ASU instructor given the opportunity of a lifetime to benefit another culture

Darien Keane to teach communication, help develop program in Sudan


June 30, 2017

Darien Keane will spend the month of July halfway across the world teaching communication to benefit students of another country.

Keane, instructor in the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication, will spend the remainder of her summer in Sudan working with ASU alum Neal Van Hydershadt, who teaches rhetoric and composition at the American University in Cairo. Hydershadt and Keane are working with the Bridges International Organization, which are coordinating the international project with the Sudanese Ministry of Human Resource Development.   Darien Keane Download Full Image

“The opportunity to work in a new culture on the African continent seemed like a chance of a lifetime,” said Keane. “I am excited to use my experience teaching communication to benefit another country.”

The joint project is to create and deliver a business-communications training for a new certificate that the Sudanese Ministry anticipates becoming part of a continuing adult education program at a local university.

Keane is part of a team of three course developers currently creating the pilot program, which will continue to be a work-in-progress during the summer. The title of the course is “English Writing and Communication Skills in Business and Professional Settings.”

Each course developer will have 20 students and a teaching assistant. They will teach through the entire curriculum over the course of the project. The total in-class time is about 95 hours.

“I expect I will get to know these students really well,” Keane said.

The students participating in the program must have a working knowledge of English and need to apply for acceptance into the pilot program. Participating students will be government employees who work with the public, and most will have a college degree.

“The objectives of the courses are to help the employees become more familiar and comfortable with communicating with Westerners and with using English,” said Keane. 

Topics being covered include: the communication process, listening skills, best emailing practices, introducing a colleague, small talk, running a meeting and giving a presentation.

Keane plans to incorporate her international teaching experience into the communication courses she teaches at ASU, introduction to communication and small-group communication.

She also hopes to grow her teaching practices in new ways and gain new ideas of teaching activities through her collaboration with the two other professors.

“I look forward to immersing myself in a new culture that is very different from my own,” Keane said. “I hope to come away with a deeper understanding of cross-cultural communication and the communication training process." 

Lynne MacDonald

communications specialist, School of Music

480-727-7189

 
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AZLoop team on schedule to show working prototype at SpaceX competition.
June 30, 2017

ASU-led team to begin testing propulsion and braking systems the first week of July as SpaceX competition approaches

The lazy days of summer are anything but for the AZLoop team.

With the Aug. 27 SpaceX competition fast approaching, the team has been busy building propulsion and braking systems, as well as the form needed to mold the pod that will run during the August event.

The goal: creating a working prototype of a new form of proposed mass transit called “Hyperloop” that promises to hit speeds of up to 750 mph.

The team — led by Arizona State University but made up of students from throughout Arizona in a range of majors — is on track to complete the project on time. A 50-foot test track has been built at the ASU Polytechnic campus; they’ll begin testing magnetic propulsion and braking systems the first week of July. Construction of a 150-foot track will begin in early July, with a completion date of around Aug. 1.

Video by Ken Fagan/ASU Now

According to Josh Kosar, co-lead on the project and a new ASU graduate, they started out with a well-defined organizational structure but over time have had to make lots of changes to adapt to individual work styles and skill sets. New leaders emerged, adjustments were made and now the process is working out well.

“The most important thing I have learned so far as manufacturing lead is to manage a team,” said ASU mechanical engineering junior Himanshu Dave. “… Knowing their strengths and weaknesses as well as your own and understanding that has been one of the best skills I have learned.”

A precision-cut scale model of the pod is being produced in layers that will be attached to each other to shape the final pod design. The team will cover it with Bondo to fill in around the rough edges of the wood layers before it is sanded and primed. 

“It’s all experimentation, lifting up the shape of it, changing it a little bit,” Dave said.

Magnetic braking systems are in the works, as well as propulsion systems. They will be attached to a sled filling in as the pod to test forward motion and braking systems on the 50-foot track.

“They’ve got what it takes. They are careful and rational,” said ASU Professor John Robertson, lead faculty adviser. “It’s like in any race — you want to blow through the finish line, you don’t want to fall over the finish line. You’ve got to blow through it, and I think that is what they are going to do.” 

Top photo: ASU mechanical engineering junior Himanshu Dave (left) gets some guidance from Chandler Gilbert Community College student Ernest Poteat on how to treat the layered model for the vehicle's carbon fiber shell on ASU's Polytechnic campus on Thursday, June 29. The mechanical team will cover the model with Bondo Body Filler, sand it smooth, paint on primer then a release agent and follow that with the carbon fiber strips. When completed in about six weeks, it will be attached to the vehicle the AZLoop team will take to the August SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition in California. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

Ken Fagan

Videographer , ASU Now

480-727-2080