Planning a Mock Interview Activity

Less than two hours before my evening class at the university begins and I am all smiles. Is it usual for a Communications instructor to be so pumped about their courses?

Mock InterviewsIt is for me, especially since we are scheduled to take part in Mock Job Interviews this evening.

We’ll begin with a run-through of what my students perceive as commonly-asked interview questions. Since a majority of the learners today belong to the accountancy field, I will include anecdotes and examples relating directly to their industry.

Once the brain muscle is warmed up, we will divide into groups of two to partner up for the Mock Job Interviews activity.  There will two rounds, so each participant has an opportunity to experience the ‘seat of power’ a.k.a. the H.R. person’s perspective.

The idea behind the entire exercise is to familiarise the learners with possible situations that can occur in the interview room.  We have the added advantage of reviewing the dialogue that takes place on-the-spot.  I encourage my students to engage in constructive feedback and such activities give plenty of room for collaborative learning and teamwork.

I’d write more, but that’ll be cutting it close. Have to save the notes and get ready for tonight’s class!

Digital Security Training: Privacy + Social Media Workshop @ ShirkatGah, Lahore

20150606_113836-COLLAGEThis past weekend I had the privilege of being invited by my good friend Nabiha to present on Privacy & Social Media at the Digital Security Training session. The workshop took place at Shirkat Gah’s library, another one of my favourite places to hang out in Lahore.  (Libraries in general are at top of my list. But I digress.)

Yes! Back to the workshop!

It was a cozy, chatty atmosphere with lots of questions and hands-on training, both for my topic as well as the one on encryption. I really enjoyed talking about the fast evolution of social media accounts and how ethics strongly figures into our behaviours, on-line and off-line. I purposefully include a section on cyber-bullying and other negative online social interactions- as always there was an engaging discussion about the cause and effects of trolling on the digital native.  I have put the slides up on Slideshare, check’m out.

Ghausia from BoloBhi walked us through the amusing, awe-inspiring and definitely paranoia-inducing world of online privacy. I will get into the excellent points she raised and share why I know believe we should ALL be using encryption in the upcoming podcast.

Selecting the Perfect University: Online Virtual Tours or Education Expos? (The University Bazaar Blog Series)

Selecting the Perfect University

Does selecting a university ever get easier? I remember being overwhelmed by all the decisions to make when the process began.  Where can I find a scholarship? How far away from home do I want to go? Can I afford this university? I can afford this one, but what to do if it does not have the degree program I want?

So.Many.Questions.

I have just made it back from The News Education Expo in Lahore and have more than a couple of observations to share. The crowds, mostly teenagers and twenty-somethings with their families, were busy browsing the stalls for the Perfect University. Theoretically, this sounds like a straight-forward affair; you walk up to the university representative, get all your questions answered and receive a complimentary pen, as well.

In reality, it was absolute chaos in the basement of Pearl Continental (PC) Hotel. If you haven’t been to the PC Hotel, the basement consists of a series of banquet halls opening into a narrow main hall.  Various universities and colleges had set up shop throughout and were closely packed together; differentiating between the representatives became a chore!  Trying to start a conversation or ask a question was challenging as the overworked representatives tried their hardest to answer serious queries from the impatient crowd.

What I witnessed today is a University Bazaar where competing educational institutions hawk degrees and dreams to uninformed students and their loved ones. There is little to be gained but a handful of shiny brochures.

Q. Is there any value in attending such Educational Expos? 

A.  Only if you know what kind of educational experience you are shopping for and are prepared to be patient. 

The truth is that these events are nothing more than easy revenue-makers for the organisers.  Once the stalls are booked, little else is taken care of; this is evident by the sloppy arrangements and the criss-cross of exposed wiring over the carpets.  Not only do the students suffer from the poor organisation,but so do the educational institutions who regularly spend their marketing budgets on them.

Online Virtual Tours or Education Expos?

So, if we strike off education expos from our list when searching for the perfect university, what is the next best option?

With social media platforms getting easier to navigate by the day, it makes sense to turn to the internet when conducting any kind of serious research. I would strongly suggest opting for online virtual tours of the universities and colleges you are considering at the moment.

Pre-recorded tours, complete with audio, guide website visitors through the campus; this is extremely important when the colleges you are considering are in far-off locations, like the United States or  the United Kingdom.   Rather than chatting it up with a disinterested staff member at an overcrowded expo, try your hand at a informational webinar. These web-based seminars allow prospective students from across the globe to log-on and take part in question-and-answer sessions with the university’s administration and admissions team – for free! What better way to understand the culture but by having a conversation?

Take my word – set aside some time for an old-fashioned Google search and a list of questions. You are bound to narrow down the options to find your Perfect University, with the help of simple technology at your fingertips! 

This is the first post in the The University Bazaar Blog Series by Catalyst Woman.