The opportunity to bring IT students from our program to the VETA Mikumi Campus and improve ICT resources for the students and staff there was definitely a WIN-‐WIN situation! We made a difference and that is the best that anyone involved in international service learning could hope for.
The two NSCC students who travelled to Tanzania had, I feel, an ideal service learning experience. They used their skills, their knowledge, and their practical experience to install a sable, reliable network infrastructure at the Mikumi Campus. They learned about teamwork and gained a truly global perspective. It was what service learning should be: rewarding and enjoyable.
The project also had an impact on the other students at the Truro Campus, as throughout the winter semester many “teachable moments” arose from discussions of the value and sustainability of various resources and components we considered for the project: virtual disks… VLANs…wireless vs. wired links…etc. With the success of this project, we all have a renewed appreciation for the value of planning and preparation.
We accomplished our service goal and far exceeded our learning goals and credit for that must be equally shared with the staff and administration at VETA Mikumi. We couldn’t have asked for better hosts and we couldn’t have done it without their assistance. They were accommodating and appreciative and made us feel very welcomed. The tourism students taught us about their country and their culture, and they shared their knowledge and time with us. We introduced Chrisostom Sosthenes to web server administration only to find the next morning that the welcome message on the Mikumi WordPress Server was in now in Swahili and the photo was of the Mikumi Campus!…Just further confirmation that we had the right partner for this project.
After our time in Mikumi, I had the opportunity to attend the 6th Annual International eLearning Africa Conference in Dar es Salaam as a presenter. A number of individuals I met there asked me for information on one or more of the components we used in our solution at Mikumi (MSDNAA, DeepFreeze). The impression I was left with was that our project at Mikumi could be replicated a hundred times over in schools and college campuses throughout Africa. It would be exciting to think we could provide such an ideal service learning opportunity to even more NSCC students.