Top Ten

July 29, 2013

Ryerson’s DMZ partners with the Bombay Stock Exchange

The Digital Media Zone (DMZ) at Ryerson University has established a partnership with the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE). The partnership will allow for a “soft landing” for start-ups that wish to expand to India, and for Indian companies that want to enter the Canadian market. The DMZ has become one of Canada’s largest incubators in only 3 years, with 784 jobs created and a total of 92 start-ups launched. The DMZ already has several partnerships with Indian PSE institutions and these successes have led to the agreement with BSE, which includes providing coveted office space to the DMZ at BSE's Mumbai office. Arms-length organization Ryerson Futures Inc (RFI) collects funds from private investors in Canada to provide capital for start-ups. With the expansion to India, RFI is hoping to have a more involved role in establishing Indian start-ups with the eventual goal of Canadian entry. Globe and Mail

Canada’s former PBO to set up shadow office at uOttawa

Canada’s former Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page will be setting up office at the University of Ottawa, producing analytical reports on government spending and teaching classes on economics and political studies. Page says there is a continued public need for the type of analysis he has, and will, provide; he also expressed concerns about the continued absence of an official PBO as his ex-post remains “in limbo.” uOttawa hopes to establish an office similar to the Institute for Fiscal Studies in the UK, which has operated for 40 years as an independent think tank. A formal announcement of Page as the Jean-Luc Pepin Research Chair on Canadian Government is expected in the coming weeks. Globe and Mail

Employee files civil lawsuit against Kwantlen

An ex-employee of Kwantlen Polytechnic University has filed a civil claim with the BC Supreme Court alleging wrongful dismissal and harassment. The employee claims that for 2 years under ex-president John McKendry she and other employees were subjected to “erratic, violent, intimidating and harassing” behaviour. The court claim notes several instances of attempts to alleviate the situation, including the involvement of board chair Gordon Schoberg, who told The Province he “was satisfied Kuzyk’s allegations were properly investigated and dealt with.” McKendry told The Province that he was no longer president when the employee was fired, and was unable to comment further on a legal matter. The Province

Ontario government unveils details of Youth Employment Fund

Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne this week announced further details on the government’s new Youth Employment Fund, which was introduced this past spring in the province’s 2013 Budget. Ontario will provide up to $7,800 to cover a range of supports and services for each eligible young worker. This includes up to $6,800 to help employers cover wages and training costs, and up to $1,000 to help young workers pay for job-related costs like tools or transportation to work. Ontario News Release

Study finds final grade predictions affect how hard students will work

Students who are given a predicted final grade halfway through a course are motivated to work harder, according to a new study by Brock University. Professor Michael Armstrong created a computer program that predicted the probable future marks for 144 Brock students. Nearly one third of the students said the marks were lower than expected, and 47% were studying harder than they had originally planned to. In addition, students with low-grade forecasts were motivated to study more than those with high-grade forecasts. Armstrong says that grade forecasting would most benefit first- and second-year students because they are transitioning from high school to university and need to adjust to the different environment and expectations. 24 Hours (July 29, page 13)

CNC opens training resource centre

The College of New Caledonia in BC, in collaboration with community partners, has opened a resource centre to connect people to education and training in the Fort St. James area. The “Key Resource Centre” will offer users access to drop-in academic and training advising services, a computer lab, and a variety of courses. The centre will be overseen by an advisory board made up of the District of Fort St. James, CNC Fort James, Nak’azdli Health, and Nak’azdli Alternate Justice Centre. CNC News Release

Alberta provides loan for MRU concert hall construction

Mount Royal University will borrow up to $15 million from the Alberta government to finish the new concert hall currently under construction. The total cost of the new Bella Taylor Concert Hall building has been estimated at $90 million, with over $80 million already provided by the federal and provincial governments, the city of Calgary, and private donations, including $20 million from the Taylor family. The concert hall will have a 750-seat performance hall as well as numerous rooms and studios for various teaching and performing needs. The hall will serve as the heart of MRU’s historic conservatory, and will attract members of the community as well as students and artists. The construction is approximately 40% complete, and officials are aiming for a spring 2015 completion date. Calgary Herald

Adaptive learning catching on in online education

Career Education Corp., a for-profit education services chain in the US, has offered over 300 online course sections using adaptive learning, engaging in one of the largest experiments with the technology in the higher education sector. The company announced this week that it will add even more adaptive learning components to the courses at its institutions with its new “Intellipath” platform. Adaptive learning uses data-driven tools to design coursework that responds to individual students’ abilities, so a course platform can constantly adjust content, giving students extra help with some concepts or skip others they already understand. In an example of the technology’s potential for success, the Career Education-owned American InterContinental University saw a 13.6% decline in student withdrawals in a pilot group taking adaptive-powered English composition and mathematics courses. Some academics are skeptical of the technology, saying that it allows software to replace face-to-face instruction. But officials at Career Education say adaptive learning should be used as a tool for instructors. In the past few years, textbook publishers such as Pearson and McGraw-Hill Ryerson have also launched products that use adaptive learning technology. Inside Higher Ed

China ramps up offshore education

Roger Y Chao Jr., a PhD candidate in Asian and international studies at City University of Hong Kong, discusses China’s push to offer higher education offshore in an Inside Higher Ed blog. Soochow University recently opened a campus in Laos, which offered its first classes in 2012, and is planning to open 2 additional campuses also in the Vientiane area, Laos’ capital city. The Kunming University of Science and Technology opened its campus in Thailand in 2010, and offers bachelors programs in international business, tourism management, and teaching Chinese as a foreign language. Xiamen University is planning to open a Malaysian campus in September 2015, which will offer electrical, bio- and chemical engineering, medicine, IT, business and economics, and Chinese language and literature. Finally, plans are in the works between Zhejiang University and the Imperial College London to open research facilities and research collaboration in the UK. Chao points out that while we can expect to see China develop even more of these offshore PSE projects in the future, “the extent, reach and sustainability remains to be seen and will definitely face challenges from its own as well as [from] its host country’s higher education systems.” Inside Higher Ed

CSU increases e-book offerings

California State University is increasing the number of electronic versions of course textbooks after having successfully run its “Rent Digital” program for the past year. The program allows students to rent greatly discounted electronic versions of textbooks at the system’s 23 campuses through bookstores or online, which officials say saved students around $1.5 million in the program’s first year. By this fall, CSU is set to offer 45,000 titles via the program, up from the initial 5,000 e-books available at its launch last year. CSU has agreements with Cengage Learning, Course-Smart, Follett, Barnes & Noble, Schlager Milestone Documents and W.W. Norton under the program. San Diego Union-Tribune