Office of Undergraduate Research

Social Networking Community for the German Program

In this collaborative pilot project between the German program and the Language Resource Center, we will utilize a social networking site Ning to share information on the program events, courses, Study Abroad, community events etc. The Ning site offers a variety of popular social networking features such as membership, forum, blog, media sharing, RSS feed, multimedia integration and customizable interfaces. By using the site it is expected that: 1) the students become more engaged in learning both inside and outside the classroom; 2) the updating of events, dates and information becomes more efficient; 3) the networking between all stakeholders in the German Program, on and off Campus will be enhanced. We hope to conduct research on how social networking site such as Ning can help with Study Abroad, student learning, and retention rate etc. An undergraduate student with German language skills will collect quantitative data from the site and try to answer these research questions.

Tasks and responsibilities:

The undergraduate student's time will be spent collecting the sites data and she will compare it with the data on D2L to study the correlation between the students learning outcomes (such as their understanding of the German culture) and their use of the site. The student will share the findings with the instructors of the German program. As soon as the website is set up, the student can collect detailed data on 1) usage; 2) membership request numbers; 3) level/frequency of student participation/log; 4) quantity of resources created and shared by students and faculty. The student will analyze a survey that will be given to the members of the Ning site to evaluate their experience with the website at the end of the fall semester.