Articles tagged with: experiential education

  • Visual Arts students get creative career advice from international artists

    Visual Arts students in Assistant Professor Amy Friend’s Introduction to Digital Photography class were given the chance to interview six successful, creative professionals from around the world thanks to an Experiential Education Teaching and Learning Innovation Grant. The class is pictured engaged in discussion with Dornith Doherty, a Texas professor who documents and collages seeds and tissue samples.


    (From The Brock News, April 25, 2019 | By: Sarah Ackles)

    What’s it like to create a photographic archive of plant seeds and tissue samples that could one day ensure humanity’s very survival?

    What about travelling the world to capture award-winning images of the rapidly melting polar ice caps or soldiers in conflict zones?

    Students in Brock’s Introduction to Digital Photography class learned all of this and more, directly from creative professionals this past semester.

    Thanks to an Experiential Education Teaching and Learning Innovation Grant, Assistant Professor Amy Friend was able to invite six professionals in the field of photography from around the world to visit her class via video chat.

    British-American artist Phillip Toledano, pictured on screen, was one of six artists who participated in student-conducted interviews as part of Assistant Professor Amy Friend’s Introduction to Digital Photography class. The Visual Arts students were given the opportunity to interact with these creative professionals thanks to an Experiential Education Teaching and Learning Innovation Grant.

    Visual Arts students researched and subsequently interviewed guest speakers one-on-one, before ending each session with a group discussion.

    The exercise provided valuable insight into the artistic process and the challenges involved with working in different areas of photography, Friend said.

    “The students responded quite well; you could see a sense of excitement,” she said. “They heard interesting stories about how artists work through their processes and different insights about how and why specific choices are made, and the methods used to get this work out into the world.”

    Participating artists included Dornith Doherty, a professor and Guggenheim Foundation Fellow from North Texas who documents and collages plant seeds and tissue samples in her Archiving Eden project; Cig Harvey, an artist whose work has been exhibited at major museums and collections in the United States and Europe;  Spanish artist Alfonso Almedros; award-winning photojournalist Louie Palu, whose work has been featured in National Geographic and numerous international collections; Jacqueline Bates, Photography Director of The California Sunday Magazine; and British-American mixed-media artist and author Phillip Toledano.

    Fourth-year Visual Arts student Rachel McCartney was tasked with interviewing Toledano, whose work is similar to what she aspires to create herself one day.

    “Interacting with visiting artists in a classroom setting was an extremely useful and gratifying experience,” she said. “It allowed for direct one-on-one communication and to dissect the brain of someone who is a successful future version of what I aspire to be.”

    The grant was one of 18 that were awarded in 2018-19 to support the development of new experiential learning courses and experiential opportunities within existing courses.

    The Teaching and Learning Innovation Grants were supported financially by Experiential Education at Brock and external funding through the province’s Career Ready Fund.

    Sandy Howe, Associate Director, Experiential Education, said the new interview series went “above and beyond” expectations and offered a “highly impactful” experiential learning opportunity for participating students.

    “It’s always amazing to me to see faculty members trying something new in their courses and how this impacts their own learning and engagement with their teaching,” she added. “This is an excellent example of how different types of experiences can be used to improve both teaching and learning.”

    Friend said the calibre and range of artists who participated also exposed students to the range of career opportunities that exist for someone with a Fine Arts and Photography background.

    “It was one of the best things I’ve ever experienced in my teaching strategies,” she said. “I was stunned by how much information the students were able to learn in a short period of time.”

    For McCartney, the experience armed her with more confidence as an artist and a wealth of advice for ensuring success in her future career.

    “I find it really important that we constantly look for new ways to teach and learn because it promotes better student engagement,” she said. “Actively changing the curriculum to integrate new ways of learning creates a more personalized education that is beneficial to students. I’m very thankful to the artists who participated and immensely thankful for Professor Friend for organizing this experience.”

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    Categories: Current Students, Department/Centre News, Faculty & Instructors, News

  • Music majors to make an impact in Niagara with new Practicum course

    A group of Music majors are taking their learning into the real world this fall as they complete the new Music Practicum course. Led by Music Chair Matthew Royal (back left) and Course Co-ordinator Tim Stacey (back right), this year’s students include (front, from left) Jesse Day, Shaniqua Goodridge, Brielle Kaminsky, Sarah Hollick, Ryan Baxter and Gavino Oresta.


    (From The Brock News, Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2018 | by Sarah Moore)

    A group of Brock Music majors will put their classroom learning into practice this fall as the first students enrolled in the new Music Practicum course.

    The multi-year conjunction course allows students to complete for-credit volunteer placements in either music education, music health/therapy, music administration or music in the community.

    Music Chair Matthew Royal said the course is unique because it provides real-world learning experiences while also giving students course credit and volunteer hours that are often required for those applying to Faculties of Education down the road.

    “The idea is to introduce students to real-world settings that might line up with their future career goals and to have them apply the skills and knowledge they’ve learned from their courses in those settings,” he explained.

    It also helps students discover what they are interested in career-wise and how they can achieve their long-term goals, added Koreen McCullough, Experiential Education Co-ordinator, Faculty of Humanities.

    “Learning what you don’t like is just as valuable as learning what you do like,” she said. “Students are not only getting the valuable placement experience through this course but are also being taught up front to set their own goals. At the end of term, they will have a chance to reflect on challenges and achievements, access resume coaching and really apply what they’ve learned to help achieve their future career goals.”

    Six Music majors signed up to work in schools and community organizations around the Niagara region this year.

    Course Co-ordinator Tim Stacey (BA ’15) said the students have already shown themselves to be extremely dedicated and enthusiastic.

    “They’ve worked on these placements over the summer, made connections and did their own research to find them,” said Stacey, who has worked for community choirs as well as the Niagara Symphony and Youth Orchestras since graduating from Brock’s Music program. “They didn’t get to just pick a selection from a list. They had to find the placement themselves, so it’s evident how engaged they are.”

    Gavino Oresta, a fourth-year Music student, will be completing his placement working with music classes at Saint Michael Catholic High School in Niagara Falls, alongside his former high school music teacher, coincidentally.
    With plans to become a music teacher himself, Oresta is looking forward to the challenge of leading his own lessons with the high school students this year.
    “For anyone interested in teaching, it’s a great environment,” he said. “It’s also good to get different perspectives on how teachers go about their lesson structure because every school goes about their music program a bit differently.”

    Learning about different teaching styles was what piqued the interest of second-year student Brielle Kaminsky, who will be working with extracurricular music ensembles, such as the choir, jazz band and string ensemble, at Ridley College in St. Catharines.

    “I’m going to be working with students from all over the world in my placement and it’s really cool seeing how different cultures practice music,” she said. “Not only am I learning in the classroom myself, but I also get to go out and teach what I’m learning in the class to students, too.”

    Adds Oresta: “Plus, you’re hanging around in a music class, which is just fun and exciting to me on its own.”For the first few weeks of the course, students will engage in workshops that will identify their learning outcomes for the term and outline the benefits of experiential learning. They will begin their work placements in late September, with the aim of completing 50 volunteer hours by April.

    The course is open to all Music majors in second year and above and can be taken consecutively year after year. Applications for next year’s practicum course will open in the spring and anyone interested in applying is encouraged to  contact Matthew Royal or Tim Stacey.

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    Categories: Current Students, Department/Centre News, News