Top Ten

February 26, 2008

Colleges Ontario campaigns against "parental mind control"

It's now official: Ontario's community colleges are behind the provocative campaign for fictional "Obay" pills. At a press conference Monday, CO launched the second phase of the campaign, which adds explanatory text like, "when it comes to PSE, pushing them to do what you want isn’t right,” and encouraging parents to explore all options with their children. Research has shown that 30% of Ontario parents would be disappointed or embarassed if their child went to college and not university. CO media release 

Globe & Mail explores IT shortage

Yesterday the Globe & Mail published an op-ed piece by Microsoft founder Bill Gates, observing that young people are often the most innovative because they are less constrained by experience. Gates himself was only 20 when he founded Microsoft with Paul Allen, and he urges parents, teachers, governments and employers to foster interest in math and science in the next generation. Meanwhile Jack Kapica argues in a Globe blog that kids today are smart, and the 2001 tech bubble proved that IT careers are not safe. He also believes that women are turned off by the "go-go culture" of IT.  Bill Gates op-ed | Kapica's Blog

StatsCan reports recent grads are less literate

A report released Monday by Statistics Canada suggests that today's PSE grads are less literate than previous generations, as a result of "a more diverse education system that seeks to be all things to all people instead of catering to the elite."  The study found that 35-year-olds had average literacy scores equal to those of 25-year-olds, despite the fact that literacy decays with age. Two UBC economists suggest that "this may point to an education system that is doing better for those at the lower end but doing a poorer job for those at the top."  CanWest News Service

UNB-SJ hopes to offer Dal medical program

The New Brunswick government is considering a proposal to extend Dalhousie University's medical program to UNB-Saint John.  Both universities have signed off on the partnership.  There are some concerns that UNB-SJ may not be able to match Dalhousie's equipment and lab facilities, but the schools are working together to identify areas for improvement.  If approved, the program could help alleviate a "severe shortage" of doctors in New Brunswick.  The Amherst Daily

Desire2Learn loses Blackboard lawsuit

Desire2Learn, a Canadian online education tool, has been ordered to pay more than $3 million in damages to Blackboard Inc. A federal jury found that Desire2Learn had infringed on Blackboard's patent for a system of delivering course materials online.  Desire2Learn is used by several campuses in Canada, and was recently purchased by the Newfoundland & Labrador government to be deployed province-wide at both secondary and post-secondary levels.  The Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription Required)

Postscript: April 1 2008

On Friday, the US Patent and Trademark Office issued a preliminary, "non-final" ruling rejecting all 44 claims made by Blackboard Inc, regarding its online learning system.  At this point, it is unclear what impact this ruling will have on Desire2Learn's ability to sell its system in the US.  The Chronicle of Higher Education

$6 million to SMU, NSAC to help Ethiopia and Vietnam

Saint Mary's University and the Nova Scotia Agricultural College have received a combined $5.8 million from the Canadian International Development Agency.  SMU will receive $2.8 million towards updating the curriculum at Vietnam's National Economic University.  NSAC will manage the other $3 million.  The overall goal of the project is to train and educate people in Ethiopia and Vietnam over the next 5 years.  CTV

UoGuelph to pioneer mobile education technology

In partnership with RIM (Research in Motion), a University of Guelph professor plans to build Canada's first mobile education and research centre.  The Centre for Mobile Education Research will examine ways to incorporate wireless devices into classrooms and labs.  "One of our goals is to become the world leader in educating students on software development.  We'll be helping universities integrate mobile devices into their computer science and engineering curriculums."  UoGuelph News Release

OCAD plans to turn out its lights for Earth Hour 2008

The Ontario College of Art & Design will be an official participant in Earth Hour 2008.  OCAD will power down all of its facilities for 60 minutes on March 29, 2008 at 8PM.  Earth Hour started in Australia in 2007, and asks participants to turn off lights for an hour to send a message about global warming.  Facebook users around the world have helped spread the word about the event through their social circles.  OCAD News Release | Earth Hour on Facebook

UPEI offers exchanges to Cairo

The University of Prince Edward Island has signed a new agreement with Misr International University in Cairo, allowing english students at UPEI to take their final year of studies in Egypt.  English-speaking students from MIU will also be able to take their final year in Charlottetown, at UPEI.  Program participants will receive a joint BA from both institutions.  UPEI News Release

Canadian students resist text-message alerts

In the wake of shootings at Virgina Tech, Dawson College and now Northern Illinois University, campus administrators are under pressure to beef up their security plans and text-message alert systems seem to be a favourite.  UBC is offering students ballots for a free ipod if they sign up.  Concordia is asking for cellphone numbers during course registration. uCalgary has been actively promoting its own text-message alert program, but still has nailed down only 33% of the student body.  Canadian students simply are not "opting in" to the programs. CanWest News Service