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Department of Leisure and Recreation Management at AU has a flipped classroom in Okinawa, Japan.

Department of Leisure and Recreation Management at AU has a flipped classroom in Okinawa, Japan.---

As a different way from traditional teaching, Associate Professor Chao-Chien Chen lectured an interdisciplinary program of outdoor games and team motivation at a flipped classroom in Okinawa, Japan.

Okinawa Zanpamisaki Royal Hotel assigns a student (third on the left) from National Kaohsiung University of Hospitality and Tourism to introduce management methods of the hotel to AU students.

Okinawa Zanpamisaki Royal Hotel assigns a student (third on the left) from National Kaohsiung University of Hospitality and Tourism to introduce management methods of the hotel to AU students.

  As the traditional teaching could not satisfy students’ desire for knowledge learning anymore, Associate Professor Chao-Chien Chen of the Leisure and Recreation Management Department at AU decided to lecture an interdisciplinary program of outdoor games and team motivation at a flipped classroom in Okinawa, Japan. The students who took the course had to overcome the language barrier and bought round-trip tickets to fly to Okinawa on their own. While studying in Okinawa, they also needed to keep expense budgets strictly, which is one of the criteria for grades.

    The program of outdoor games and team motivation taught by Associate Professor Chao-Chien Chen was so popular that it was fully registered by students as soon as the course selection began. The school also invited a senior lecturer in the industry, Nian-Shi Wang, to assist the teaching. Totally, 23 of the 77 students who took the course chose to study in Okinawa. In the 6-day itinerary, the budget must be controlled under NTD 16,000, including the expenses for round-trip tickets, accommodations, rental cars, and meals. The students who had the best accommodations with the least expense would get higher grades for the final examination. According to a review after the trip, most students had their budgets controlled under NTD 16,000, while some of them were even under NTD 14,000.

  Associate Professor Chao-Chien Chen said that he gave only an instruction to the students that they must arrive at Onna-son in Okinawa at 16:00 on Nov. 26, 2014. The students had to book online round-trip flight tickets, accommodations, rental cars, as well as meals in advance, and apply for international driving licenses. They were separated into groups to work on the trip to Okinawa and deal with the language barrier. Starting from getting to know one another, the students needed to solve problems together and manage to attend the class in Okinawa.

  During the 6-day class in Okinawa, Japan, the students visited the protection area for whale sharks, understanding that the Okinawa government regarded the ecological protection as a valuable tourism asset. The general manager of the Okinawa Zanpamisaki Royal Hotel also arranged a tour for the students and introduced the facilities as well as the famous wedding church in the hotel. The general manager also said that the hotel would be pleased to have industry-academia collaboration with Asia University.

Through the outdoor waters of ecological recreation resource, General Manager Wei-Gu Wang (in the middle) introduces the concept of ecological protection in Onna-son, Okinawa.

Through the outdoor waters of ecological recreation resource, General Manager Wei-Gu Wang (in the middle) introduces the concept of ecological protection in Onna-son, Okinawa.

  “In the process of trying and finding solutions, students often asks what to do if they don’t understand Japanese,” said Lecturer Nian-Shi Wang. He explained that the meaning and value of the flipped classroom was to develop students’ ability of handling frustration and communicating with the language barrier. Students must step out of the comfort zone to take challenges outside of the classroom. By cooperating with one another to complete missions, they were trained to equip with abilities, including communication, problem solving, information collection, and languages, that could not be acquired in regular classrooms.

  Xiao-Yi Zhu, an overseas Chinese student from Hong Kong, said that the flipped classroom was more exciting than what she expected. She thanked the teachers for being bold enough to let the students step out of the comfort zone and explore the world on their own. During the six days in Okinawa, she found that problems in reality were much more than she could imagine and that she usually did not know how to deal with them. Situations would get even worse if she were in a foreign country without the capability of speaking local languages. Therefore, she realized the importance of languages through the class.

  Yun-Peng Chen, a student of the Psychology Department, said that the 6-day trip in Okinawa proved that experience is the best teacher. Plans were always accompanied with unexpected changes, which made communication a crucial ability for the students to share joys and sorrows, and grow together. “None of these can be learned in the classroom,” said he.

 

Nian-Shi Wang (second on the right), a senior lecturer in the industry, assists to plan the courses of the flipped classroom.

Nian-Shi Wang (second on the right), a senior lecturer in the industry, assists to plan the courses of the flipped classroom.

 

 

General Manager of Okinawa Zanpamisaki Royal Hotel (in the middle) is pleased to have collaboration with Asia University.

General Manager of Okinawa Zanpamisaki Royal Hotel (in the middle) is pleased to have collaboration with Asia University.

 

 

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