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New social network launched for classrooms and lifelong learners


April 2, 2012

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Course Networking (, owned in part by Indiana University Research and Technology Corporation, has launched a new learning environment that is free to users and provides a social network that enables global interaction of formal and informal learners.

theCN will fill a different niche from conventional course or learning management systems and is designed to help students and faculty connect globally with other learners interested in the same course subject or topic--both in the credit and noncredit arenas. Because it is free (no license necessary) and easy to use, it is an effective complement to course management systems like Blackboard, Sakai, Epsilen, D2L or Moodle. Anyone, anywhere in the world, can start using theCN immediately—without having to go through a school or college, a course administrator or a user group to connect instantly with people around the world with shared interests.

"One of the biggest advantages of this new model for learning is it transforms the regular classroom into a global classroom," said Ali Jafari, theCN’s conceptual architect, founder and chief executive officer, and professor of Computer and Information Technology and director of the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology CyberLab, Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis. "theCN introduces an intercultural learning experience that offers more opportunity for dialogue and educational collaboration with international students and instructors. In this way, theCN will introduce a totally new framework for online learning that prepares students all over the world to understand how to engage and thrive in a broadening, global economy.”

Virginia Tech joined Indiana University as the first institutional funder of theCN, a group that will ultimately consist of 40 domestic and international institutions. The institutional owners and members will provide the intellectual capital that will enhance theCN.

“We look to theCN as a transformative innovation for hybrid and fully online learning, and are pleased to be directly involved in its ongoing development,” said Dr. Gardner Campbell, director of Professional Development and Innovative Initiatives in the Division of Learning Technologies, Virginia Tech.

By remaining in the control of leading global universities, theCN will ensure that its first priority is meeting the needs of learners worldwide, innovating as necessary to keep pace with the ways the world learns.“We think this is a great platform, and will really help teachers and students better connect as they work together through their courses,” said Tony Armstrong, president and CEO, IURTC.

theCN will offer its platform to all users free of charge, and it will generate revenue through targeted advertising that is relevant and of benefit to the system's users, through CN Apps, and through customized tools and services.

To join:

1. Visit and enter your name and email address.

2. Create or join a course or a Conexus (a discussion group).

3. Invite your classmates and colleagues to join your Courses and Conexus.