This month we’re profiling Professor Michael Krondl, an adjunct lecturer in the Hospitality Management Department who teaches Introduction to Food Service Management and Culinary Tourism. Professor Krondl joined the City Tech community in January 2011.
How were you introduced the platform and when/how did you begin actively using the platform to support your pedagogy?
Honestly, I can’t remember when I started using Open Lab, maybe four years ago?* I first started using it in my Culinary Tourism class since it seemed like a good place to collect short blog posts from students about locations we visited. Later I started using it in my Intro to Hospitality Management class, mostly because I thought first year students would find it easier to use than Blackboard.
*According to Professor Krondl’s OpenLab profile, he joined in 2012.
Why did you decide to start using the OpenLab?
In the case of the Culinary Tourism course, it allowed me to get students to interact in a way that is similar to the way the general public interacts with review sites, that is by writing their own reviews using the OpenLab as a publishing platform.
In the intro class, the OpenLab just seemed like a more intuitive way to organize material. Moreover, in this course students are expected to write a variety of assignments in differing formats; the platform provided a forum for yet another form of writing, that is writing a review.
Can you describe the ways you have integrated the OpenLab into your pedagogical practices?
I can’t add much to the above. As described, in the tourism class, the OpenLab provides a way of organizing class info for students, and also serving as a place to post and comment on each other’s assignments. More or less the same story with the intro class.
For the intro class this semester, there is an additional component – mainly that the course site is now an Open Educational Resource (OER), so the website acts as a virtual textbook. I have long been looking for a textbook that we could use in class and finally realized that it would be simpler to organize a set of curated readings on the OpenLab. Thus the site acts as both a forum for interaction and a textbook. And the students don’t have to pay for it!
The reality is that I find Open Lab to be one useful tool among many. It is by no means a panacea so I use it for what it’s good for: an attractive (if not always intuitive way of organizing information) and a reasonably good platform for discussion.
How has the OpenLab transformed or expanded your pedagogy, and the pedagogical values you’re able to realize in your courses and educational practice?
In both classes, my main ambition is to expand the students’ view of the hospitality industry and the world. In both cases they are required to go out in the world and report back via posts on our course site, hosted on the OpenLab. This varies in effectiveness–students come from a variety of educational backgrounds, often have limited writing skills, and can lack motivation–but it’s a heck of a lot better than just handing in pieces of paper for me to look at.
Aside from courses, how does the OpenLab support your pedagogical practices and ambitions? (Note: Think broadly about public education initiatives, course coordination, non-academic student support, clubs, and projects, etc.)
I don’t use it other than for the courses.