A Warm Welcome to Lisbon at the Casa do Alentejo

One of the very best things about the Fulbright program is meeting knowledgable, energetic, and talented people like Bill Williams. He is a teacher at the Escola Superior de Tecnologia do Barreiro – Instituto Politécnico de Setúbal who is clearly dedicated to his students and to the craft of teaching.  He’s the kind of guy who works at the university all day then goes home and works on his research.

He’s even completing a PhD — for fun.  Can you believe anyone would do a thing like that?   😉

Nearly as soon as I hit the ground in Portugal, Bill provided me a short orientation complete with dinner at Casa do Alentejo — a place that epitomizes Lisbon. This restaurant is where Bill and his wife invited all their friends to celebrate their marriage.

The night Bill and I went there, a group of men was wandering through the halls singing traditional Portuguese songs.

So to give you a taste of my time in Lisbon, I’ve uploaded photos from that night… including the area around the Casa do Alentejo, some rooms of  the Casa itself, and others of the singing group that made it shine for our visit.

Refining PBL in Setúbal, Portugal

Setubal logoI’ve been away from blogging to focus on my mini lecture tour.  I spent a week in Portugal and a week in Belgium visiting universities, meeting with students and educators, and sharing ideas about how to teach and learn effectively.

My first stop in Portugal was to an engineering program located a ferry ride from Lisbon.

My colleague Bill Williams teaches there. I had met Bill at the European Society for Engineering Education (SEFI) conference in Greece last September. Bill was born in Cork, Ireland. He teaches English to engineers, is working on a PhD, and does high-quality engineering education research. He helped coordinate my trip in a way that allowed me to visit five different campuses while I was in Portugal.  Bill seems to know everyone in Portugal who is doing research about how to educate engineers.

Bill hopes to get more people using active learning approaches in the classrooms at Escola Superior de Tecnologia do Barreiro – Instituto Politécnico de Setúbal so the two of us conducted a two-hour workshop on Project-Based and Problem-Based Learning.  Thirteen people came to learn about PBL, hear about methods in use at Dublin Institute of Technology and about research I’ve been doing at DIT, and work together to develop ideas for implementing PBL across one program at the institute in Setubal.

Bill and I hope those ideas will move from hypothetical to actual someday soon.

Today, I’m posting images that the institute’s photographer took of the event.  I have many more of the participants working in groups to explore the “problem” of how to implement PBL in Setubal.  I was thrilled to receive email from participants after the event via Bill — I was really impressed that they took time to say they enjoyed the workshop.