Top Ten

July 23, 2010

UWO student sues university, police over violent arrest

A young man whose violent arrest at the University of Western Ontario was filmed and posted on YouTube has filed a lawsuit against the university, the London Police Services Board, and the officers who made the arrest. Irnes Zeljkovic, who was a UWO student at the time of the October 2009 incident, is seeking damages totalling $750,000. He was initially charged with multiple offences, including assaulting a peace officer, but all charges were later dropped on the condition he complete a mental health program. The lawsuit comes a month after UWO released an independent review of the incident. Canadian Press | AM 980

uToronto students, faculty protest proposed merger of language departments

1,300 University of Toronto students and faculty have signed a petition protesting plans by school administration to amalgamate the East Indian, German, Italian, Slavic, and Spanish/Portuguese departments into one "School of Languages and Literature," as outlined in the arts and science faculty's academic plan. Students in the East Asian Studies program say the move would damage uToronto's reputation, downgrade the undergraduate experience, and hurt enrolment. Over 5,000 faculty, students, and alumni have signed another petition asking uToronto president David Naylor to reject a recommendation to fold the Centre for Comparative Literature into the proposed School of Languages and Literature and redefine it as a collaborative program. CAUT News

$6 million for Fredericton-based Centre of Excellence in Advanced Learning and Technology

The federal and New Brunswick governments announced Friday an investment of over $6.2 million for the creation of a new Centre of Excellence in Advanced Learning and Technology, to be located at the Fredericton Knowledge Park. NB's finance minister says the centre will bring together leading-edge e-learning firms, online universities, the University of New Brunswick, and the National Research Council Institute for Information Technology to help the province's research and development sector grow even more. ACOA News Release | Telegraph-Journal

Langley campus a priority for Kwantlen president

When David Atkinson took over presidency of Kwantlen Polytechnic University 2 years ago, it was evident to him that "the Langley campus was certainly not operating up to its potential." He says one of the key problems was that for years, the courses offered at the campus would change frequently and some would be cancelled shortly before the academic year began, hurting enrolment in Langley. Since Atkinson's arrival, various administrative departments have been transferred to the Langley campus, where the $6-million School of Horticulture was recently completed. Over the long term, Atkinson's focus is on expanding program offerings and increasing enrolment at the campus. Langley Times

Ryerson releases sketches of Maple Leaf Gardens renovation

With 8 months left in Ryerson University's $60-million renovation of the upper portion of Maple Leaf Gardens, new sketches of the project reveal an effort to keep the spirit of the former hockey shrine in a new, scaled-down rink. Sharing the facility with its new owner, Loblaw Cos. Ltd., Ryerson is planning a student athletic centre for the building's new second storey, with the rink on the floor above. The new arena will be more intimate with 2,500 seats, all in the original Gardens shades of gold of blue, which also happen to be the university's colours. Globe and Mail

Ontario opens applications for $45-million Northern Training Partnership Fund

On Friday, the Ontario government launched the first round of applications for the Northern Training Partnership Fund, a 3-year, $45-million initiative announced in the province's 2010 budget. The program is designed to provide Aboriginal people in the North and nothern Ontarians with better access to skills training opportunities, leading to jobs in resource-related sectors, such as energy, mining, and forestry. Eligible projects will require a collaboration between industry and Aboriginal or northern communites or organizations. Ontario News Release

NL mistakenly sends out high school transcripts with wrong grades

The Newfoundland and Labrador government is citing a "processing error" as the reason behind 6,500 students receiving their high school transcripts reflecting 2008-09 marks rather than those for the 2009-10 school year. Memorial University says secondary students planning to attend the university in the fall are not affected by the error, as NL's education department had not yet sent MUN the feed containing the high school grades. The correct marks will be mailed to students this week. The province's NDP leader says the mistake is unacceptable for the affected students, and a better explanation for the incident is needed. NL Public Advisory | MUN News | CBC

BC education system failing to meet own targets

A year-end report from BC's education ministry shows the province's education system is failing to meet some of its own targets for student performance and satisfaction. The report found that during the 2009-10 fiscal year, just 45% of students who responded to an annual satisfaction survey felt they were properly prepared for PSE or a career. That number is down 7 percentage points from the year before, and below the ministry's target of 54%. BC's education minister says the results are troubling. "I am not satisfied. I'm disappointed and I know we can do better." Postmedia News

Extending institutional brand through online education

That online education knows no geographical bounds might mean an opportunity for smaller American universities with less national cachet to grow their brand and enrol students from across the country, even the world. However, it might also mean they need to fight for their lives as they face encroachment from for-profits such as the University of Phoenix and Kaplan University. What regionally focused institutions have working for them is that students like online learning, but also like having a physical campus nearby. A 2008 study by the Sloan Consortium observed that 85% of online students were taking courses through institutions located within 50 miles of their homes. In order to succeed online in the long term, experts say, schools need to stake their value on something beyond the merely being online. Regionally focused colleges could also demonstrate their value through "hybrid education" -- online learning that has some face-to-face component. Inside Higher Education

How social media benefits teaching

At the Emerging Technologies for Online Learning Symposium last week in San Jose, the presenter of a session on Facebook said one benefit of the social network is that, unlike course-management systems, students already know how to use it, and encouraged professors to use Facebook to sent out announcements for their courses and to develop assignments where students post responses using the site. Among the more unusual suggestions during the conference were asking students to do role-playing exercises on Facebook or Twitter, using YouTube's tracking feature to see how many students tune into video-captured lectures, and sending students one-minute video reminders about assignments using a free service called Eyejot. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access)