Alex Agostinho may not have kids, but he knows a lot about toilet training.
The 23-year-old Interactive Arts and Science student recently completed an experiential education internship at the Niagara Region alongside nursing student Alexandria Vandyk. Their assignment was to create an e-learning prototype course for new parents.
“I was a bit surprised when they narrowed it down to toilet training,” Agostinho said. “I knew it would be a great story to tell my kids when I am older.”
Though the subject matter might have seemed a little bit removed from his current studies, Agostinho quickly realized that he was qualified to contribute to the final product.
“I was given design templates and materials and I used Adobe Captivate to build digital courses,” he said. “Every time I finished a module, I would submit it for evaluation and get it back for improvements.”
The experiential opportunity also helped Agostinho discover he enjoyed working in an office more than he thought he would.
“I am very creative, but I learned that office environments can be fun and friendly,” he said.
The most significant discovery for Agostinho was the importance of experiential education in creating opportunities for students, and in showing them career avenues that they may not have considered.
“The course gave me a lot of experience that you can’t learn in a classroom,” he said. “It’s important to understand what it’s like to be in a workplace, and I will use those skills for the rest of my life.”
Though Agostinho’s toilet training knowledge might not help his University peers, he does have some advice to students who were thinking of taking a course that includes an experiential education component.
“If a student has a chance to take a course like this, it’s something they should try,” he said. “Even if they’re not interested in the subject matter, learning professionalism alone is a skill that will help them in life.”
Agostinho continues to volunteer at the Niagara Region and says that the toilet training e-learning course should be available soon on the Niagara Region website.