Top Ten

January 10, 2008

2007 - The Year in Review

Do you remember all 2,500 stories we covered in the Top Ten last year?  Probably not, but there were some truly defining moments, and some recurrent themes that seem to indicate emerging social, political, and technological trends. Join Ken Steele for a quick refresher on the Top Ten news stories and trends of 2007.

STU and faculty return to negotiating table

Negotiations will resume between faculty and administration at St. Thomas University today, possibly as a result of a student campaign criticizing the dispute.  If negotiations are successful, classes could resume as soon as Monday.  A student demonstration is planned for tomorrow.

Seneca College opens residence to displaced fire victims

A fatal fire in North Toronto has forced several tenants to take refuge in Seneca College's student housing facilities.  Residents living in 24 units of the damaged building have been displaced.  Those that could not stay with family or friends were brought to Seneca's Finch & Don Valley campus by the Canadian Red Cross.

New Brunswick college custodians set to strike

New Brunswick's community college custodians are set to go on strike today at 4pm.  Community college custodians earn $1.12 less per hour than school custodians, despite having the same employer and doing the same work.  In 2003, the union was on strike for 22 days and the province's colleges were forced to close.  The minister has announced that there is a contingency plan that will be used in the event of a strike.

Ryerson nears $400,000 tuition decision

Ryerson University has spent the last 3 months researching whether or not its tuition should be split across semesters.  It is estimated that Ryerson would lose $400,000 in interest and late fees that it currently receives.  Many students who depend on Ontario's OSAP program to cover tuition expenses are forced to seek alternative funding to make the full payment in September -- as OSAP divides its funding across the two terms.

SFU faculty of ed launches education TV show

Simon Fraser University's faculty of education plans to provide the only TV show in BC dedicated to "in-depth analysis of education issues."  Your Education Matters will premier at 6:30pm on January 21, on ShawTV (Channel 4).  "It's a way for all groups who care about education to connect and share insights so that we can work together to ensure quality public education." 

International student recruiters paid commission

Each year, tens of thousands of international students use recruitment agencies to get placed in US schools, who in turn depend on those recruiters to bring in international fees, and diversify their campuses.  And despite the prevalence of the internet, more and more international students are relying on local recruiters -- as many as 60%. Some US critics are concerned about the ethics of paying commissions, as high as 25%, to foreign recruiters, but the practice is not illegal -- the US higher education act only forbids paying commissions where US government-backed loans are concerned. 

New "YouTube for Intellectuals"

"bigthink" is a new online video portal that is heralded as the "YouTube for Intellectuals."  The site hosts videos featuring academics, politicians, artists and business people.  bigthink's founder hopes the site will become popular among college and university students.  The site uses video to communicate even the briefest messages, based on the theory that users are more engaged by video than by text content. 

NYU sociologist says PSE is determined by social class

After spending 18 months in the admissions office of a "highly selective Eastern college," an NYU professor of education and sociology asserts that getting into the school of your choice is dependent largely on your social class.  Mitchell L. Stevens found that the decision to accept or reject was based largely on high-school transcripts, standardized tests, and proof of leadership and community service.  He writes that "only the more affluent can afford the infrastructure necessary to produce measurable accomplishment."  He further muses that prospective students might not need to fuss over their application decisions, as "most of the race has already been run" before they even start the process.

Is your website Diggable?

Digg is a social/community website that presents links based on user-submitted votes.  The more votes that a link receives, the more prominently it is displayed on  If your link earns enough votes, it might even land a spot on the homepage -- which received 17.6 million visits in November.  Careful strategy can place content effectively on the homepage by creating content liked by the community.  Digg indexes text, video, image and podcast content, all sorted into categories such as Technology, Science, Lifestyle and Sports.