avalanche course

A professor in Canada is teaching an avalanche course through Playmobil

Teaching an avalanche course when you're being asked to stay indoors is a challenge, but one professor in Canada has risen to the occasion in a pretty creative way.

Professor Ian Sherrington normally takes his 15 students hiking in snowy, backcountry terrain as part of his Avalanche Skills Training (AST) course.

However, the Mount Royal University professor was forced to improvise that portion of his course this year due to travel restrictions on provincial and national parks.

His brilliant solution? Playmobil.

Sherrington used Ski Playmobil characters left over from his children to re-create a virtual backcountry ski trip in his backyard.

Playmobil characters Horace and Crystal set out on a challenging expedition through Calgary's snow.

According to Sherrington, the characters' adventures instructed students on the "decision making and actions involved in creating a safe and enjoyable backcountry experience."

Although Sherrington also instructed the course with more traditional methods such as delivering virtual lectures over Google Meets, the Playmobil characters offered a unique learning opportunity.

"It shows the importance of light-hearted play in every situation, especially difficult ones," he said.

With many universities in Canada now preparing to take most of their courses for the fall semester online, we can hopefully look forward to many more creative virtual classes soon.

Lead photo by

Mount Royal University


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