Saturday, February 24, 2018

Know Your Profs: Camosun’s Ian Browning’s light bulb goes on

November 4, 2015 by Greg Pratt, managing editor

Know Your Profs is an ongoing series of profiles on the instructors at Camosun College. Every issue we ask a different instructor the same 10 questions in an attempt to get to know them a little better.

Do you have an instructor that you want to see interviewed in the paper? Maybe you want to know more about one of your teachers, but you’re too busy, or shy, to ask? Email and we’ll add your instructor to our list of teachers to talk to.

This issue we talked to Camosun Electronics and Environmental Technology prof Ian Browning about light bulbs, dark chocolate, and Camosun’s future.

1: What do you teach and how long have you been a teacher at Camosun?

I teach various courses in the Environmental Technology program (biotechnology, microbiology, horticulture, etc.) and in the Electronics/Renewable Energy program (analog and power electronics, programming, etc.) and have been at the college since 2003.

2: What do you personally get out of teaching?

It’s great to see students have those “light bulb moments” (sometimes with actual light bulbs) when the pieces suddenly fit together and make sense. It’s also great when I get to have a light bulb moment: it’s amazing what you can learn from students if you pay attention.

3: What’s one thing you wish your students knew about you?

I think they get me figured out quite quickly on their own, so I hope they know that I am always approachable and interested in what they have to say.

Camosun College’s Ian Browning does not like checkout zombies (photo provided).

Camosun College’s Ian Browning does not like checkout zombies (photo provided).

4: What’s one thing you wish they didn’t know about you?

They should never find out that eating good quality dark chocolate has been shown to raise serotonin levels in the brain and cause instructors to mark papers more generouslyŃlet’s keep that one a secret.

5: What’s the best thing that’s ever happened to you as a teacher here?

There’s no one “best thing” I can think of, but there are many small daily interactions with students and colleagues that make teaching here a pleasure.

6: What’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to you as a teacher here?

Losing two valued Electronics department colleagues to cancer.

7: What do you see in the future of postsecondary education?

With the availability of so much quality online material, physical institutions will need to provide more of the things students can’t get through a computer screen, such as more opportunities to engage with each other and with faculty face-to-face, and hands-on activities such as labs, workshops, field study, and real projects in the community. Camosun is already good at doing this and, I think, heading in the right direction. Also, I would like to see more project and applied-research solution-based learning in addition to the traditional subject-based courses. Many of the most pressing problems society needs to address don’t fit into a neat category, and students would benefit from having more opportunity to engage in such multi-dimensional learning environments.

8: What do you do to relax on the weekends?

I like to get outside as much as possible, hiking, paddle-boarding, gardening, or simply enjoying Victoria’s wonderful climate and scenery. I also play African percussion (big drums!) for a local community group, dabble with the didgeridoo, and occasionally fumble around with a Flamenco guitar, just for fun.

9: What’s your favorite meal?

Anything with wild salmon, enjoyed with good company, and washed down with a good wine.

10: What’s your biggest pet peeve?

Checkout zombies! Pack your own shopping, people, and we’ll all be able to get on with our lives more quickly.

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