Crafting New Chapters: The Creative Fusion of DIY eBooks in CLP Lecturer’s Summer Program

The past summer marked a transformative phase for the UBC Chinese Language Program, as Ms. Mingzhu Lu, an innovative instructor, introduced the Book Creator software to elevate the language learning experience. This initiative aims to infuse creativity and enjoyment into Chinese language education at UBC. With the incorporation of this cutting-edge tool, students now have the exciting opportunity to craft their own personalized Chinese eBooks, embarking on a dynamic journey towards mastering the language.

Where it began: Introducing Ms. Mingzhu Lu

Ms. Mingzhu Lu started her journey with the UBC Chinese Language Program in 1999, and since then, her impact has been truly invaluable. Her extensive involvement spans a spectrum of experiences within the program, ranging from instructing foundational 100-level language courses in the non-heritage stream, to leading advanced 400-level courses in the heritage stream, including the specialized Business Chinese course.

Beyond her role as an instructor, Ms. Lu’s commitment to students shines through various facets. She actively contributes to the program by offering guidance on pronunciation, coaching students in their language acquisition journey, and providing mentorship, showcasing a dedication that extends far beyond the confines of the classroom.

In recognition of her outstanding contributions, Ms. Lu has been honored with the prestigious 2022/2023 Lecturer of the Year Award by the Department of Asian Studies, sharing this distinction with Ms. Michiko Suzuki. This achievement serves as a testament to Ms. Lu’s sustained excellence and unwavering dedication to the art of teaching.

A Blend of Creativity and Chinese Language Learning

Last summer, Ms. Lu brought her eBook concept to life by integrating it into the course of CHIN 234. In this immersive experience, students merged their creative eBook visions with the conventional Chinese writing teaching model. Collaboratively, they transformed Chinese written content from their classes into visually engaging eBooks.

This innovative approach resulted in the creation of visual stories that effectively demonstrated their comprehension of each lesson’s key elements.

The integration of eBook creation into the curriculum proved to be a game-changer, infusing an element of fun into Chinese language learning. Instead of the conventional recitation and review of a foreign language, students were empowered to turn their lessons into colorful eBook narratives. This transformative process allowed them to freely design and structure their eBooks based on the theme and plot of each lesson, fostering creativity and honing their Chinese expression skills.

Diverging from conventional textbook learning, the eBook creation offered a distinct path with unique features such as animation, pictures, sounds, and text. Students had the liberty to choose themes for each writing lesson, applying their interpretations learned in class. Through active participation in eBook creation, students gained a deeper understanding of the language with guidance from Ms. Lu to incorporate their own style.

Student Engagement and Takeaways

Throughout the intensive summer course of CHIN 234, each student successfully authored four illustrated eBooks, crafting Chinese stories, selecting beautiful illustrations, and practicing and recording sounds. This innovative learning approach not only elevated their Chinese language skills but also heightened the enjoyment and personalization of the learning experience.

Highlighting the success stories from CHIN 234, here are three exemplary projects that effectively encapsulate the creative and educational dimensions of the online eBook initiative. These selected eBook topics delve into a diverse array of perspectives on hometowns and weather, illustrating how seemingly ordinary elements can evolve into integral components of storytelling, language engagement, and unique avenues for learning.

(Feel free to explore the impressive online eBook projects created by students by clicking on the provided embedded links.)

Over the past summer semester, students made remarkable strides in their Chinese classes through the creation of eBooks. This endeavor transformed their approach to Chinese learning into a more confident and proactive stance. Crafting their Chinese eBooks proved instrumental in refining their listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills while concurrently fostering a constructive attitude toward learning. The process provided an engaging pathway for mastering the Chinese language.

Gratitude for Innovative Excellence

The Chinese Language Program expresses sincere appreciation to Ms. Mingzhu Lu for her invaluable contributions. Her steadfast commitment and tireless efforts in elevating students’ success in Chinese language studies have been commendable. The introduction of this innovative eBook learning tool has not only met but surpassed expectations, delivering outstanding results within the classroom.

The influence of Ms. Lu’s approach is clearly manifested in the diverse and dynamic ways in which students are now actively participating and engaging with course material. As we celebrate the current achievements, there is eager anticipation for the ongoing enrichment that these innovative methods promise to bring to the landscape of language education.

Written by: Isidora Basanovic
Edited by: Angelia Tu