Borderless approach to culinary lessons

TO keep lessons going in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, Taylor’s Culinary Institute (TCI) has adopted an approach that allows its students to attend classes virtually.

This need to pivot was necessary as the pandemic prolonged the movement control orders, restricting travel and the number of people allowed in confined spaces.

TCI director Frederic Cerchi said the institute saw this as an opportunity to create an alternative form of module delivery for its culinary lessons.

Dubbing it Borderless Learning, the digitalised practical “classroom” allows lessons to be delivered in real time to students, without jeopardising their safety and well-being.

“As conditions were volatile, with positive Covid-19 cases steadily rising each day, TCI needed to mitigate risks of classes being put on hold yet again,” he said during a special macaron decorating demonstration class conducted by the institute’s programme director and chef-lecturer Aaron Tang on June 23.

“Our Borderless Learning plan has seen chef-lecturers creating a simulated environment that closely mirrors industry-standard workplace practices.

“We integrated the innovative use of technology into our kitchen-classroom settings, equipping them with a state-of-the-art lecture system to conduct practical learning sessions,” he added.

He also said the institute needed to ensure the quality of its hands-on culinary lessons was not compromised.

“Even if it means we are cooking in different kitchens.”

Borderless Learning is part of Taylor’s University’s e-Learning master plan, ensuring both theoretical learning and practical training can continue even when face-to-face classes cannot.

The e-Learning enhancement for TCI has a lecture capture system that is able to integrate virtual online conference software into its culinary and pastry studios to form a two-way communication model in the classroom, while ensuring the safety and well-being of both students and chef-lecturers.

The system is also equipped with technological tools necessary for students’ learning, especially when presenting their work on the demonstration table.

Such tools include a mounted top-view camera with Zoom capabilities, mounted lighting and a two-way headphone with a microphone allowing interactive communication between chef lecturers and students.

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