Thursday, October 30, 2014

Technology in the (#SEDS) Classroom

By: Ted Glenn, Ph.D., Professor of Public Administration and Program Coordinator at The Business School, Humber College.

This is the fourth blog post that Ted Glenn has written as part of his experience living in Makassar, Sulawesi province, Indonesia, while working on the Sulawesi Economic Development Strategy Project (SEDS). 

Over the past decade, we've seen an explosion in the use – and abuse – of technology in post-secondary classrooms in the name of improved learning.  Unless the technology we are using is a true expression of learning culture in our classrooms, though, technology ends up being a value-less shiny bauble.

This point about technology having to be firmly rooted in the learning culture of our students, our classrooms and ourselves was brought home during the most recent series of workshops on entrepreneurial curriculum development that we are conducting here in Makassar as part of the SEDS project.  Due to some timing issues, we were forced to cancel a Friday afternoon session on the topic of technology in the classroom.  Rather than lose the afternoon, though, we decided to proceed with the module but deliver it online over the weekend via Facebook, the only technology all participants had both access to and (in some cases barely fleeting) familiarity.

To get the module online, we first identified the reflective elements of the module and directed participants to a series of readings that they could do on their own. Then we created an online discussion activity where participants had to make a post about the technologies they were currently using in their classrooms and then respond to another participants' post. The final module activity got participants to work in small groups to draw upon their experience and the readings to design a technology-assisted learning activity that could be used in an entrepreneurship course.  When complete, participants were required to post their activities on the Event page and then provide critically constructive comments on the others.

Participants working in small groups
Participants working in small groups

Luckily for us, participants were keen to see how a basic social media technology like Facebook could be put to an educational use.  All participants got logged onto our Event page and completed the assigned activities by the required deadlines.  Even the few “late adopters” in the group really challenged themselves to learn about this particular technology, got an account, and used the activity to put Facebook “through the paces” to see if it could be a useful addition to the learning processes in their classrooms. 

When we reconvened Monday morning, most participants agreed that there are significant limitations to Facebook as a piece of instructional technology, specifically limited ability to post comments on comments, inefficient usage of screen space, inefficient routing to specific event pages.  Most, however, seemed to agree that the value of being able to communicate in real time, post pictures and videos (in this case, for the assignment they created), and develop closed-ended questions to gather feedback outweighed the inconveniences.

Two paticipants working on a laptop

For us, the online module experiment succeeded because of the learning culture of this particular group and this particular workshop, a culture distinguished by an honest interest in learning new things, a specific interest in testing whether Facebook had any value as an instructional technology at all, and for those “late adopters” the courage and humbleness to seize upon an opportunity to see “what all the fuss was about.”  Without that culture, the module would have merely been a nice shiny penny – pretty to look at but not much value to anyone.

Monday, October 27, 2014

“When We Meet, We Change the World”: 2014 World Education Congress in Minneapolis, USA

Jenny (Jiyun) is an international student from South Korea. She recently started her second year in Tourism and Hospitality Management - Event Planning. She has also worked as an international student ambassador for the Humber International Centre since August 2014.

As part of my program in Tourism and Hospitality Management - Event Planning, I recently had the opportunity to go the World Education Congress in Minneapolis, USA, as a future leader of Meeting Professionals International (MPI). MPI is the meeting and event industry’s largest global community and helps members to network, experience unique events, and learn from each other. I was lucky to receive a Future Leader Forum Scholarship from the MPI Toronto Chapter and attend the World Education Congress in Minneapolis.

I had joined MPI with some of my classmates last year. MPI gave me numerous opportunities to network with event professionals and learn from guest speakers. At the WEC2014 conference (August 1-5, 2014), I met 25 leaders from different cities in USA. It was incredible experience to meet people who share common goals and a passion towards hospitality and events industries.

One of the highlights was when Miguel Naves, a senior online community manager at IMEX, engaged everyone by playing human bingo outside of the conference to help us get to know each other. Throughout the conference, I learned about the power of networking, generosity, and knowledge. I listened to each guest speaker’s talk with attention and observed as much information as I could from their presentations and discussions.

The most memorable speaker was Dale Partridge. He talked about the value of human beings over profit. In order to increase profits, corporate companies must understand the needs of clients. In fact, people matter, and truth wins when it comes to doing business or collaborating with stakeholders. Integrity and attitude are critical to success and more happiness in life. I was inspired by the words he said and realized the significance of generosity and authenticity.

