Inquiry through Blended Learning

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Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Monday, March 03, 2014

Cambridge and Boston, Massachusetts Trip - February 2014

I was very fortunate to connect with my past on my 54th birthday and capture the experience with photos. I was born on February 29, 1960, in a snow storm, in Cambridge, Massachusetts and I lived there for the first year and a half of my live.  I remember visiting Boston with my Father on a business trip when I was 10 years old.  It was May, 1970 and the BostonBruins had just won the Stanley Cup with Bobby Orr’s historic goal.

A lot has changed to me and the city in the past 44 years but I also learned there is a lot of history to the Boston area.  The Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620 and in 1636 an educational institution was established to train local clergy.  In 1638, John Harvard donated his library and part of his land holdings to the institution, which was renamed Harvard University in his honour.  The buildings and gates of Harvard have seen a lot of people and history over the years: the American Revolution, the Civil War, the 1st and 2nd World Wars.  Originally, Harvard was exclusively for men but do to a lack of students during WWII they began admitting women.  Neighbouring Radcliffe College had already been set up to educate women and in 1999 Radcliffe officially became part of Harvard University.

Meanwhile, just down Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge a technical institution was established in 1861 with the name of MassachusettsInstitute for Technology (MIT).  Over the years this institution has become one of the premier technical universities with advancements in everything from jet engines, computer technologies, and even linguistics (I forgot that Noam Chomsky was a faculty member at MIT).

And, downtown Boston is definitely a mix of the past and the present.  The North End was the home to the American Revolution (against the British) and is where Samuel Adams (the leader of the revolution) and Paul Revere (the town crier) both lived.  The Boston Public market still exists with street sales of fruit, vegetables, and sea food.  TD Gardens is also located in this area, the home of both the Boston Bruins and Celtics.

The reason I was in town was for an Academic Impressions conference on faculty development for blended and online learning.  It was a three day conference, where I facilitated workshops on the context of faculty development, the pedagogy of online learning, and faculty buy-in and engagement.