Top Ten

July 30, 2013

Carleton, Algonquin to expand learning partnership

Carleton University and Algonquin College are exploring ways of expanding a partnership that offers students the benefits of both an applied, hands-on college experience and a theoretical university setting. The program would take 4 years to complete and graduates would receive both a college diploma and a university degree. Students would divide time between the 2 institutions, as opposed to doing 2 full years at each. A proposal document issued last fall described future graduates as “eminently job ready,” with “academic content … fully integrated with bridging activities that provide valuable experience in how theoretical knowledge can be applied in concrete circumstances.” The 2 institutions already offer an integrated bachelor of information technology program, and hope to offer one more program by 2014, and 6 by 2016. Ottawa Citizen

uMontréal pushed to develop area around new campus

In a new report released this week, Montreal’s public consultation board (OCPM) says that Université de Montréal should be doing more to “stimulate economic and social development” in the area surrounding the new Outremont campus, set to open in 2017. The site of the new campus is in the heart of the island and has huge potential for employment, residential offerings and overall economic development, as well as countering urban sprawl, according to the report. The OCPM calls uMontréal’s current lack of plans for the area “worrisome and disappointing.” The report makes 25 recommendations regarding the use of the land, including a call for a moratorium on construction permits and zoning changes in the area. Montreal Gazette | OCPM Report (in French)

Selkirk to deliver new online pharmacy technician bridge program

Selkirk College has signed an agreement with the National Association of Pharmacy Regulatory Authorities to offer an online version of the National Pharmacy Technician Bridging Education Program, which updates a pharmacy technician’s skills to align with changes in the scope of practice. The new online program will allow technicians to upgrade their skills without having to return to school to complete a full-time training program. Selkirk will offer 4 courses in both French and English to students from across the country, beginning this fall. Selkirk News Release

When social media never forgets, will we have to forgive?

Julian Gewirtz, a Rhodes Scholar, and Adam B. Kern, a von Clemm fellow, both recently graduated from Harvard and write about the effects of being part of the “internet generation” in an op-ed in the Washington Post. They point out that the many photos and tidbits of information that their generation has posted on social media sites like Facebook and Instagram will stay with them for the rest of their lives, and the pitfalls of this are often commented on in the media (the authors give an example of a 16-year-old who posts about her opposition to abortion, changes her views, and then years later gets turned down for a job under a pro-choice boss). Gewirtz and Kern go on to suggest that perhaps the result of this new “internet generation” won’t necessarily be that people will be expected to censor themselves more, or put less personal info on social media, but that people will begin to place a lighter weight on things that people did or wrote in the past. Washington Post

AUCC releases “North-South partnerships” report

The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada has released a report this week that demonstrates the innovative ways in which universities develop, maintain and strengthen their partnerships with other countries -- what it calls “North-South” partnerships. The report presents 6 case studies in which Canadian universities are looking at new ways of working with Southern countries including South Africa, Uganda, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Bangladesh and Bolivia. The studies are meant to “deepen knowledge and understanding about a new type of collaborative approach that constitutes a departure from the traditional, hierarchical model of North-South partnership focused on knowledge transfer from the North to the South.” AUCC News Release | Report

STEM subjects in need of a facelift

The STEM courses (science, technology, engineering and math) are not only under-represented in Canada’s education system, but also suffering from what the Conference Board of Canada calls “an image problem,” reports the Ottawa Citizen. "There's still a misconception that if you're in the sciences, you spend your days in a lab coat, cooped up over some microscope," said lab analyst Alana Hill, whose job includes international travel, plenty of social interaction and constant discovery. Michael Bloom, VP of organizational effectiveness and learning for the Conference Board, says that an ideal solution would be to create a “pan-Canadian strategy” to better promote the STEM subjects in the K-12 system, touting the disciplines’ potential payoffs. Murray Park, a high school chemistry teacher from Newfoundland, suggests eliminating science fairs, which he says are outdated representations of the research process. "The way to inspire students is to make them believe in themselves, and take them into a lab where they have the opportunity to succeed. You're making them realize that they could love this, and that it's not this onerous thing that's impossible," says Park. Ottawa Citizen

Online learning can free up funds for face-to-face learning

Savings made through online learning, where appropriate, would help fund face-to-face learning, says a new study by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO). The study examined the use of online learning in Canadian and international PSE and found that “online education could provide both effective learning and cost savings, which have the potential to help fund the cost of improving traditional learning, including hybrid models that blend online and face-to-face instruction.” The authors state that the purpose of online learning should be to “free up resources that can help preserve and sustain what we value most in higher education, such as mentoring and coaching.” HEQCO recently released another study that found that online learning tools are most effective when focused on interaction with course material and other students. HEQCO News Release

5 US colleges get Google Glass for filmmaking test-drives

Google is using film students at 5 US colleges to test-drive the new Google Glass headsets. The American Film Institute, California Institute of the Arts, Rhode Island School of Design, UCLA, and University of Southern California will each get 3 pairs of Google Glass, which allow users to take pictures, record video, and use the Internet for search and email. Google says it is interested in how students will use the glasses for documentary filmmaking, character development, location-based storytelling, and “things we haven’t yet considered.” One USC professor is excited about the opportunities students will discover to tell stories, especially from the first-person point-of-view. Globe and Mail

Efforts to reduce grade inflation could harm students

Researchers in the US have determined that institutional efforts to reduce grade inflation can have a negative effect on the students’ abilities to get into graduate programs. The researchers conducted an experiment with 23 admissions officers, as well as examining data for over 30,000 MBA applicants, and found that the students with higher grades were admitted, regardless of whether the granting institution was known to mark leniently or not. Many Canadian and US institutions have been concerned with the increase in grade inflation at the secondary and PSE levels and have taken steps to address this. One author of the study hopes that this research will encourage admissions officers to look at the broader picture, such as overall grading patterns and class rank. Inside Higher Ed

More donors learning about text donation campaigns via social media

People in the US who donate via text message hear about text donation campaigns through social media, and are open to receiving a broad range of information via text, reveals a report from the mGive Foundation, a not-for-profit text donation platform. The survey of mGive’s own users found that 28% of respondents found out about text donation programs via social media, up from 22% in 2012. In addition, an increased number of respondents said they were open to receiving information about volunteering, surveys or program information. “In short, say more with text and make it social," says mGive Foundation executive director Jenifer Snyder. Philanthropy News Digest | Survey