Top Ten

August 13, 2013

How will Blackberry turbulence affect uWaterloo and surrounding tech industry?

Following Blackberry’s announcement that it will launch a strategic review that could lead to the company’s sale or privatization, the Globe and Mail reports that Waterloo’s technology sector is confident that it will move on relatively unscathed no matter what Blackberry’s future is. Executives in Waterloo have been touting the city’s start-up sector, which is creating and funding almost 500 new companies a year -- started by former Blackberry employees or students from the University of Waterloo. However, uWaterloo executives may not be quite as confident – donations have been critical to the university’s success and heightened international profile, and Blackberry has accepted thousands of co-op students over the years, which helps the school’s graduates pad their resumes before joining tech companies around the world. Globe and Mail

Error delays latest National Household Survey data set

Statistics Canada has delayed publishing the latest batch of data from its National Household Survey (NHS) less than 48 hours before its planned release, after discovering serious errors. StatsCan says they found the problems with the data, which include details on what Canadians earn and how they live, when officials were doing last-minute quality checks over the weekend. The voluntary NHS replaced the long-form census, which was cancelled in 2011 to much protest, including from researchers and marketers. Census manager Marc Hamel denied the switch to the NHS over the longer mandatory census had anything to do with the suspect data. The NHS had a substantially lower response rate than the 2006 census – 68.6% versus 93.5%. Globe and Mail

uAlberta lifts suspension of campus fraternity

A University of Alberta fraternity has been given an early pardon from a 5-year suspension it has been under since January 2011. During the suspension, Delta Kappa Epsilon (aka the “Dekes”) was barred from using uAlberta's name or insignia, using the university's liquor or gaming licenses, or renting university property or equipment. After demonstrating good behaviour and community leadership, the fraternity will this fall regain full student group status. However, under the “provisional reinstatement,” the group will continue to report to the dean’s office monthly and “will continue to be under scrutiny” for the next 2 years. The frat raised more than $25,000 for local charities, provided anti-hazing education and leadership training, and performed about 1,500 community service hours, far beyond the 500 required, according to uAlberta dean of students Frank Robinson. Edmonton Journal

Ryerson, York launch online credit transfer platform

Ryerson University and York University have teamed up to launch an online platform that gives students the ability to enrol in degree credit courses at either institution. The “Ryerson-York Exchange” provides students with a diverse list of some 40 courses that have been pre-approved for credit transfer -- so eligible York students can earn credits toward their degree at Ryerson and vice versa. The courses offered are among the most popular at both universities and range from astronomy, economics and psychology to calculus and epidemiology. Prior to the launch of the initiative, students had to obtain letters of permission and complete a number of steps before being able to cross-register for a course at the other institution. Under the new program, students pay all fees to their home university and courses taken at the partner institution are included on transcripts. Representatives from Ontario universities and colleges recently met with the minister of training, colleges and universities, Brad Duguid, to discuss how to improve credit transfer. Ryerson News Release

Schulich to offer MBA at Indian campus

York University's Schulich School of Business will be admitting 40 students to an MBA program offered in Hyderabad, India in September. The partnership with GMR School of Business was originally announced in 2010, but delays in passing foreign campus legislation caused the project to be put on hold. Students will spend the first year at the Hyderabad campus, and the second year at Schulich’s Toronto campus, with all classes in India and Canada taught by Schulich faculty. Schulich hopes to offer an Executive MBA program in Hyderabad by 2015. Business Standard

More Canadians turning to loans to pay for PSE

Canadian PSE students are relying more on loans and less on parental contributions to pay for university or college, according to a Bank of Montreal survey. In 2013, 44% of students are getting money from their parents – down from 52% in 2012 – and 55% are turning to loans, up from 49% last year. The online survey of 602 PSE students, conducted in July, also found that Canadian students expect, on average, to graduate with $26,297 in debt and expect to pay it off in 6.4 years. Toronto Sun | BMO News Release

More students choosing to live at home while studying

As tuition fees continue to increase at many US colleges and universities, so too does the cost of on-campus living, resulting in more students deciding to live at home or with relatives to save money. US lending company Sallie Mae recently released its annual "How America Pays for College" report, which found that 57% of respondents lived at home or with family, a 13% increase from 2 years ago. The increase occurred across all income levels, although low-income families have a higher percentage of students living at home or with relatives (62%). Of students who do not live either at home or on-campus, 35% reported adding a roommate to save on cost of living. According to Reuters, living off campus can have negative effects on academic performance and social integration, so students must weigh the pros and cons of specific living arrangements. Reuters | Sallie Mae Report

Best Buy targets novice tech buffs in new ad campaign

Best Buy has launched their back-to-school marketing campaign, and this year they are going after the less-than-tech-savvy. The campaign casts Best Buy as “Canada’s Back-to-School techfitter” and is aimed at students and parents who don’t have the latest technology knowledge and are looking for guidance regarding what computer or device to purchase. Best Buy’s director of marketing stated that they are “uniquely qualified” to provide this advice, because they operate without commissions. Best Buy is also offering “Techfitter 101” sessions on Twitter, where students can ask questions in real time. Best Buy is using social media networks to advance the campaign, and offering prizes for participation in various contests. Marketing magazine

US students not as promiscuous as we think

A new study has determined that US PSE students are not engaging in a “hookup culture” to the extent that popular culture and media might suggest. The study, based on data from the US General Social Survey, which measures social trends, found that sexual behavior among students (aged 21-25 with at least one year of PSE) from 2002-10 has changed very little from that of students in 1988-96. The study found that fewer students (59.3%) are having sex once a week or more than they were in 1988-96 (65.2%). The study also found that students are having sex with fewer partners than their predecessors. The only numbers that changed significantly were those that involved views on same-sex partnerships. A recent Canadian study found that 60-70% of sexual encounters among Canadian students occurred in committed relationships. Toronto Star | American Sociological Association News Release

International students pay the most in Australia

HSBC has released a list of 13 countries ranked most-to-least expensive for international students. Although tuition costs for international students are fairly close among the top 3, it is Australia that comes out as the most expensive place for international students to study, based on the higher cost of living, which was factored in with tuition. The total cost to study in Australia per year was $38,516, followed by the US ($35,705), and the UK ($30,325). Canada came out in 5th place at $26,011, and Germany was rated the least expensive place for international students to study, at $6,285. The bottom 5 countries all totalled less than $10,000 per year. Many PSE institutions have increased tuition and fees for international students in recent years, at the same time that they have increased international recruitment strategies. Times Higher Education