Taylor’s University learned quickly how a global health crisis could impact in-person classes during the SARS epidemic in 2002. With this in mind, the university quickly adopted a Borderless Learning approach into its entire curriculum.
Taylor’s Borderless Learning approach features state-of-the-art equipment and features to help online classes run smoothly. Intrigued, I got to experience this first hand during Taylor’s Culinary Institute’s (TCI) Macaron Decorating Masterclass conducted by Chef Aaron Tang.
During the class, Chef Aaron controlled a mounted top view camera with zoom capabilities and conversed with students via a two-way headphone with microphone. Students attending the class were able to send in their questions via a chat box application in which Chef Aaron could view on a Smart TV.
The whole setup came complete with clear lighting which helped illuminate the demonstration table clearly for those at home.
Our first task as students was to mix the ingredients to make a chocolate ganache for the macarons. I found that it was easy to follow the instructions because I could get a close-up view of the demonstration table even though I was all the way at home.
By the end of the class, I’ve successfully made delicious chocolate ganache to go with the macarons.
Aside from the abovementioned features, Taylor’s e-Learning masterplan also included the development and deployment of Lightboards.
A Lightboard is a glass board that records what lecturers write in real-time which can be directly included in lecture videos.
The university has also invested in a virtual lab simulator called Labster, which is a realistic first-person “simulator” that allows users to practice conducting experiments without worrying about time and risk.
Taylor’s University also integrated Augmented Reality (AR) and gamification elements into its classes too
Nabilah Abdul Gafur, Taylor’s Culinary Institute’s first-year student testified that the integration of technology into TCI’s curriculum is a positive move for students, especially for those studying across borders.
“As an international student, Borderless Learning has been a massive help to me during this pandemic. With this concept, I have the flexibility to access learning materials at my own convenience, so I can understand the module, assignment and techniques at my own pace and not fall behind on my education, at the comfort and safety of my home. The ability to interact with lectures also helps me improve my communication skills,” said Nabilah, who is an Indonesian native.
Taylor’s Culinary Institute Director, Chef Frederic Cerchi said, “As conditions are volatile, with positive COVID-19 cases steadily rising each day, TCI needed to mitigate risks of classes being put on hold yet again. As the culinary and hospitality programmes are much more hands-on in nature, we worked closely with our e-Learning experts to develop and enhance the university’s e-Learning innovations and capabilities to ensure our lecturers and students are able to reap the full potential and benefit of online learning. Even if it means we are cooking in different kitchens.”
The e-Learning enhancement for TCI sees the innovative integration of technology to its kitchen-classroom settings, equipping it with a state-of-the-art lecture system to conduct practical learning sessions. “Since then, we have carefully curated our programme offerings to ensure it is a mix of theory and practical training, even when we are unable to conduct face-to-face classes. The implementation of TCI’s Borderless Learning into our curriculum ensures our chef-lecturers and students are able to continue their classes no matter the situation,” he added.
Building on the success of Borderless Learning, TCI will be running an online cooking competition “Beyond the Boundaries of Taste” from 28 June to 11 August 2021.
The national competition is open to all diploma students majoring in culinary arts, and participants will stand a chance to earn bursaries of up to RM5,000 to enrol in Taylor’s Advanced Diploma in Patisserie and Gastronomic Cuisine, along with a guaranteed 3 months Internship at a Michelin Starred Restaurant in Summer 2022 and a Certification of Participation.
For full terms and conditions of the online competition, please visit TCI’s Instagram page here: @taylors_culinary_institute.