MPI’s WEC2014 tagline was, “When we meet, we change the world.” This is a powerful phrase that reminds me of the importance of events and the impact events have on people. Events are important for people who want to learn and to connect with other event professionals.WEC2014 was a great experience for me to gain knowledge and latest trends in the hospitality and events industries. 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

A Celebration of Two Cultures

This article originally appeared on Humber Communiqué on October 20, 2014.

On October 8th, over 100 students, faculty and staff of the Humber-Ningbo and Humber-Jimei programs gathered together to celebrate the Moon Festival and Thanksgiving. It was an evening full of fun, with friendly competitions, great raffle prizes, a silent auction and a traditional lion dance.

The event was an opportunity for everyone to give thanks and give back. All proceeds from the evening were donated to the United Way. The group raised $2200 in just two hours!

Thanksgiving Celebrations

Friday, October 24, 2014

Thanksgiving little known to international students

By Jessenia Feijo, Life reporter
This article originally appeared on Humber EtCetera.

Gabriela Carrasco,21 (left) and Jenny Jeong, 19 (right) working in Humber North’s International Centre.
Gabriela Carrasco, 21, a second-year Humber Fashion Student (left) and Jenny Jeong, 19, a second-year Hospitality and Event Planning Student (right) working in Humber North's International Centre. Photo by: Jessenia Feijo

Thanksgiving may be a national holiday, but not everyone indulges in turkey dinner – or is entirely sure what the occasion is about.

“Every time an explorer would come back (to Europe) from the New World, they would give thanks and there would be usually a church service. That’s where the term Thanksgiving came from, it gave thanks,” said Toronto historian and tour guide Bruce Bell.

The Americans were the ones to begin the holiday of Thanksgiving.

“But around the Victorian time, so in the 19th century, the middle class started to grow and our harvest came in October and so we thought we would do the same thing,” said Bell, noting that Canada joined the tradition with an adjustment in timing to reflect differences in climate and crop cycles.

“We thought it would be a great idea to, kind of haphazard, sometime in October to give thanks to the harvest,” Bell said.

Bell said it wasn’t until 1957 that Thanksgiving was officially declared a national holiday in Canada that would take place on the second Monday of October. The American version in late November has a nationalistic flavour and begins the holiday approach to Christmas.

Gabriela Carrasco, 21, a second-year international student from Mexico and a Applications Processor at Humber’s International Centre is aware of Thanksgiving, but doesn’t celebrate it.

“Usually in Mexico some schools that are bilingual do teach you American tradition so that’s how I knew about Thanksgiving before coming here,” said Carrasco.

Like Carrasco, fellow international student Jenny Jeong, 19, a second-year Hospitality and Event Planning student, said she hasn’t celebrated Thanksgiving since she arrived in Canada three years ago.

Jeong, originally from South Korea, said she recognizes the holiday, but when the day comes she’ll eat whatever is in her fridge.

“After understanding what Thanksgiving is, I would say our New Year’s is like a Thanksgiving because it is very long and involves family visits,” said Jeong. “I would like to start celebrating it. I love turkey and getting together.”

Because some international students do not have families here or  know about the celebration, the Humber International Centre has made it a goal to help overseas visitors mark this long weekend in some way.

The centre will be taking international students to Ottawa and Montreal to explore and celebrate a special dinner with everyone who attends, said Carrasco.

“The International Centre here wants to make sure that students that come to study from all over the world feel like they are a part of a family even if they are miles away. We try really hard to achieve that,” said Carrasco

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Competency-based Education & Training: Our Legacy and Contribution to International Development

By: Ted Glenn, Ph.D., Professor of Public Administration and Program Coordinator at The Business School, Humber College

This is the third blog post that Ted Glenn has written as part of his experience living in Makassar, Sulawesi province, Indonesia, while working on the Sulawesi Economic Development Strategy Project (SEDS). 

One of the things that sets Humber apart as a postsecondary learning institution is our legacy of competency-based education and training (CBET).  That legacy has allowed us to make meaningful contributions building the capacity of competency-focused organizations world-wide over the past 35 years – and continues to drive our contribution here in Indonesia on Phase Three of the 5-year SEDS project.

