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CN Post gaining student appreciation

January 12, 2016

Using academic social-networking tools like CN Post has become easier than ever in Canvas, IU's new learning-management system.

Developed by IUPUI CyberLab, a research-and-development center in the School of Engineering and Technology, CN Post is a simplified version of CourseNetworking, an academic social-networking site that connects teachers and students from around the world based on shared interests and subject areas.

CN Post is available in all Canvas courses as a default tool.

Selby Building

The Science and Engineering Laboratory Building, home of the CyberLab. | IU Communications

"Global connectivity is a big thing," said Anastasia (Stacy) Morrone, associate vice president of IU Learning Technologies. "IU wants to increase the opportunities students have to interact with foreign students and learn about their cultures and societies. CN Post can do that automatically, based on academic interests."

Data shows students prefer using CN Post to connect with classmates within a course, instructors and even learners taking similar courses globally, compared to traditional discussion boards that lack CN Post's social and global learning features, said Ali Jafari, professor of Computer Information Technology and director of the CyberLab.

Jafari notes three reasons why CN Post works:

  • Social learning: It offers a Facebook-type experience for students to share learning resources and to peer-review others.
  • Gamification: As students engage in learning activities, they earn rewards called Anar (pomegranate) seeds that can be used for extra credit. All students need to do is to find and share related resources such as an article or YouTube video.
  • Recognition: Course instructors can automatically or personally recognize students who are top academic participants or who write the best paper. The recognitions appear in a students' CN lifelong portfolio site as a series of badges.

In a recent survey conducted by the CyberLab, students gave CN Post a 7 to 8 rating (on a scale of 1 to 10), as compared to 2 to 3 for discussion boards without CN Post's capabilities.

The CyberLab director said the main purpose of CN Post is to increase engagement, both among students and with teachers.

"It increases their interest in the subject they are learning while improving global reach," he said.

Instructors are welcome to contact CyberLab@iupui.edu for any CN Post consulting or for personal or departmental workshops.

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