The Teaching Scholars’ Think Tank

On Friday September 12th Course Networking hosted the first group meeting that brought together some of the most influential CN faculty members in the discussion of CN’s continuous development and implementation. The group, entitled the Teaching Scholars’ Think Tank (TST), was formed with a few main purposes: gathering the most active and contributing CN instructors to share best practices of online teaching, exploring research opportunities in innovative pedagogy and educational technology, and receiving direct feedback from CN end users to keep improving the next generation of learning system. This first group discussion included faculty from IUPUI, IU Bloomington, Saint Xavier University, Fort Hays State University, and German International School Indonesia. 
Teaching Scholars’ Think Tank
The TST will further advance the CN site away from more typical Learning Management Systems. The Director of CyberLab and Inventor of the CN, Professor Ali Jafari emphasized the uniqueness of the CN during the meeting. While many other systems scarcely surpass the logistical aspects of a class (i.e. grading, posting a syllabus, emailing class members, and uploading resources),  CN strives to maintain an engaging learning environment by incorporating various academic social interactivities. Therefore, students have the opportunity to casually interact with other educators and learners with similar academic interests in addition to completing coursework goals.
TST conversed about the unique capabilities of CN at length and the potential for growth within these facets of CN. CN owns the source code making it faster to update and this internal management allows for prompt development that has actually led to the creation of an updated version of CN that will be released in this fall.  Two exciting new features in the upcoming CN version were presented to the group. They are the calendar tool and user profile page. The calendar tool will help students actively plan ahead for academic events, class activities and assignment due dates. These events can be shared with classmates across the globe, therefore enabling students to gain a global learning experience with international students who are also using CN. The user profile will act as a social portfolio, where students can showcase their academic experiences and achievements and enrich their social network using the social engagement analytic graphic. All of the TST faculty members are excitedly looking forward to trying out these new features in their classes.
The TST also discussed plans for the 2015 CN Symposium which will be hosted in Malaysia. The potential topic of this symposium is Hybrid Learning and Tourism. The group may hold a panel discussion during the symposium to share their knowledge and experiences in online education and social learning pedagogies. The symposium will also be bringing in leaders from academia and industry to share their expertise and research findings in new learning technology.

TST will be working out many of the details of the future of CN and welcomes input from anyone well versed in the CN system. If you have any questions about the role of the Teaching Scholars’ Think Tank, or if you are interested in requesting membership, please contact

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