Top Ten

February 10, 2011

Athabasca U among proponents of "OER university"

Universities in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand are looking to achieve a "quantum shift" in open educational resources (OERs) by founding an "OER university." Alberta-based Athabasca University, the University of Southern Queensland in Australia, and New Zealand's Otago Polytechnic plan to draw together existing free online learning material from across the globe and develop new OERs to create whole degree programs that can be studied online for free. It is hoped the degrees could cost up to 90% less than a traditional qualification gained through on-campus education. The director of the Open Education Resource Foundation says an OER university would help widen PSE access in the developing word, and help students in developed countries faced with rising tuition fees. Times Higher Education

Parental income stronger determinant of PSE attendance in US than in Canada

New research from the University of Western Ontario observes that parental income is a much stronger determinant of PSE attendance in the US than in Canada. Accounting for differences in family background and adolescent cognitive achievement scores, PSE attendance rates in the US are almost 20 percentage point higher among youth from the top family income quartile compared to the bottom quartile. In Canada, the same income/attendance gap is only 8 percentage points. The research shows the US offers more financial support to lower-income families compared to Canada, while the latter is more generous among middle-income families. New research commissioned by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario explores the influence of parental education and income on PSE attendance in Canada. UWO News Release | Read the policy brief

Federal task force recommends CSLP include financial literacy component

A report tabled Wednesday by the federal finance minister's task force on financial literacy recommends a financial literacy component be included in the Canada Student Loans Program. The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations says it is pleased to see the task force include the alliance's call for simple information to improve students' literacy regarding financial aid. According to survey results released last June, 75% of Canadian university students who responded, including 54% of upper-year government loan recipients, failed the financial aid literacy test included in the survey. The task force also recommends the introduction of financial literacy courses in schools at the elementary, secondary, and post-secondary levels. CASA News Release | CBC | Read the report

Georgian College names Collingwood campus after land donor

On Tuesday, Georgian College announced its newest campus in Collingwood will be named the John Di Poce South Georgian Bay campus. The name honours developer John Di Poce, who donated 10 acres of land on which the campus is located. The name will come into effect when Georgian moves into the new 20,000-square-foot facility this fall. The campus will be a custom-made home, allowing Georgian to offer a wide range of educational opportunities for area residents and businesses. Georgian College News Release

Aurora College eager for independent campus in Yellowknife

Aurora College staff are hoping the recent push to secure an independent campus in Yellowknife will be successful. The director of the Yellowknife/North Slave campus says the now 450 students have outgrown the current space at Northern United Place. The college has "reached the point where we're bursting at the seams," she says. Earlier this week, the MLA for Yellowknife Centre highlighted the need for Aurora College to have an independent campus in the Northwest Territories' capital. The territory's education minister says the government is considering a private-public partnership with a local Aboriginal group to get the institution a campus of its own in Yellowknife.

York U business school to help create national curriculum in global trade

York University's Schulich School of Business and Export Development Canada announced Wednesday an agreement to develop a national curriculum in integrative trade for undergraduate business students across the country. The curriculum will focus on developing business leaders who can successfully manage international trade, foreign investment, and global supply chains. Once developed, the national curriculum will be made available to Canadian business schools in both English and French. Y-File

NS doubling co-op education opportunities

The Nova Scotia government announced Tuesday it will invest $1.8 million in the new Strategic Co-operative Education Incentive, doubling the amount of co-op positions funded annually in the province to 450. The new program combines 2 existing, separate co-op programs that had a combined annual budget of $800,000. Nova Scotia's minister of economic and rural development and tourism says the initiative will help more university students get the skills they need to step into good jobs after they graduate. NS News Release | Halifax Chronicle-Herald

NBCC opens Aboriginal student centre at Moncton campus

On Wednesday, New Brunswick Community College celebrated the opening of Wabanaki Student Centre, a gathering place for Aboriginal students, at the Moncton campus. The centre is the second of its kind to open at an NBCC campus. Last May, Mawiomi Place opened at NBCC Miramichi. The community college network has seen a substantial increase in applications from First Nations students, from 141 in July 2009 to 336 for September 2010. NBCC News Release | Times & Transcript

UBC, UVic develop Web portals focusing on Aboriginal community

The University of British Columbia has launched a microsite with an emphasis on video to highlight the growing number of programs and opportunities for Aboriginal students and scholars at the institution. The UBC Aboriginal Portal provides a single online destination to learn about the university's Aboriginal student services, academic programs, research community, and outreach programs. The University of Victoria's Virtual Learning Lodge is an evolving Web space featuring online training and live-streaming to Indigenous communities. The portal is designed to support the success of both distance and on-campus Aboriginal learners at UVic through connection to home communities, to each other, and to the institution. UBC Reports | UBC Aboriginal Portal | UVic Ring | Virtual Learning Lodge

Mobile devices, e-books among top tech trends to affect PSE

For the third consecutive year, the annual Horizon Report points to mobile devices as one of 6 technology trends to watch in higher education this year. Of the 5 other trends, game-based learning and learning analytics are new additions for 2011. Although mobile devices have been listed before, resistance by many institutions continues to slow the full integration of these gadgets into PSE. Of the trends listed in other years, the use of electronic books is the one most likely to affect PSE in the next year, the report observes. The other up-and-coming trends are augmented reality -- the layering of virtual information over actual locations -- and gesture-based computing. The Chronicle of Higher Education (free access) | 2011 Horizon Report