Associate Professor Caro McCaw introduced collaborative project-based learning to a New York State tertiary education institution.
Caro was invited to spend nine months in upstate New York as a recipient of a prestigious 2016/17 Fulbright Scholarship. She found that SUNY Canton still had a very traditional approach to teaching, with lecturers standing in front of the class talking for 40 minutes. Students at SUNY Canton were disengaged and had low pass rates.
Caro taught three courses, Introduction to Design, Sustainability Design and Art in Oceania, in the raphic and Multimedia Design department at SUNY Canton. A collaborative and project-based approach is integral to Caro's teaching and learning practice. Her students came from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds. Caro encouraged the students to explore their own cultural identity and sense of self, providing them with a New Zealand cultural lens. The students produced and presented their own project work. She also collaborated with a colleague in the department, Kathleen Mahoney, so that students in both classes could work together on their projects.
Kathleen Mahoney has been inspired by Caro's way of doing things. She is using the freedom to do things differently to change her teaching and research practice. SUNY Canton is grateful for the fresh approach which Caro brought to the department.