TAFE NSW hospitality teachers are thinking outside of the box, introducing a fun and innovative new method of delivery to keep students engaged at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Inspired by popular at home cooking products, Hello Fresh or Marley Spoon, cookery students are taking delivery of 'Hello TAFE boxes' in an effort to continue the practical component of their courses.
TAFE NSW hospitality teachers Michael Apps and Lindl Taylor send the fresh ingredients out in the boxes to students, who then join an online live-streamed demonstration and follow along cooking in their own kitchen.
"Students will receive their boxes each week and will be able to utilise Microsoft Teams for a guided cooking lesson streamed from the kitchen at TAFE NSW Orange," Mr Apps said.
"Not only are the students able to learn practical skills, they will also be able to provide their family or housemates with a home-cooked meal afterwards."
Ms Taylor said she has been contacting each student to make sure they have sufficient internet access and are comfortable with the new delivery method to make sure the classes will run smoothly.
"We also make sure the students have all the sufficient equipment in their kitchens and if not, we will send an item in their boxes the following week.
"We will also be doing theory lessons each week and students can use the chat function in Microsoft Teams to ask any questions or interact with their classmates.
"It's such an exciting opportunity for the students to engage in connected learning, as it will also provide them with the opportunity to build skills highly valued by employers such as digital literacy, remote working, problem solving and resilience," Ms Taylor said.
Certificate III Commercial Cookery student at TAFE NSW Orange Nicole McLeod described the process as "very well organised".
Students receive pictures of what utensils etc are required for the following week and collect their boxes from TAFE.
"They are all prepared ready to go," Ms McLeod said. "First up we did omelettes - it was short and sweet this week just to get our heads around it.
"All of the ingredients are in the box, so we had six eggs, our herbs - even our little bit of butter.
"Everything we needed was in there, it's fabulous."
The sessions replicate what occurs in the classroom.
This week, Ms McLeod said, is quite a big lesson, with students told to prepare for about four to five hours online.
"That's going to be interesting.
"But our teacher is great - he keeps it light, he keeps it fun, and we are either speaking to him through our cameras or typing our questions ... we've still got that good communication."
The hospitality industry is one of the hardest hit by COVID-19.
"It still keeps us doing our work, learning our techniques, continuing cooking.
"For the last five or six weeks, because the industry has been shut down, we're not in our kitchens at work, so it's a great way to keep us connected, engaged and getting through our TAFE course."