Top Ten

October 30, 2013

eCampusAlberta partners with OER University

eCampusAlberta has partnered with Open Educational Resource Foundation, a New Zealand advocate for open education access, to launch the Open Educational Resource university (OERu) this week. The OERu is an independent, not-for-profit network of more than 30 international universities, polytechnics and community colleges that are "committed to widening access to educational opportunities." It will offer students around the world free online PSE courses, developed by the partner institutions, which they may take for personal interest or for academic credit (students will pay a fee for assessment and credentialing). eCampusAlberta has shared its quality standards and online toolkits so they can be accessed through OERu. The toolkits help facilitators assist adult learners with access learning opportunities in their communities, support effective online learning practice and policies, and provide standards in online learning curricula design. eCampusAlberta News | OERu Wiki

ACCC withdraws from Access Copyright battle

The Association of Canadian Community Colleges (ACCC) has announced that it has withdrawn from its role as an official objector in the Copyright Board of Canada case, filed by Access Copyright, on the appropriate tariff for PSE institutions. ACCC had been actively representing the copyright interests of its members since the start of this case in 2010, but its members have decided to withdraw due to several factors, including copyright legislation revised in 2012 that provides new rights for educational use of copyright-protected works without permission or paying royalties, and a decision by the Supreme Court of Canada interpreting fair dealing in an education context. Also, a majority of ACCC members are not using, nor intend to use, a Copyright Board tariff to meet their copying requirements. “ACCC will now concentrate on helping colleges and institutes transition to a copyright regime based on fair dealing, licences and subscriptions negotiated directly with publishers and users’ rights in the Copyright Act,” said Denise Amyot, ACCC President and CEO. ACCC News Release

Colleges Ontario launches Book of Experts for media

Colleges Ontario has launched a new online tool to help reporters and researchers find college experts in a wide range of areas. lists faculty experts from across Ontario, searchable by college name, area of expertise, or by expert name. “With today’s deadlines being tighter than ever, there is a need to access a wide range of expertise quickly,” says Colleges Ontario President and CEO Linda Franklin. “With just a couple of clicks, journalists can find commentary, insight and information within seconds.” There are about 7,000 full-time and 12,000 part-time faculty members at Ontario colleges. Colleges Ontario News Release

Laurentian helps advocate for Barrie university campus

The City of Barrie, Ontario has launched a new campaign to promote to the public the idea of a new university in the city approximately 100 km north of Toronto. According to the Barrie Examiner, executives and politicians, including Janice Skot of Royal Victoria Regional Health Care Centre, Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman and Laurentian President Dominic Giroux, have created a video advocating the idea that Barrie is in need of a university of its own, hoping to gain momentum within the community. The campaign also includes a microsite,, which encourages people to share the idea of a Barrie university. Laurentian’s latest strategic plan, announced in February, included opening a campus in downtown Barrie to serve 2,500 FTE students. Laurentian already has a satellite campus at Georgian College on the north end of Barrie. The Liberal government previously announced plans to establish 3 new campuses in Ontario, but so far has not moved forward with the plan. Barrie Examiner

uLethbridge launches new research website

The University of Lethbridge has launched a new website to serve as the public face of research at the university. The site is organized into 3 categories of stories, “exemplary research,” “engaged students,” and “extraordinary results.” The site also features a “Five Questions With” section of interviews with uLethbridge researchers. Users can also connect to faculty job postings, student research opportunities, community outreach initiatives, events, and the university fundraising page. uLethbridge News Release

BCIT and Selkirk College sign MOU

The British Columbia Institute of Technology and Selkirk College have signed an MOU that will allow for collaboration between the 2 institutions and will help students with hands-on application of knowledge and skills. The MOU will help BCIT and Selkirk “achieve goals in a fiscally-responsible manner by identifying the strengths of current research and development activities,” and provide local education and training opportunities for students. Neil Coburn, Selkirk College’s VP of Education and Students, states, “each institution has recognized areas where the other has strengths and expertise the partnership can draw on to create relevant and innovative programs and services.” The MOU currently has broadly defined areas of interest, and further development will occur in the future as needs are determined. BCIT News

New study suggests 2-hour media maximum for teens

A new US study released by the American Academy of Pediatrics propose that children and teens spend only 2 hours a day on “entertaining screen time,” including “using the Internet for entertainment, including Facebook, Twitter, TV and movies; online homework is an exception.” According to the lead author, Dr. Victor Strasburger, many parents are unaware of the detrimental effects that prolonged exposure to media can have on children. The study states that children now spend more time with media than they do at school, and that unrestricted media has been linked with “violence, cyberbullying, school woes, obesity, lack of sleep and a host of other problems.” Strasburger recognizes that many teens will scoff at the advice, but hopes that parents and schools will consider limits on media access, and that more government research will be conducted on the effects of media. Globe and Mail

Students and employers see differently when it comes to career preparedness

A gap exists between how qualified students think they are for a career and how confident employers are about finding skilled graduates, reveals a new study by Chegg textbook rental company, which also runs a service connecting graduating high school students with colleges and scholarships. Half of PSE students said they felt “very” or “completely” prepared for a job in their field of study. However, even fewer employers – 39% of those surveyed – said the recent graduates they interviewed in the past 2 years were prepared for a job. Even wider gaps emerge when the survey focuses on several different skills, including “creating a budget or financial goal,” “writing to communicate ideas or explain information clearly” (each show a 22% gap), and “organization” (25% gap). Chegg hopes the findings will be educational for students. “We’re going to go directly to students and help them understand what this gap is,” said Chegg President Dan Rosensweig. The company surveyed about 2,000 18- to 24-year-olds enrolled in 2- and 4-year institutions, and 1,000 hiring managers. Inside Higher Ed

Penn State to make $59.7 million in settlements with Sandusky victims

Pennsylvania State University this week announced that it will be distributing $59.7 million in settlements to 26 victims of former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, who is serving a prison sentence of at least 30 years for raping and abusing boys, sometimes on campus. Officials say the settlement amounts will not be funded by student tuition, taxpayer funds or donations, but should be covered by university insurance policies and interest revenues from loans. The Sandusky scandal has led many universities to strengthen their rules and regulations around sexual assault reporting. Chronicle of Higher Education | Inside Higher Ed | Penn State News

Universities customizing programs for private organizations

Universities in the US have begun to customize academic programs for specific businesses, reports MiBiz magazine. Grand Valley State University’s Seidman College of Business designed an MBA degree to help Spectrum Health develop a new generation of executives, and GVSU is using the partnership to develop similar programs for other large employers or a consortium of employers in the region. Future initiatives could come in the form of customized degree programs or professional certification courses, tailored to a specific employer’s needs. “Just as any business needs to adapt to changing marketplace dynamics, universities have to adjust to the changing demands of employers,” says Sri Sundaram, Associate Dean of Seidman. Other examples of customized programs include Davenport University’s undergraduate business degree, geared specifically for Michigan’s growing insurance industry, and a Western Michigan University MBA program customized for engineering firm Parker Hannifin Corp. MiBiz