Top Ten

July 8, 2011

Anti-Semitism allegedly on the rise at Canadian universities

The Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Anti-Semitism (CPCCA), a committee of current and former parliamentarians, has concluded that incidents of anti-Semitism are on the rise in Canada, especially on university campuses. The report includes recommendations that police forces be better trained to deal with anti-Semitism on Canadian university campuses, and that universities host more conferences to counter events like “Israeli Apartheid Week.” CPCCA has faced accusations of bias from critics, including former members, claiming it suppressed opposing views and is “nothing more than a poorly disguised attempt to suppress legitimate criticism of Israel.” The committee has been investigating since November of 2009, and hosted an international conference on anti-Semitism in Ottawa last November. Its report is a year later than originally planned.  Globe & Mail 

$91.5 million development project for Humber College

The province of Ontario has provided $64.1 million to Humber College Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning, the fastest-growing college in Ontario, to help fund a $91.5 million development project at its North Campus. The new facilities will help Humber accommodate growth of more than 2,200 additional students, and will include a new Learning Resource Commons and Student Services Centre. The new 4-storey, 160,000-square-foot building will also be the on-campus transportation hub and connection to the University of Guelph-Humber. Construction is expected to begin in early 2012, with a completion date set for September 2014.  Humber News  |  Ontario Media Release

NBCC moves to College Hill

NBCC Fredericton is moving from its 100-year-old building downtown to a new $15-million facility, adjacent to the University of New Brunswick and St. Thomas University, and officially opened the 52,000-square-foot facility last week. STU, UNB and NBCC will be “allies” and plan to share the use of the UNB library, bookstore, and other campus amenities with the 290 NBCC students anticipated this fall. The new facility is an energy-efficient space under the NB Green Buildings Program and is completely wireless. The campus will have a 400-seat capacity and will deliver programs in health, business administration, IT, engineering technology and social services.  Canadaeast  |  NBCC media release

Fleming considers Examiner building for plumbing, carpentry training

Fleming College is interested in using the current location of the Peterborough Examiner for plumbing and carpentry training, says a city planner. The owner of a moving and storage company, which purchased the location in April, has filed an application for a minor variance to allow the site to be used for construction- or industrial-related training. Fleming recently received $29.3 million from the Ontario government for its planned Kawartha Skilled Trades Institute at its Sutherland campus.  Peterborough Examiner

Alumni partnership brings Varsity football back to Carleton

Carleton University has announced the reinstatement of varsity football, beginning in the fall of 2013, more than a dozen years after the program was scrapped for financial reasons in 1998. Ravens football will be financed by an alumni association called Old Crows Football Inc., and will be led by a community-based board of directors in partnership with the university administration. Old Crows will assist in the operation of the club, hiring the head coach, setting the budget, marketing and game-day event planning. Carleton will begin construction and refurbishing of stadium seating, press box, locker room and fitness facilities to accommodate the returning team.  Toronto Star 

Tuition levels critical factor in attracting Maritime students to MUN

Since the 1990s, the enrolment of students from the Maritime provinces (NS, NB, and PEI) at Memorial University of Newfoundland has increased tenfold. A new study released by researchers at Memorial University’s Faculty of Education finds that Maritime students are attracted to MUN by its affordability, reputation for quality programs, and wide range of programs. A survey and interviews were conducted in Fall and Winter 2010, with on-campus MUN students and those enrolled in distance education. “Cost is not the only factor, but it is a key factor in students’ enrolment decisions,” says Dale Kirby, principal investigator. The study suggests that the willingness of migrant students to relocate permanently to NL might represent a solution to the province’s demographic challenges ahead.  Dale Kirby’s Blog  |  Read the full report (PDF)

US News plans to rank online colleges

For the first time in 28 years, US News & World Report’s annual college ranking will expand to include online programs, according to an email from the editor to hundreds of top college officials last week. The editors apparently consulted with leaders of several major online programs to create surveys to score the quality of virtual programs, but critics are concerned that online programs are even more difficult to compare than traditional ones. A recent Sloan Consortium survey found that online enrolment rose 21% last year, and US News sees an information gap that needs filling.  It remains to be seen whether institutions will participate in the survey; the magazine has not yet revealed the methodology it will use to generate its rankings.  Chronicle of Higher Ed

Facebook launches video chat function with Skype

Facebook Inc. has announced that its 750 million users will now be able to make video calls on the site, through an integrated offering with Internet phone service Skype. Using a webcam-equipped computer, Facebook users simply select friends they want to chat with and click a blue video icon in order to use the video chat feature. (Google, in its latest social-networking venture, Google+, has provided an option to video chat with more than one person at a time, something Facebook has not yet provided.) Analysts observe the move deepens Facebook’s working relationship with Microsoft, which is in the process of acquiring Skype.  Globe & Mail

Mobile apps versus mobile websites

With the proliferation of mobile platforms (Android, iPhone, Blackberry, and even Windows Mobile) some colleges are giving up on producing dedicated apps (often in partnership with vendors like Blackboard), and are instead focusing their limited resources on creating mobile-optimized versions of their website instead. (“Think, not iCollege.”)  Mobile websites better suit the decentralized nature of most PSE institutions, but mobile apps allow optimal use of smartphone cameras, offer integration with calendaring and contacts, and will soon offer augmented reality functions that mobile websites cannot. A recent study from West Virginia concluded that 15% of colleges have a top-level website designed for mobile devices, up from 9% in February.  Chronicle of Higher Ed

Maclean's grades 6 university iPhone apps

Josh DeHaas at Maclean’s OnCampus gives UBC an “A” for their iPhone app, for its useful events calendar and compelling videos for prospective students. uSaskatchewan gets a “B” for being “the first brave school in Canada to go mobile,” but for missing transit information and good photos of campus. UWO gets a “C” for “cumbersome,” mainly for icon labels that DeHaan sees as unintuitive. uAlberta also gets a “C”: their app has a good map function, he says, but “poorly executed” calendar and transit sections. York gets a “D” for a slick-looking app with “boring” content, while McMaster gets an “F” for buggy features and error messages that DeHaas describes vividly. (DeHaas didn’t review the new uManitoba app, released last week for iPhone and Android. It includes functions to check grades and schedules, orient oneself on campus, search library catalogues, find places to eat, and check transit schedules.)  Maclean’s OnCampus  |  uManitoba News