For me, the heart of competency-based education and training is its distinct focused learning topics, specific learning activities, and clearly-defined standards of expected performance that are based on and reflect best practices in industry and cutting-edge research.

Workshops with participants

A good part of our time in the Makassar-based workshops thus far – at #UNHAS, #UNISMUH and #UNM – has focused on getting participants to make explicit what exactly they want entrepreneurship students to be able to learn in their classrooms and how exactly they want to measure their learning performance.  From a technical point of view, the issue is about clarifying learning outcomes – clarifying the topic areas that we expect students to learn about, the action or what we want students to do in the topic area, and the performance standard that defines what students need to be able to do in order to demonstrate successful completion of learning within the topic area. This focus on specifics extends throughout the workshops, pushing participants to ensure that learning outcomes are embedded throughout the entrepreneurship curriculum – in delivery techniques, assessment and evaluation tactics, and lesson plans, for example.

Workshops in groups

Designing competency-based curricula is a difficult task, as participants in the Makassar workshops are finding out. They are also developing an awareness, though, that the rewards of designing and implementing good, competency-based curricula are students who are more engaged in the learning process and graduates who are much better prepared to enter the world of work.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Two New Faces on the Humber International Centre Team

The Humber International Centre has two new faces! Their smiles will welcome you at the front desks at our North and Lakeshore campuses.

Meet Olga Greszata, International Recruitment Representative 

Year I joined Humber: 2005

The countries that have seen me: Ukraine, Russia, Poland, Bulgaria, and the United States

I can’t go without these cuisines:

What human qualities does Humber represent? Devotion and affection

Take my word: I’d like to share Jim Ryun’s words: "Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going." 

Meet Brian Wong, International Recruitment Representative 

Year I joined Humber: 2013

The countries that have seen me: United States, Mexico, Bahamas, China, Tunisia, Spain, Italy, Monaco, France

I can’t go without these cuisines: Chinese, Indian, and American 

What human qualities does Humber represent?
Empathy, adventure, and openness

Take my word:
Never be afraid to explore and try out new things. Toronto is one of the most multicultural and diverse cities in the world! You can discover and learn about many different cultures here in the city. Places such as Chinatown, Little Italy, Little India, Koreatown, Greektown, and Jamaicatown, just to name a few are well worth exploring. You can practically see the whole world in this city!

It can be difficult studying in an entirely new environment where you may not know anyone. Don’t be afraid to meet new people, join student groups and clubs, and make new friends! Also, never be afraid to ask for help. Humber students and staff are always willing to help out. And most importantly, always come by the International Center if you have any questions or need any advice

Monday, October 13, 2014

#Humber2Algonquin: A Gourmet Foodie from India Learns to Cook Over a Canadian Campfire

By: Neerav Gandhi, a Global Business Management student from India

The trip started with a contest through the Humber International Centre and me participating in it. I was very clear that I wanted to something adventurous for my birthday. And you may call it a co-incidence that Humber decided to plan a camping trip around my birthday. I had been on camping trips in India, but they’re all very modern in their approach—for example, we would go camping but stay in hotels instead of tents, and we would have bathrooms instead of thunder boxes. I was surprised to see that some of my friends expected the same.

For me, the trip was a break from all that I was doing: working, volunteering, running my small business, and even using the phone, Internet, messaging and what not. I knew I could celebrate my birthday in peace and tranquility with my love if I was on this trip. I had never been camping before in Canada, so it was my first opportunity, and I was very excited.

In the early morning of August 22, we boarded a cute yellow school bus and headed straight to Algonquin with some students who became amazing friends at the end of it. We reached Algonquin, took our canoes, paddles, life jackets and left to find our campsite in the park. This was my first attempt at canoeing, and after some quick lessons by our lovely instructors Amir, Eric and UV, we were off to using our paper map to look for an empty campsite. We split into groups and the experience that followed was a life-changing one. Amidst nature and complete calmness, we set out to setup our amazing tents, chop wood for our campfire and get our little community ready.

