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Wow! Look where lucky Algoma U students are going (photo)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013   by: Staff



 Algoma U students off to Cuba
History course showcases benefits of 'block' learning

ST. THOMAS, ON (February 12, 2013) - Students at Algoma University at St. Thomas are getting ready to take their second course of the winter term - by packing their bags for Cuba.
Twenty students and two chaperones will be getting out of the classroom for the next two weeks for an immersive and intensive learning experience.

The students depart from Toronto on February 13, and arrive on the peninsula of Varadero that evening.

From their accommodations at Varadero, the students, along with instructor Dr. Bill Newbigging, will travel extensively throughout Cuba.
The course they will be taking is History 2896, Colony to Communist Nation: Cuba - Case Study in Colonialism, and excursions will include learning experiences at the reconstructed Taino Indian village at Laguna del Tesoro, the Bay of Pigs battle sites (including the Old Sugar Refinery where Fidel Castro had his headquarters during the invasion), historical site seeing in Havana, and many other exciting learning excursions.
While in Cuba, the students (when not studying) will taste authentic Cuban cuisine, relax at beautiful Caribbean beaches [Varadero beach shown], and perhaps even refine their Spanish language skills.

Dr. Newbigging has taken undergraduates to Cuba before, but never as a class.

"The students I've taken in the past have all enjoyed the experience, but I'm looking forward to bringing that cultural context into the classroom through experiential learning," he said.
The experience is made possible by the innovative style of program delivery in place at Algoma University at St. Thomas.

Referred to as the "Block Model", or "One Course at a Time", the model reduces a 12-week-long university term, where students study up to five subjects simultaneously, to a series of three week "blocks", where students take a single course at a time.

Upon completing one block, the students' progress to the next block, and so on.
One of the most exciting and important advantages of this type of program is the opportunity it affords for truly immersive study, outside of the conventional classroom.

"When a student is studying five classes at once, they are locked into a pretty tight routine and schedule that doesn't allow for much flexibility," says Brock Olive, operations director of Extension Programming at Algoma University. "The 'block' model allows students to focus on a single course for a short period of time, intensifying the learning experience, and allows for the flexibility of teaching that course anywhere in the world."
First-year Algoma University at St. Thomas student Alexandria DeVries is very excited about the upcoming trip.

"It is an amazing opportunity, being able to study in Cuba, and learn about its history, people and culture," she said. "This is an invaluable educational experience that I am sure I will never forget."
About Algoma University 

Algoma University offers a wide variety of liberal arts and sciences degree options including programs in psychology, computer science, business administration, fine arts, community economic & social development, and biology in Sault Ste. Marie, Brampton, Timmins and St. Thomas.

As a partner with Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig, Algoma U is committed to respecting Anishinaabe knowledge and culture.

Algoma University has launched its Essential Elements Campaign to expand its campus and offer more scholarships and awards to students.

To learn more, visit here.


Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
Yogi1 2/12/2013 11:00:41 AM Report

WOW - University aged adults needing chaperones....???
I wonder who gets the free trip....??
Teacher/chaperone = 2


Number One Son 2/12/2013 11:14:38 AM Report

How nice that my PUC payments help subsidize a vacation to Cuba for these people. BTW, ... in all my weeks spent in Varadero, the water has never been this calm, .... I doubt the photo is of a Varadero beach.
sportsfan17 2/12/2013 12:47:05 PM Report

@Number One Son

Sorry but you've got some misplaced facts. The university isn't covering the extra costs for the trip. It's coming out of the students and/or parent's pockets.

And get a new line, the PUC crack has been old for a long time already..
frizz 2/12/2013 12:58:38 PM Report

It doesnt mention where the funding is coming from and I think the is probably everyone's question.
2 Cor 5:17 2/12/2013 2:32:36 PM Report

More communist indoctrination from left wing professors. Why would they want to contribute to a dictatorship economy?
Bill_the_Cat 2/12/2013 3:45:11 PM Report

Don't take any gay students--or anyone critical of the regime. That could end badly.

Please do stop in Miami on the way home and get the other side of the story. But I suspect you will not. The opposite of 'diversity' is 'university', particularly when it comes to opinions.
sportsfan17 2/12/2013 4:06:58 PM Report

Alright, I'll retract my last statement. I attended Town Hall meetings at Algoma U as a student at the time when they were discussing the possible implementation of the Block Program at Algoma U. At that time it was stated that additional expenses for excursions would be covered by the students/parents.

Upon further research, according to the Algoma U website, the trip to Cuba at least, will be covered by the university. Hopefully this will change for future endeavours!
Cashmier 2/12/2013 4:26:09 PM Report

Sportsfan - as someone paying tuition (again) to Algoma U I figure I should double check your findings before I flipped out.

From the website:

"Thanks to a generous gift from the Dorothy Palmer Estate, the expenses for the course in Cuba will be covered for you. So you’ll spend two weeks in beautiful Northern Ontario, two weeks in the sunny Caribbean and the whole package will cost less than the tuition fees at most universities. And you don’t have to pay for residence, either!"

To be perfectly honest, this makes good marketing sense - they are trying to sell the block format as a desirable way to deliver education, so they need to encourage participation by removing barriers (and making it exciting with a trip to Cuba).

Also, Cuba is a great choice for a History course as case study - it is affordable and is relevant to some of the major themes in History (Colonialism). This is not a Politics class...
Bill_the_Cat 2/12/2013 4:35:54 PM Report

The DR would be just as inexpensive without adding commie baggage onto the trip.

But these are all adults, so really who cares where they go (tuition paying parents excepted).

What I marvel at is why this merits a news item at all.

I miss Helwig.
Number One Son 2/13/2013 12:23:35 AM Report

People firing off stupid comments such as "commie baggage" obviously have little knowledge of Cuba. Having been there a couple of times and getting immersed into the culture and the people, it is a beautiful country. If I could get used to the food, I would move there in a heartbeat.
Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
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