University of Pittsburgh
April 27, 2016

Central China Normal University to Partner with Pitt


Katie Fike


PITTSBURGH—Central China Normal University’s Chancellor Ma Min will visit the University of Pittsburgh May 5 to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) establishing a formal partnership between CCNU and Pitt. The goal of the MoU is to promote international collaborations in innovative educational research between Pitt’s Learning Research and Development Center (LRDC) and CCNU’s National Engineering Research Center for E-Learning (NERCEL).

Established by the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology, NERCEL is China’s only national research center in the field of education. Its strength is the development of digital technology for use across schools in China. Pitt’s LRDC, a leading interdisciplinary center for research on learning and education, specializes not only in learning technology but also in the sciences of learning and education.

“We are honored to be collaborating with Central China Normal University to advance the development of new and effective learning tools,” said Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor Patricia E. Beeson. “This partnership demonstrates our focus on amplifying our impact by embracing a global perspective.”

The genesis of the collaboration began in late 2014 when LRDC Director Charles Perfetti visited NERCEL and gave a presentation on LRDC’s “Innovative Technology in Learning and Teaching.” In late 2015, a small group of NERCEL faculty visited the LRDC. It became apparent to both Perfetti and the NERCEL group that a research collaboration could result in the development of educational interventions with applications to international educational science.

“Bringing together the complementary expertise of the two institutions creates an opportunity for bringing a global dimension to translational research on learning. We hope to address some of the shared challenges of developing effective and engaging learning tools and getting them in the hands of students,” said Perfetti.

The partnership may enable longer-term international projects and lay the groundwork for joint research with other schools at CCNU such as the School of Psychology.

James Cook, acting director of the Asian Studies Center, played an instrumental role in moving the collaboration forward and will continue to provide his expertise as the collaboration develops. Moreover, CCNU may broaden its relationship to other parts of the University—such as the exchange of materials with Pitt’s East Asian Library and student exchanges in a number of departments including sociology and history.

About CCNU
Wuhan, home to CCNU, is Pittsburgh’s sister city. CCNU is well known for its strength in the humanities and social sciences and is the birthplace of the 1911 Revolution. The university is proud of its history as a center for democratic and educational innovation and is among the first institutions of higher learning in China to offer doctoral degrees.

NERCEL, housed at CCNU, was created in 2009. Its mission is to be at the forefront of e-learning through the creation of innovative technologies that enhance teaching and learning in classroom settings. A number of the center’s developments in educational technologies include intelligent tutors, fully networked learning environments, and double-interactive white boards. The center has provided teacher training and resource sharing with schools throughout the country, with a particular focus on rural areas.

About LRDC
LRDC has been a leading center for research on learning and instruction for more than 50 years. A major source of its success has been its commitment to multidisciplinary approaches to basic and applied research and development. LRDC’s mission centers on the combination of important research on learning in its cognitive, social, and brain aspects and the application of research-based innovations to learning in schools, museums, universities, and workplaces.