During the first evening, my chef instincts came alive while looking at the food barrels. I decided to cook for all the lovely people around. Keeping in mind the menu planned, we made some fresh baby cucumber and tomato salad and gnocchi in herbed tomato sauce followed by our stuffed banana dessert in the special Dutch oven that was there. The bananas were stuffed with marshmallows and chocolate chips, which turned out to be one of the most innovative desserts I had ever had. We called it a night after a tiring day, making sure to lock up all the aromatic stuff on us (deodorant, toothpaste, perfume, cologne, etc.) in the airtight barrels and keeping it away from the site to avoid midnight interactions with bears.

The next morning was amazing, with the guides deciding to play a game of chasing each other’s canoes and tipping in the lake. It was a lot of fun as the water was calm and cool, making it my first dip in the lake. There was bright sunshine, clear weather and time to take some amazing pictures. Lunch was simple with some hummus, baba ghanoush, pita bread and lots of granola bars. During the early evening, most of us spent time forest-walking with Amir who explained to us its various elements. There were different kinds of trees, creatures, mushrooms, plants and so much flora that we were in awe. The sunset was beautiful to see with deep orange skies and slowly the stars coming into sight with their shining rays. Dinner was a tad exotic with corn on the cob, sweet potatoes, lentil rice and stir-fried vegetables.

A little later, we decided to go canoeing a away from the campsite for stargazing. What I saw was the most amazing sight ever - a clear sky full of stars, full moon, and the hazy Milky Way running across. Shooting stars were spotted every 2 minutes. This was the epitome of calmness, serenity, tranquility and peace. I was breathing and felt so small and humble in this humongous universe.

And then came the best part of the evening – my surprise birthday cake. A few of my friends back at the camping site were busy preparing this special cake covered with nutella, marshmallows, and chocolate chips to blow my mind away. It was so special to me that I couldn’t thank them enough. We sang, while Amir played the guitar. We slept like babies that night.

I wasn’t looking forward to the next morning, as I knew it was time to pack up and leave. But I was taking away from this trip my new best friends, lots of happiness, peace and amazing moments that will live with me forever.

I would like to thank the Humber International Centre—especially MatthewKeefe and Overhang Adventures—for putting on such an amazing trip, which will be remembered forever. Thank you.

Lots of love,

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The Magic of Team Teaching 2.0: SEDS - Makassar, Indonesia

By: Ted Glenn, Ph.D., Professor of Public Administration and Program Coordinator at The Business School, Humber College

This is the second blog post that Ted Glenn has written as part of his experience living in Makassar, Sulawesi province, Indonesia, while working on the Sulawesi Economic Development Strategy Project (SEDS). 

In Canada, most post-secondary teachers go off to their classes, close the doors, and deliver their curricula in splendid isolation. Seldom are we pushed to go outside our comfort zones, despite the fact it is precisely beyond the boundaries of our comfort zones where the magic happens.

From Left: Vanessa Murphy (@vanessamurphy), Wyatt Glenn, Ianinta Sebring,
Mary Heather White, Kent Schroeder, Jeff May, and Ted Glenn (@tedglenn)
Team-teaching definitely pushes me to the edge of my comfort zone, especially as it relates to teacher-learner accountability. Typically, teaching alone, you and you alone are responsible to your students for the quality of what you deliver and how you deliver it.  Teaching alone, you live and die by the metal of your pedagogical sword.

On your own, the teacher-learner accountability equation is easily managed if you take your task as educator seriously. But in a team teaching environment, you are forced to share accountability and trust that your co-teacher will 'deliver the goods' to a similar standard as you.  Both of you, in other words, live and die by the same sword.

On the SEDS project (#SEDS), the significance of the teacher-learner accountability factor is amplified by a language challenge (the workshop is translated into Bahasa Indonesian) and the fact that my co-facilitator is not from Humber, i.e., we do not share a similar pedagogical background or teaching experiences.

Ted Glenn (@tedglenn) with Ianinta (@ianinta)
Fortunately, my partner-in-crime in Makassar, Ianinta Sebring (@ianinta), is a talented educator who brings a wealth of knowledge about entrepreneurship in Indonesia and Sulawesi to this stage of the SEDS project. I'm also fortunate that Ianinta and I spent six days with the other two SEDS facilitators (the very capable, Manado-based Kent Schroeder and Jeff May) developing the curriculum for these workshops.

These two elements - Ian's talent and the commonly-developed workshop curriculum - have been critical in helping me begin to find the magic that's just outside my comfort zone on this project.