E-Learning As It Relates To Students, Educators And Job Opportunities In The Hospitality Industry

Written by Professor Patrick O’Halloran

Our goal as hospitality educators must be to mirror image industry standards/applications/tools that provide our students with a commitment to their achieving the hands on experience needed for true professional designation.

At New York City College of Technology Hospitality Department, HMGT 1105 Lodging Operations Management is our department’s web-enhanced computer literary course. This e-learning course is designated for the appropriate and effective use of technology to enrich the learning environment in the operational overview of the front office and rooms operations. The functions of the rooms division in relation to other key departments within the hotel are also explored and applied.

The hospitality industry as it relates to the “front of the house” (industry term) is changing at a very rapid pace. In order to collaborate in today’s educational environment with today’s industry environment it is imperative that our students are exposed to the new technical skills required so that they can enter the hospitality field.

Mandated activities that are essential for academic and industry imaging to take place:

  • Strengthen the academic , career, and technical skills of students
  • Provide students with strong experience in and understanding of all aspects of the industry
  • Develop, improve, expand the use of technology in career and technical education
  • Provide services and activities that are of sufficient size, scope, and quality to be effective
  • Provide activities to prepare students for high skill, high wage and high demand occupations that will lead to self-sufficiency.
  • As educators and industry professionals our objective should be to introduce e-learning opportunities through the use of technology such as iPads which should have the following features/apps:
  • E-textbooks
  • Assimilated front desk guest check-in check-out procedure
  • E-reservations
  • Housekeeping
  • Accounting
  • Restaurant/food and beverage
  • Parking
  • Sales/marketing
  • Class lectures
  • Access to daily trade magazines
  • MS office suite
  • House (Hotel) count
  • Occupancy variance
  • Rooms division management
  • Forecasting

These features/apps are industry driven and should be reviewed by industry professionals to ensure that all the latest skills are being taught to our student body and industry employees. Throughout the unit of study, the course professor in the context of the department’s and hospitality industry essential characteristics of instruction and “on the job application” should deeply engage students in high levels of participation, challenge and the production of work that reflects meaningful learning and incremental growth in content knowledge and performance. The course professor should work to support these essential characteristics of instruction, in alignment with teaching and industry frameworks to improve the student’s skill set which will result in viable employment opportunities.

Simulation exercises of hospitality industry driven everyday activities consisting of build in hands on guest stay information, guest departure and payment, accounting and financial summaries, reservations process and revenue management should feature exercises of increased complexity. Each exercise should provide the learner with a real world interactive learning experience. Students would therefore be able to purchase/access e-text direct and/or create access code cards.

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As a result, students would have a fully interactive and dynamic e-text available on their iPad, which can create/join study groups and annotate e-text on the iPad live in the classroom.

Under curriculum/industry mapping the course professor/industry professional, the unit’s learning journey would enable students to succeed in carrying out complex tasks which call for deep understanding of the content as demonstrated through the effective application of performance standards. Various formative assessments would be strategically designed to gauge incremental learning and which would also identify areas in which students need support.

In closing it is important to note e-learning, academic success and mirror imaging industry standards and skill sets are all interrelated. To introduce and sustain a successful e-learning enterprise one has to have an institutional commitment based on a robust technical infrastructure and industry supported network.

Professor Patrick O’Halloran teaches at New York City College of Technology in Brooklyn. His latest book is titled Detailed Job Descriptions in the Hospitality Industry.