beth Samuelson may represent a variety of academic institutions, publications, and countries through her diplomatic awareness, but she also represents a social networking-based learning platform that is helping to shape international studies from region to region.

How are you going global in your university?

No comments:

CourseNetworking LCC. Powered by Blogger.