Hannah Jiang

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Week 3 – Research

Findings from google search

1. A lot of Youtube videos teaching American slangs, “xx American slangs you need to know”
– Pros: Give a detailed explanation, easy to learn and remember
– Cons: Not easy to skip known words or search for specific ones, content could be repetitive from different Youtubers
2. Websites that teach American slangs or expressions look outdated. (search results included a lot of personal blogs with a limited amount of words/phrases listed)
e.g. https://www.learnamericanenglishonline.com/index.html
3. Found a good Youtube channel(link) hosted by a girl who’s originally from Russia. She shared a lot of tips on learning English and living in this country.
4. Found a Youtube channel which uses clips of American TV series to teach English – Learn English With TV Series(link)

I tried to find precedents and potential competitors through Google search, however, I couldn’t find any well-developed learning platform that is doing what I plan to do. Most of the search results are like “xx tips to improve your oral English”, “xx best TV series to learn English”…

Content Categories

Considering all the things that international students would need to learn to adapt themselves to the living environment, I think the content on this platform I’m designing could be divided into different scenarios:
– Living
> Eating: Names of common food and groceries, customizing your own salad(never had the gut to do it), ordering a coffee at Starbuck(OMG..Kevin Hart talked about his first Starbucks experience in a stand-up show)
> Commuting: How to get a metro card, subway notifications(I always have troubles understanding those T^T)
> Renting: Things need to know(e.g. no furniture is offered in rental houses), getting things set up(internet, phone, paying bills)
> Shopping: Brands, US sizes
> Socializing: Relationship and friendship, movies and music
– Studying
> Dos and don’ts in class(e.g. eating is acceptable but sleeping is not, which is the opposite in China based on my experience)
> Giving presentations
– Working
> Job searching and interviews
> Negotiating offer(So stressful!)
> Commonly used expressions in offices
– Serious stuff
> Filing tax
> Traveling documents and going through customs

This is a rough break down of the basic categories that came to my mind thinking about my life since I moved to the U.S. Considering the scope of a thesis project, I think I need to focus on one part and make it work and make a plan on how to complete the rest.

Interview Questions for International Students

General Learning Habbits

– How will you rank the level of your conversational English, from 1 to 10?
– What do you do to improve your conversational English?
– What methods/products have you tried?
– What do you think is the most effective way?
– What’s your social life like here?
– What kind of obstacles have you met when communicating with native speakers?
– How do you think these obstacles could be overcome?
– What kind of American movies/series do you watch? How do you usually watch them(location, device, platform, subtitles)?
– Considering the languages used, what difference do you think there is between working in an office and studying at school?

Content Collecting

– Can you share an experience of misunderstanding an American culture?
– What are the 3 things that you wish you knew before moving to the U.S.?
– What surprised you after you moved to the U.S.?
– What are the 3 words/expressions you use constantly now but you didn’t know them before moving here?
– What is something you recently learned about American culture? How did you learn about it?
– What are the 3 pieces of advice you would give to incoming international students?
– Is there anything else you’d like to share with other international students?

Interview Questions for Native Speakers

– What are the 3 movies that you think EVERY American knows?
– What are the 3 TV series that you think EVERY American knows?
– What are the expressions that you think are unique and only used by Americans?
– Based on your own experience, what do you think is the biggest difference between American culture and Asian culture?
– What kind of obstacles do you think there are for international students to communicate with native speakers?
– Can you share an experience teaching your foreign friends a slang or a cultural reference?
– What could motivate you to teach international students around you about Amecian English and culture?
– Are there any suggestions you’d like to give to international students who want to improve their conversational English?


– Crowdsourcing is a powerful way to collect content for the platform. But I don’t want to simply create a reservoir of knowledge and give users lists of phrases for them to go through. So how might I design a way to display the input from users in a way that is fun and innovative?
– I am not creating a new theory, I am designing a tool. But what kind of theoretical support should I look into to make this tool work better?