Top Ten

October 11, 2012

uWaterloo proposes Innovation Village in draft SMA

In its proposed strategic mandate agreement (SMA) sent to the Ontario government, the University of Waterloo outlines its priority objectives, which include innovation-enabled learning, research-enabled learning, and technology-enabled learning. The SMA includes plans to expand graduate studies programs, offer more opportunities for research work terms, and address faculty life cycle to better foster productivity and creativity. uWaterloo proposes the development of an Innovation Village on its north campus. Building on the success of programs such as VeloCity -- but on a grander scale -- the Innovation Village will bring together entrepreneurial and innovative students and faculty members. "Comprised of residences, laboratories, event and discovery spaces, it will be a place of living and learning, bringing together like-minded risk takers in an ecosystem fuelled by the energy of shared ideas," says uWaterloo's provost. "It will be a place where knowledge pioneers have the necessary tools, laboratories and opportunities to pursue breakthroughs and social innovations that will transform the way we work, play, travel, communicate, live and learn." uWaterloo SMA

AUGSA report offers recommendations to foster Open Education culture in Canada

Canada's PSE institutions are lagging behind the rest of the world in terms of the country's contribution to Open Education, with very few institutions prioritizing Open Education content creation, observes the Athabasca University Graduate Students' Association in a new report. The report identifies several major challenges in terms of moving toward an Open Education culture. These include: quality control; intellectual property issues; establishing the necessary IT infrastructure; developing sustainable business models; certification and assessment needs; and creating inter-university systems that are easily navigable. The report offers suggestions to PSE institutions and stakeholders in Canada on how to foster an Open Education culture. Recommendations include institutional administration incentivizing the creation of Open Educational Resources (OER) and Open Access publications and providing IT support to allow easy sharing and distribution; faculty collaborating with each other to create OER; students expressing concerns to professors about the cost of commercial materials and a preference for OER options when the quality is comparable; and governments making research grants issued by government agencies conditional upon the open-access publication of research results. Report

SFU celebrates new Thelma Finlayson Centre for Student Engagement

Yesterday Simon Fraser University unveiled its new Thelma Finlayson Centre for Student Engagement in the Maggie Benston Centre at the Burnaby campus. Devoted to student success, the centre is named for the 98-year-old former SFU biology professor who spent close to 4 decades after retirement advising as many as 8,000 struggling learners. Finlayson helped establish the university's first Academic Advising Centre and worked along with staff to support students' welfare and academic success. The new centre will offer a highly visible, centralized and welcoming space where students can get personalized information, guidance, and advice on academics and co-curricular learning opportunities. SFU News Release

Record enrolment at BVC

This fall Bow Valley College welcomed more than 5,633 new and returning learners, the largest fall semester enrolment in the Calgary-based institution's history. Fall term applications are up by 5% overall, with career program applications having increased by 9%. Career program enrolments in the School of Business and School of Health, Justice, and Human Services have increased by 14%. To meet some of the rising demand, BVC has opened up additional intakes in its Health Care Aide program in both Calgary and Strathmore. BVC News Release

Fall term enrolment up nearly 6% at Lakeland

Lakeland College reports that as of September 27, there were 2,500 full- and part-time credit students enrolled at the institution, an increase of 5.8% from the same time last year and a 19.2% increase from September 2009. Program areas with the largest enrolment increase are energy and petroleum technology, trades and technology, sign language studies, and human services. This year's class includes students from every Canadian province and territory with the exception of Nunavut. Lakeland has also welcomed international students from Australia, the Bahamas, Barbados, Finland, Jamaica, Japan, and the US. Lakeland News

Tyndale to participate in varsity-level athletics next fall

Tyndale University College & Seminary recently announced that it will participate in varsity-level athletics in September 2013. The Toronto-based institution's recreation athletics program engages about 60% of its student body, and varsity-level athletics is the next step in supporting student athletes in their physical capacity and spiritual growth, Tyndale says. As of next September, the varsity athletic program will begin with a wrestling team and cross-country running. Tyndale News

Study finds decrease in grade repetition, increase in high school graduation among Manitoba youth

According to a new report from the University of Manitoba's medical school, Manitoba children have been making some gains in health and social outcomes. Among the improvements are a 10% decrease in teen pregnancy rates, a 29% decrease in grade repetition, and a 7% increase in secondary school graduation. Researchers found that children from poor areas performed worse in school. The highest percentage of children who performed poorly were from the lowest income regions. That said, the research found differences in educational outcomes were not as great as those observed in areas of health. The study found that children from low income areas had higher rates of hospitalization and involvement with child welfare services and teen pregnancy. uManitoba News Release | Report

MacEwan Library creates app, mobile site

Grant MacEwan University's Library has developed a free mobile application available for students, faculty, and staff. Library staff saw the need for the app given the increased use of smartphones to access the Library's website. Through the app, users can search for and request materials, check the status of their holds, renew checked-out materials, download articles from academic journals and periodicals, and retrieve basic information such as campus library hours and locations. The app also displays the user's library barcode. New scanners will be installed in MacEwan's Library that will read the barcode off the user's smartphone. The new app coincides with the launch of the Library's mobile website. MacEwan News

US survey finds students increasingly satisfied with profs' tech use, demand more tools

In the 2012 edition of Educause's annual undergraduate technology survey, 68% of US students surveyed said most of their instructors were using technology effectively, up from 47% in 2010. As students' confidence in faculty technology deployment grows, so does their desire for more technology. In the 2012 survey, 49% of respondents said they wanted more learning management system use (32% in 2010), 57% desired more open educational resources (19% in 2010), 46% wanted more Web-based videos (18% in 2010), and 55% desired more game-based learning (15% in 2010). This year's survey found 70% of students were using e-books or e-texts for a class, up from 24% in 2010. 47% of respondents said they wished their instructors would use more digital texts. The survey's findings are based on a representative sample of 10,000 responses from US undergraduate students from all types of PSE institutions. The margin of error is 5%. Inside Higher Ed | Survey Results

Students at some Ontario universities producing "Gangnam Style" parody videos

"It's war, Gangnam Style, at universities in Ontario," reports the Toronto Star. In a YouTube video parodying the hit Korean single, a male York University student dances around campus through crowds of unassuming fellow students in a hidden camera-style effort. The McMaster University version was performed by the institution's men's basketball team and also features other students, the Verve dance team, a dog, and even president Patrick Deane, all dancing to the song. Carleton University's version shows the campus mascot, Rodney the Raven, dancing Gangnam Style around campus. A Ryerson University version is also in the works. A sneak peek posted on Facebook last week shows 2 people "horse dancing" their way into a classroom, presumably interrupting the class. Toronto Star