New report explores implications for Ontario regarding global trends in undergraduate education

February 22, 2012

New research commissioned by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario examines global trends in undergraduate education and degree-granting programs in the non-university or (particularly in Canada) the college/polytechnic sectors. The report is based on an environmental scan, a survey of over 850 Ontario students in university bachelor's degree programs, and the views of key university and college stakeholders who participated in a seminar on the topic last March. 41% of students surveyed said they would enrol in a 3-year program that allowed them to graduate with honours, citing a faster start in the workforce as their top rationale, while 59% said they would not, citing the challenges of an increased course load. Seminar participants were generally resistant to any standardized degree lengths, partly because the advent of learning outcomes, which they welcomed, might make degree length irrelevant. Among surveyed students currently pursuing university degrees, few seem to believe that a degree in a different setting would be as valuable as obtaining one from a university, although they generally agree that colleges are better at short-term job preparation and in maintaining low class sizes. The report states that Ontario could be "at the cusp of a significant evolution around learning outcomes as leading to better ways of measuring degree outcomes and thus permitting shorter degrees if they could be shown to deliver substantially similar outcomes." Research Summary | Full Report