Minjuan Wang grew up in a small village in China, along the Yellow River (Lingbao, Henan Province). Like in many other Chinese families, her parents put strong emphasis on schooling and education, and encouraged her to study hard. At the age of 16, Wang was admitted to Beijing University, one of the most competitive universities in China.
During her junior year, she interned for two American companies and decided to go to the U.S. – where she was awarded fellowship from four universities, including Stanford University (East Asian studies) and Penn State University (comparative literature). “For some reason, I ended up at Penn State University (PSU), where I met Professor Mary Ann Lyman-Hager, director of LARC at SDSU. I was her graduate assistant for one year at PSU and she guided me into educational technology. After completing my doctorate in information science and learning technologies at University of Missouri-Columbia, I applied for a faculty position at SDSU and was accepted as an assistant professor. I have now worked at SDSU for 13 years and was recently promoted to professor.”
In the last decade, Wang has collaborated with scholars and universities around the world, in both research and teaching. The one she works most with is Shanghai Jiaotong University, where they developed innovative systems for mobile learning and conducted systematic research.
One of her articles resulting from this collaboration, The Impact of Mobile Learning on Student Learning Behaviors and Performance, is recognized as one of the ten most cited by other authors in blended and mobile learning. And, she is also recognized as a high-impact author in the field of blended learning.
She also was a research fellow for Etisalat British Telecom Innovation Center (EBTIC) in Abu Dhabi (UAE). Wang worked in Abu Dhabi for three months to conduct research on intelligent campus (iCampus). She designed a model for intelligent learning, and explored how this model could be used to develop online and mobile teaching and learning. “Intelligent classrooms (iClassrooms) can greatly improve online or blended teaching and learning. The classroom is equipped with a well-constructed instructor station, sensors, high-quality ceiling mics, and touch-screen devices. The instructor can push a button and start teaching to large numbers of students, without worrying about technical difficulties or adjustment,” Wang says.
SDSU’s NSF Project
A group of professors and students from SDSU’s Learning Design and Technology (LDT) department and Geography department are working on a four-year, 1.3 million dollar project. This project studies the system of payments in Fanjingshan National Nature Reserve in China, the habitat of the endangered Guizhou golden monkey.
SDSU LDT Professor Minjuan Wang’s role is teaching training, in both the U.S. and China. She conducted a June workshop for eight teachers from Helix High and the Mountain Empire School district. As for China, five teachers are on board from Jiangkou Second Elementary School.
These teachers use the data from the project to create new learning activities for their students. “I feel that our project will make a difference there, to connect their teachers to the ‘outside world,’ and to encourage them using more technologies in teaching,” Wang adds.