My journey through the University of North Carolina Wilmington - Mohan Sharma (India, 2019/20)
The campus was shining and totally peaceful with a large number of nearly similar-looking huge buildings. Georgian architecture is the standard at University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW). This university is on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean with a total area of 650 acres of which 25% is reserved for the forest
“Stop Requested” Lutze Hall 8.20 a.m. The words appeared with sound on the digital running screen of the free university shuttle. The driver then stopped the shuttle and switched on the automatic door of the low floor bus at the prescribed location. I noticed that everybody was thanking her while getting down from the bus; She was responding to everyone with good wishes for a pleasant day. It was a pleasant 5 minute journey from “Colonial Parke” (near our hotel) to this university with 22 participants from 19 countries. Thanking the bus driver for her highly careful driving and receiving the response of having a good day was a memorable moment for me as this was unusual for me.
“Can you guide us to the Watson College of Education building”? asked one of the participants to a passerby. She took out the mobile typed something and told him that you can proceed this way. It is 8 minutes’ walk. It was the first lesson I learned, that to implement our technological knowledge to solve real-world problems like here we can take the help of Google Maps to locate any building on this campus or elsewhere in the US.
The campus was shining and totally peaceful with a large number of nearly similar-looking huge buildings. Georgian architecture is the standard at University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) which was suggested by Frederick B. Graham, a member of the Grounds and Buildings Committee of Board of Trustees in the 1960s. They were named Bear Hall, Kenan Hall, Cameron Hall, Hoggard Hall, Hanover Hall, King Hall Randall Library, Fisher Student Center, Education Building, etc. click here to visit Virtual Tour. This university is on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean with a total area of 650 acres of which 25% is reserved for the forest. It was established in 1947 and has nearly 17,500 enrolled students with 1100 faculty. The mascot of the university is Sea Hawk. It is a Diurnal, fish-eating Bird of prey with Cosmopolitan distribution. We can call it the University of Seahawks too so we got a new tag of global seahawk.
On this campus, the Biology and Marine Biology department of the university has a greenhouse where you can find carnivorous plants like Pitcher plants, Venus flytraps, etc. These plants are unique to a nearly 60km radius of this part of the USA and are very rarely grown in any part of the world. I too experienced how Venus flytrap all of a sudden closes its mouth if we touch the interior of its mouth with a straw. It was an amazing and wonderful experience for me.
This campus is full of many such unique experiences for a learner or visitor. For example, have you ever experienced a spacewalk with virtual reality apps? Have you seen a 3D printer and 3D printing in action? Have you tried to create something in a maker space whether at a digital maker space or manual maker space?
The Randall Library is an excellent place to visit for such learning experiences. Besides the usual resources which are commonly available in a library, this library provides the facility of online submission of an object for 3D printing by any person across the world and after following procedures they will dispatch the said print. You can create a self-named keyring with a 10 minute tutorial in the said library auditorium. The creation of 3D objects is from so simple to highly complex models.
We were walking in a group towards the Watson College of Education through the campus and I was expecting a number of two-wheelers on the campus but there were none except a few bicycles. The students use skateboards for traveling short distances and that too on the right-hand side, the vehicles have steering on the right side as there is right hand driving in the US. I observed that the students are mostly self-disciplined and highly punctual. They were mostly well-mannered and focused on their work. Thus there is no need for high CCTV surveillance. They enjoy their fundraising events, such as there were few students on a campus corner with a banner and a table with some cakes. The activity was that one can throw a cake on the face of a selected boy or girl student by paying 2 dollars. I was watching them so one of the girl students approached me and asked whether I was willing to do so. I was nearly shaken then I told her that I can't do so as I consider it as a waste of resources and can’t enjoy it. She was surprised by my response and told me that they don't think like that.
The Watson College of Education was our location and we were given a grand welcome by the program coordinators Ms. Catlin from IREX Washington, Dr. Jennifer Villa, Dr. Donnell Rosebero, and Dr. Candace Thomas along with other faculty members of UNCW. They were highly hospitable and cared for everyone. Some of the names were difficult to pronounce so they asked everyone to assign an easy nickname for themselves and did the same for themselves too. They learned those names in a very short period of time and called by name everybody thereafter wherever they met. We attended most parts of our program under their able guidance.
Mr. Mohan Sharma is a lecturer in mathematics at the Government Model S.M. Senior Secondary School in Indora, Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh. He has 23 years of teaching experience. He has a master’s in mathematics, a bachelor’s in education and a diploma in computer applications from Himachal Pradesh University in Shimla. He is a resource person for conducting training programs for mathematics teachers at the state level. He guides teachers on adopting different strategies to teach difficult mathematical concepts and using ICT in teaching mathematics.
He attended the Fulbright Teaching Excellence and Achievement Program 2020 at University of North Carolina, Wilmington, NC for six weeks.