Inquiry through Blended Learning

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Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Monday, September 20, 2010

University of La Verne - September 2010

After my weekend in California I am beginning to wonder why if I still enjoy air plane travel?

The weekend began with a flight from Calgary to San Francisco. I attended our Faculty of Teaching and Learning (FoTL) Council Meeting and then took a taxi to the airport. After going through a very long line up for Customs and Security Clearance I made way to the assigned gate only to discover that the flight was delayed because of fog at the San Francisco Airport. The delay extended throughout the afternoon and it wasn't until 4pm until we finally departed. This meant that we arrived in San Francisco at 5:40pm - 10 minutes after my flight to Ontario had departed (the only "on-time" flight out of SFO). Fortunately, there was one last flight to Ontario but it too was delayed and I was only able to get a stand-by ticket. Finally, the plane departed at 9:30pm and arrived in Ontario around 10:30pm but we had to sit on the tarmac for about 30 minutes waiting for a delayed flight to SFO to move out of our assigned boarding area. After another wait for my luggage, I took a taxi to the Claremont Double Tree Hotel where I had a shower and turned off the lights around midnight.

I woke up at 7am and pulled back the blinds to an amazing view of the San Bernadino mountains. Clear blue sky with a temperature of around 75F that eventually rose to 92F throughout the day. I had a nice breakfast buffet and then Gordon, the Dean of the Faculty of Business at the University of La Verne drove me to their conference center. I immediately impressed with the sense of community and passion for teaching at this Institution!! Originally, I had planned on facilitating three separate workshops but the conversations were so rich and productive that I stuck to the Student Engagement, Blended Learning and Web 2.0: What's the Connection? session for the entire day. I learned a tremendous amount from the participants throughout the day and I sure hope that I can stay "in touch" with the faculty members of this institution in the future.

I finished the workshop around 3:30pm and Mike, one of the faculty members, drove me to the Ontario airport where I took a SouthWest Airlines flight to Oakland. Sister Beth met me at the airport and we had a wonderful dinner with her family (John, Christopher, and Jackson) at an Asian-California Fusion restaurant operated by one of Christopher and Jackson's classmates. We headed back to their home in the Walnut Creek after dinner and turned into bed early as I was exhausted from the workshop and they had spent the day in San Jose at the boys' first volleyball tournament.

The sky was overcast when we woke up on Sunday but John had a wonderful pancake breakfast on the go for us. After breakfast, John and I headed out for a great mountain bike ride. We rode around the base of Mount Diablo and then along the pathways in the near by neighbourhoods. I went for a swim in their backyard pool when we returned and then we headed out for Jackson and Christopher's soccer game. The boys' team was down 2-0 at the half but they battled back to a 2-2 tie. John drove me to the Walnut Creek BART station after the game so that I could shuttle back to SFO. I must admit that I was a bit nervous about my return trip to Calgary and all my fears were confirmed at check-in. First, I found out that my United Airlines ticket had been voided because I had missed my Ontario to SFO connection. I had to pay an additional $150 to get back on the flight. Then, once I got through security - sure enough the flight was delayed for an hour making for a very late arrival in Calgary :(

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Rockbound Lake Hike - September 2010

Usually we would be camping in K-country for the Labour Day weekend but a weather forecast of wet and cool weather - dampened our enthusiasm. So . . . we decided on a day hike to Rockbound Lake in Banff National Park with Katja, Larry, and Stefan. Our boys were supposed to join us but unfortunately Alex got a case of food poisoning from a Taco Bell take-out dinner - so he and Eric stayed home for the day :(

Once again, we were incredibly fortunate with the weather. When we arrived at the base of Castle Mountain the sky had turned dark and there were a few drops of rain. I was imagining a wet, wet hike but the clouds moved on and we had mostly a sunny sky for the entire hike. It's an 8.4km hike to Rockbound Lake and the first part of the walk is a bit of a slog along an olde fire road. As you progress the forest begins to thin and you get some great views down into the Bow Valley. The trail then enters an alpine meadow behind Castle Mountain and the sheer rock walls are very impressive. We finished the final switch backs up to Rockbound Lake and found a sunny spot for lunch - surrounded by the natural ampitheatre of rock.

Marie had even purchased a day fishing license for Eric so we took a few casts into the lake but it was very difficult to imagine that there were any fish in the lake as it was so shallow and void of any plant life. We sunned ourselves for awhile on the huge rocks at the base of the Castle Mountain talus slopes and then headed back down the trail for an amazing dinner at the Storm Mountain Lodge :)