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Press Release: Taylor’s Culinary Institute Champions E-Learning Through Unprecedented Times

Taylor’s Culinary Institute (TCI) today shared its practical classes mitigation plan for its culinary and hospitality courses, through an immersive media masterclass that enables participants to experience its Borderless Learning concept. The masterclass saw participants engaging in a macaron decorating workshop, allowing them to navigate through the state-of-the-art ‘digital classroom’.

Taylor’s University was able to swiftly migrate face-to-face teaching and learning to a hybrid learning system, as the pandemic restricted international travel and physical distancing was officially put in place. The migration follows the proactive steps taken by the University with its e-Learning master plan conceptualised back in 2002 costing RM50 million.

Back in 2002, the SARS epidemic saw the closures of schools and universities – a similar setback to what the world is experiencing today. Understanding the severe nature a global health crisis can impose on education continuity, Taylor’s University developed an e-Learning blueprint to ensure disruptions to teaching and learning are mitigated.

Taylor’s e-Learning blueprint’s main mission is to enhance the teaching and learning experience for both lecturers and students and ensure that classes are able to seamlessly switch to hybrid mode should another crisis of a similar scale occur in the future. The e-Learning masterplan included the development and deployment of ‘Lightboards’, a glass board that records what lecturers write in real-time, which can then be directly included in lecture videos; investment in a virtual lab simulator called ‘Labster’,  a realistic first-person “simulator” that allows users to practice conducting experiments without worrying about time and risk; and even integrating Augmented Reality (AR) and gamification elements into our classes.

As COVID-19’s unprecedented situation prolonged and governments around the world continue to implement enhanced standard operating procedures to minimise infection rates, Taylor’s saw an opportunity to further improve its e-learning offerings, mitigating risks of extended disruptions to classes due to the pandemic, with alternative creative forms of module delivery. 

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 the 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 continued.

TCI’s lecture capture system is able to integrate virtual online conference software – which is now seen as one of the most essential tools when conducting online learning, into its culinary and pastry studios to form a two-way communication model in the classroom whilst ensuring the safety and wellbeing of both students and chef-lecturers. The system is also equipped with technological tools necessary for students’ learning, especially when presenting their works on the demonstration table. Such tools include a mounted top-view camera with zoom capabilities, mounted lighting and a two-way headphone with a microphone allowing interactive communications between chef lecturers and students. 

Building on the success of Borderless Learning, TCI will be running an online cooking competition “Beyond the Boundaries of Taste” from 28 June – 28 July 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 enroll 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 (@taylors_culinary_institute).

Despite challenges imposed by COVID-19, Taylor’s University retained its position as the top private university in Malaysia and Southeast Asia in the QS World University Rankings 2022. The institution’s quick adaptability and innovation in online learning have proved to be effective as Taylor’s University won four out of nine awards for higher education in the recent International University Carnival on e-Learning (IUCEL) 2021 organised by the Ministry of Higher Education

This is the institution’s best results since 2015, attaining the most gold medals for any university with 11 gold, 17 silver, and 9 bronze medals. The award wins are a testament that the university is heading in the right direction in its approach to hybrid learning, providing an enriching student experience, with or without a pandemic.

For more information on TCI, please visit www.taylorsculinaryinstitute.com.

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