Arriving in Australia

I finally made it to Australia! It was the longest trip and flight I’ve ever been on.


I left my house and headed to the Grand Rapids airport at 1:00 PM (flight took off at 3:40PM) on Thursday, and didn’t get to Melbourne until Friday at 5:32PM (which was actually 7:32AM Saturday in Melbourne). In case you are counting, that is 28 1/2 hours of traveling.

I flew American Airlines and went from Grand Rapids to Dallas to Los Angeles. While in Los Angeles, I had a few hours to spend for a layover. This worked out very well because I was able to meet up with Bob Bouffard who is another Dr. C from the University of Alberta. We at dinner before the flight took off at 11:30 PM. On our way through the international terminal, I spotted a Blackboard backpack and noticed it was Jan Day! Jan manages the Building Blocks program for Blackboard Inc. Jan was playing Solitaire on her laptop and was happy to see some familar faces after a full day of travel from Boston.

Shortly thereafter, more familiar faces appeared. We met up with Stephen Rehberg who is a Dr. C from Southern Polytechnic State University in Georgia. Hal Herzog and Chris Mann from Learning Objects Inc. rounded the corner and we talked as a group about our travel experiences.

So how did the flight go from LAX to Melbourne you ask? Well it was 14 hours long. I didn’t sleep very well but the food was pretty good. We had 2 hot meals and our own personal video screens. I ended up watching Myth Busters and Poseidon adventure. I tried to sleep but it was difficult and uncomfortable. Watching the trip screens wasn’t that helpful as I kept watching the time remaining screen. Did I say the flight was long?

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When we arrived in Melbourne we went through Customs and then proceeded to the Blackboard “pickup shuttle”!


We checked into the Crown Promenade Hotel. At the hotel I saw another set of familiar faces! Kerry Jo Richards and Rob Shea from Blackboard showed up in the lobby and joined us for lunch! Kerry Jo was GRCC’s Account Manager for a few years and a very good friend! Rob Shea manages the Dr. C program and many other community functions for Blackboard.

I spent the rest of the day touring Melbourne with my fellow Blackboarders and Dr. C’s. We did some sightseeing and also visited the Victoria Market. We spent some time talking about Sakai, Bb’s Patent, Moodle, and brainstormed about ideas to engage the community through blogging.

The city is quite amazing with some wonderful architecture. The market was pretty cool because it was huge. It reminded me of a permanent flea market or farmers market on steroids. There was even a meat market with vendors yelling back and forth informing customers that their “deal” was the best one!



Tomorrow we are headed to the world famous Royal Botanical Gardens and I’m also scheduled for a pre-conference session on the WebCT Portfolio.


About ekunnen
Eric has a passion for, works to lead, support, and coordinate effective uses of technology in teaching and learning. He is an Associate Director of eLearning and Emerging Technologies at Grand Valley State University (GVSU) in Allendale, Michigan. His primary role focuses on collaborating and supporting distance learning initiatives at the university while exploring future trends in emerging technologies in teaching and learning. He also collaborates to research and support academic technologies used in the classroom and in eLearning. Previously, Eric was the Emerging Technologies Coordinator at GVSU and a Director of Distance Learning and Instructional Technologies at Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Eric has a background in teaching Computer Science and Biology at the secondary level and a Master of Arts in Education with an emphasis in Educational Technology. I'm on mission to advance teaching and learning through the integration of emerging and innovative instructional technologies... More

One Response to Arriving in Australia

  1. gbrand says:

    Very cool blog posting. It’s great to stay informed about your trip. Nice pictures too! Sounds like you’ll have some great botanical garden shots for Flickr. Take care.

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