Capilano University is one member of a B.C. consortium of tourism and post-secondary education partners that launched on September 24 a free online teaching tool focused on 2010 Olympic Games issues.
The program, known as e-Legacies, uses Games-related news stories as discussion points for instructors and students. The collaborative effort between Capilano, Thompson Rivers University, and Simon Fraser University was funded through BCcampus and is being coordinated by tourism network organization LinkBC.
The concept, according to project manager, LinkBC’s Terry Hood, is to ignite curiosity about the phenomenon of the Games. He feels previous Olympic Games have missed an opportunity to collect and package Games information that can become invaluable teaching tools.
“We have seen a lot of Olympic-related initiatives going on at some of our colleges and universities, but in a sort of scattered and piecemeal way,” he said. “We want to be a pass-the-learning-legacies torch that will be passed on from Games to Games.”
The project has received support from VANOC and other tourism industry members, many who were on hand for the launch.
“This will be the most significant educational legacy from the Games,” said VANOC’s director of education, Don Black.
Two key messages that the group learned through the process is the importance of collaboration and starting early. Hood has already meet with U.K. officials who plan to take over the concept for the 2012 Olympics in London after the 2010 Games end, and Russian officials are expected to do the same for the Sochi Olympics in 2014.
The program website, found at http://www.elegacies.ca/2010, allows students and instructors to easily download PDF files of discussion starters written in a journalistic style that encourages critical thinking. It is considered open courseware material and is free for use by instructors worldwide. Topics include tourism marketing activities, transportation challenges, venue design, social impacts, merchandising strategies and security issues. These discussion pieces are the heart of the e-Legacies site, which provide safe and easy learning.
“We want issues to be dealt with in an unencumbered way – we’re not Olympic boosters or Olympic naysayers,” Hood said.
He said the program will clearly help business, tourism and marketing students but stresses it can be applied to a wide range of disciplines, including history and philosophy.
“It’s been great to work with people who focus on possibilities, rather than on what can’t be done,” said Capilano University’s dean of the Faculty of Business, Graham Fane. “We’ve already seen benefits that have come from working together on this project.”