Top Ten

March 7, 2008

Searchable Top Ten archive goes live!

Now you can instantly search every issue of Academica's Top Ten published since September 2006 -- that's 3,530 items, if you've lost count! How many times does your institution make the country's top news? When's the last time we discussed Second Life? What trends are emerging regarding campus residences? Thanks to the Academica Group web technology team, who built a customized application for us on the Drupal open source platform, we think you're going to find this new resource almost as useful as we do!

Ryerson student faces expulsion over Facebook study group

Chris Avenir, a first-year student at Ryerson University, is facing charges of academic misconduct for running an online study group where students traded tips on homework that made up 10% of their grade.  Avenir potentially faces expulsion unless his appeal is successful.  Students report a "culture of fear" about using Facebook to discuss schoolwork, and are struggling to understand how online collaboration is any different than bringing heads together in a bricks-and-mortar environment.  The Toronto Star | The National Post

Laurentian students sleep outdoors against student debt

A group of Laurentian University students spent the night outside on Wednesday, "freezing for the fees."  The protest called out both the university and the provincial government to put a stop to increasing tuition fees.  The protest was held in view of the administrative offices so that "they can look and realize that tuition is something always on students' minds."  One protester reported being unable to afford required textbooks, despite $12,000 in debt and well-paying summer employment.  The Sudbury Star

New Canadians boost PhD and Masters populations

A new StatsCan report from the 2006 census finds that new Canadians hold significantly more degrees than the general Canadian population.  Almost a third of Canadian immigrants have graduated from university, compared to just 23% of working-age Canadians. More than half of recent new Canadians (2001-06) hold university degrees, and almost half of all Canadians with PhDs are immigrants.  The Globe & Mail

Carleton receives $5 million to update chemistry building

Carleton Superlab

Ontario is investing $5 million in Carleton University's 42-year-old chemistry building.  The Steacie Building will go through three phases, including the complete demolition of its existing undergraduate labs to create two "Super Labs."  (They're like something out of Star Trek -- take a peek at the photo.) The facilities will be upgraded to state-of-the-art, and will also accommodate 30% more students without increasing the building's footprint.  Carleton News Release

$2 million for Western Canada Regeneration Initiative

Alberta and Saskatchewan researchers have been awarded $2.25 million from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The Western Canada Regeneration Initiative hopes to develop a device that will regenerate damaged nerves.  The project is being led by a researcher at the University of Calgary, and also includes researchers from the University of Saskatchewan.  uSask News Release

SFU launches emergency alert system

Simon Fraser University launched its SFU Alerts program yesterday.  SFU Alerts is a mass-notification system that pushes messages out via text message, instant message, e-mail and voice messaging.  SFU purchased the National Notification Network (3n) for $78,000 over 2 years.  A university-wide test is planned in mid-April.  SFU News Release

CNA is first to receive process operations accreditation

Newfoundland's College of the North Atlantic is the first Canadian educational institution to receive national accreditation for its process operations engineering technology program. The 3-year program has been recognized by the Canadian Technology Accreditation Board, and is the third CNA engineering program to receive accreditation.  The Western Star

Digital natives need to work on people skills

82% of 16- to 18-year-olds feel confident about their general IT skills, but only 64% feel confident about their interpersonal skills.  Today's young people "have had technology around them all of their lives, it's second nature to them."  Elders may look on and see young people "wasting time" on sites such as Facebook or YouTube, but students are actually building comfort with technology that is invaluable in the workplace.  85% of students cited learning Powerpoint in school, but only 39% went on to use the the software at work.  ZDNet

New website graphs "Booksthatmakeyoudumb"

Booksthatmakeyoudumb is a new website that promises a "correlation between books and dumbitude" by mashing average college SAT scores with the "favourite books" listed on student Facebook profiles. The books associated with the highest scores were Lolita, 100 Years of Solitude and Crime & Punishment (each with an average SAT score over 1,300).  In 87th place was "I Don't Read" (that's not a book title), with an average SAT score of 968. Generally, classics, philosophy and some science fiction titles dominate the "smart" end of the graph, while erotica, religion, and (sadly) African American titles drift toward the bottom of the scale.  The Chronicle of Higher Education

Books that make you Dumb