This post was written by Dr. Ali Jafari, Founder and CEO of CourseNetworking. Within the last 3 years, Ali has driven the social learning revolution with his dedicated team through a supplemental LTI plug-in, CN Post, a social portfolio. His past projects as an LMS founder include Oncourse (Sakai Community), Angel Learning and Epsilen.
Since the Learning Management System (LMS) era began in education in 1995, institutions have become increasingly efficient as far as typical features go; for example, grading, quizzing students and submitting assignments. However, instructors are now seeking new ways to engage students and immerse them in their learning. Students are in need of transferable, easy-to-use ePortfolio options as they progress throughout their academic careers. As an educator myself, these two major problems became very clear and relevant to me.
The many learning environments that students were exposed to in the past had major difficulties in engaging users in discussions or forums. More often than not, many discussions lacked social incentive, which inevitably led the quality of these forums to be diminished because many students were not motivated to participate in this overly structured format.
Discussion-based learning has played a major role in the total advancement of human innovation and progress; from Socrates implementing his methods in deep philosophy, to our modern classrooms and the resources provided by online learning environments. Unfortunately, student participation in discussion and true engagement do not always share a correlation. The traditional online discussion board simply does not come equipped with the tools and format necessary for the contemporary student, which only adds to the problem. This issue needs more attention from instructors as a whole and a long-term solution.
Social Learning for a Social Generation
Modern students are part of a social generation who thrive in ‘on-the-go’, technology-oriented spaces where they can share, collaborate and engage with their peers online. Their evolving need to continuously keep a discussion going has begun to outlive traditional discussion forums used in most Learning Management Systems. Thus, the need for a user-friendly, social-networking academic tool sparked my interest and CN Post was born.
CN Post: A Social Portfolio
CN Post is an LTI plug-in tool that can be integrated into Moodle with ease. It brings classroom and forum discussions to life with its social media look and feel, post and poll features, the ability to embed a variety of multimedia components, tag or mention other users who then receive username notifications, and filter posts via hashtags.
In addition, CN Post’s strong gamification functions, like the Anar reward system and CN Badges, and innovative lifelong ePortfolio components bring it to the next level as far as customization and student-engagement; all found in the new, functional package: one LTI tool. The easy-to-install interface and low cost can both meet the needs of instructors while staying in line with institution budgets.
The CN Social Portfolio function allows all users to dynamically create and maintain a lifelong ePortfolio that will exhibit personal, academic and professional experiences and accomplishments. It can be thought of as an unrestricted, fluid resume. Users are able to showcase all of the organizations they’ve been a part of, the badges they’ve earned, and the posts that they have created on CN.
Users are also able to upload any important, relevant documents such as transcripts, certificates and even their research papers. Furthermore, every section in the ePortfolio is completely customizable, and users can choose a visibility setting for each section. Serving as a blank slate, the CN ePortfolio allows users to populate it as they please, letting their individual personality and style shine through.
Although there are many possible uses for the ePortfolio, using it for employment reasons is one of the most useful and logical applications. Modern employers are beginning to put a heavier emphasis on the character of employees rather than their credentials; CN Post’s ePortfolio feature supports and helps enable this notion, while also putting a unique social spin on the seemingly dull world of portfolios.
CN Post in Moodle
CN Post integrates seamlessly into eThink’s Moodle environment. Once set up, CN Post opens up for users in the same Moodle window. Instructors can set up Anar seed goals and integrate seed numbers into the Moodle gradebook to supplement participation points or provide students with bonus points. CN Post is certified by IMS Global, following a standard way of integration to ensure positive user experiences.
In wrapping up the CN Post-Moodle integration, keep these 10 benefits in mind:
- Increases learning engagement
- Allows learners to network globally
- Cultivates student-centered learning
- Encourages participation using gamification
- Enriches peer review
- Exhibits real-time analytics
- Offers a life-long social portfolio
- Delivers effortless integration
- Supports mobile learners
- Presents a social media look and feel
To request a demo or to learn more about CN Post, please visit https://www.thecn.com/cnpost.
Interested in increasing course engagement?
Try incorporating gamification into your learning strategy! To learn how, check out our blog post “Level Up! Your Corporate Training Efforts with Gamification.”