Sunday, November 18, 2007

Week of Speeches

It was a week of speeches. Monday I gave a short talk at Fengchia, in the Urban Planning Department. Thursday, I listened to a talk on core competences in teaching, pictured above. The speaker sat for two hours and spoke in a low voice. Nuff said about that presentation, rife with irony, considering it was on teaching skills. Meanwhile Friday I visited Ming Chuan University in Taoyuan, where I spoke to Professor Graeme Bell's class on blogging. I was deeply touched to see veteran blogger Scott Sommers had kindly made the trip out from Taipei just to see me, and prevent any obnoxious outbursts of ego on my part.

Ming Chuan is located in Guishan, just south of Taoyuan city proper.

The campus of Ming Chuan. I got there just at 6, for Dr. Bell had alerted me to me to the photographic possibilities of building EE, perched on a hill overlooking, well, what seemed like the rest of Taiwan.

I can see for miles and miles and miles...

The mountains look mysterious in the early morning sun.

A pan of just the mountains.

Ming Chuan from above.


A pan of the entire view.

Same thing, not quite so tilted.

Just the built up area in front of the mountains.

More Taoyuan.

I couldn't get over how beautiful the mountains looked, so I shot them again.

Panned them again, too.

Looking due....south?

The campus, which is quite new, has a couple of interesting looking buildings.

Fountains are a must.

Amazingly, there is a Mexican restaurant right on campus. I can't say as a I like the substitution of ketchup for picante sauce. The coffee also left much to be desired.

Ming Chuan was quite special. When I got to the gate, the guard asked me why I had come. I explained that I was speaking in Dr. Bell's class. This produced a blank look. The guard didn't know who he was -- and I thought to myself: "how many foreigners can there be?" After all, Chaoyang where I teach has only three.

The answer arrived over the course of the next couple of hours, as I watched in astonishment as a veritable United Nations strolled up to the teaching building. It turns out there's an English-language BA program at Ming Chuan and not only are there plenty of foreign profs, there are also what seemed like a few hundred foreign students. Dr. Bell's class was about 85% foreign students -- you know, talkative, opinionated, active, questioning...fantastic students. I was flabbergasted and challenged by their enthusiasm and hard work. It was also a pleasure to meet Dr. Bell, a modest, friendly, and acutely intelligent fellow who can solve NP hard problems in his sleep and not only knows how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but also what their names are.

I thought the talk went well, and everyone seemed to have fun. Hopefully they all got something out of it, and they'll send me pictures, since I didn't have time to take any.....


Anonymous said...

I tried my hands at a mock conference in a course. I made a lot of emphasis on my point, illustrated with powerpoint. This enabled pepole to netpick my errors and assumptions. Next time I will try to read from my paper, speak in a low, even, voice and make them fall asleep.

Michael Turton said...

Did you use a font big enough for the people in the back to see? My man didn't make that error. And be sure you've got at least 200 words crowded onto the presentation. Nobody nitpicked his presentation at all, those few who stayed until the end.


Anonymous said...

The newly literate technorati irritate me by producing impeccable Powerpoint presentations and then degrade me by reading whatever is on screen assuming that I have a reading disability. In fact, I can speed read their text efficiently without having to endure the monotonous and rambling crap and excuses that they use to illuminate the presntation.
Hey....stunning pictures Michael! Well done!
Geoff from Adelaide

Anonymous said...

Yes, it's amazing the views that can be had from the top of buildings of family empire institutions allied to CKS and the history of the KMT.

ROC the Boat said...

Hopefull the Mexian food on campus there in Taiwan was better than what I had in Germany. . .the one Mexican joint I went to over there -- when I ordered a burrito, it had broccoli in it!

Tom W. said...

I've driven by the Ming Chuan campus and didn't realize how nice it was (especially compared to the ill-planned sprawl of Taoyuan/Gueishan - talk about a need for urban planning!).

Nonetheless, things are looking up far down the road ... Gueishan is going to have one of the stations for the future Taoyuan airport MRT ... having spent a good chunk of time in Taoyuan county I only say it should do wonders even if it's only half as successful as Taipei's -- ditto that for Taichung too.

Scott Sommers said...

I teach there almost every day and I didn't realize how nice the view is. Seriously Michael, it's always a pleasure to hear you speak on blogging. When Graeme told me you would be addressing his class, I knew I couldn't miss it. Nor was I disappointed.

It was great to see you again. I sincerely appreciate your willingness to share you expertise with the students of my school.

Anonymous said...


Where do I begin?

Thankyou, firstly, for the wonderful lecture you provided, which I personally enjoyed and found extremely useful, and which I know was enjoyed greatly by the students who took part.

Thankyou also for this excellent post and commentary on the day.

Though I did notice that you seem to have flattered me quite outrageously. I should point out to the readers of your blog that it is really yourself, Scott Sommers, and the students of the IJ class, who deserve the entirety of the credit, for your work on the day.

It was wonderful to see the amazing effect that your enthusiasm and speaking ability had upon the students at MCU.

I am extremely glad you enjoyed your visit to our Taoyuan campus, and I am looking forward to the next time you are able to join us in future.

Dr G Bell

Anonymous said...

dear Michael,

this was a sweet moment, thank you! i have spent two precious years of my life in that campus, as the graduate school of international affairs is also there.

greetings to Graeme. don't let him to become too serious in Guishan ;)

Leelo Maarja

Michael Turton said...

Thanks, all! Had a great time speaking there, would do it again in a flash.


Jenny said...

Dear Michael:
I'm Jenny, do you remember? Now, I study in Ming Chuan graduate program. It's a very different life then before and I start to enjoy it. If you come to Ming Chuan next time, please let me know I wanna share my life with you!!


Sherema said...

Hi Mr. Turton,

It was indeed a pleasure having Dr. Bell organize the visit and you delivering that speech to us. We really enjoyed being in ur presence. You seemed quite active and interesting yourself.

As soon as I find some time, I will try and send you the pictures, even though you wanted to spoil

Thanks again and hope to see you again

The Photographer