Top Ten

November 5, 2013

Manitoba assures no cuts for universities

Manitoba’s new Education and Advanced Learning Minister James Allum has assured universities that they can expect to get at least the same 2.5% hike to operating grants that they received for 2013-14. Allum also said tuition will remain capped at the rate of inflation. The government last year backed out of the last of a 3-year commitment to boost university grants by 5%, settling for 2.5%. None of Allum's recent predecessors has made such assurances months before official funding announcements, according to the Winnipeg Free Press. Winnipeg Free Press

OSCA launches guide for high school graduates

The Ontario School Counsellors' Association (OSCA) has launched a guide to help high school graduates navigate their next steps towards PSE. What's Next: Your Guide to Education and Career/Life Planning in Ontario features links and information on apprenticeships, college, entrepreneurship, taking a gap year, and university. "Students will be able to work through questions to help determine their strengths and needs, and examine the possibilities and opportunities for their future," explains OSCA Executive Director Jacquie Latham. Developed with the support of the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) and the University of Toronto Mississauga, the guide also allows guidance counsellors to incorporate the information into their current curriculum. OSCA News Release | Full Guide

MUN unveils new vision statement

Memorial University has unveiled a new vision statement and refreshed mission statement to accompany “the core values that the university had adopted and has followed over the years.” “The road to the vision, mission and values was a natural progression from extensive consultations to develop MUN’s 3 fundamental institutional planning frameworks in Teaching and Learning, Research, and Public Engagement,” says MUN President Gary Kachanoski. “This will underpin and inspire all our activities for most of the next decade.” MUN’s new vision reads, “MUN will be one of the most distinguished public universities in Canada and beyond, and will fulfill its special obligation to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.” MUN News Release

uManitoba research program gives intellectual property management to industry

A new University of Manitoba program launched this year, which makes university research more accessible to the private sector, is receiving positive feedback, reports the Winnipeg Free Press. The Transformational Partnerships program avoids “lengthy negotiations over potential royalty payments and control of intellectual property (IP)” by assigning the IP management to private-sector partners, giving them full control of the technology. Once the company has included the IP into some commercialized product or service, they have discussions with the university about the value of the IP and how much the university might receive in royalties. Digvir Jayas, uManitoba's VP Research and International, says “the whole idea of the initiative is to become more involved in economic development in the community and increase the research activity at the university.” Winnipeg Free Press

La Cité launches first MOOC

Ottawa’s La Cité collégiale is offering its first MOOC, allowing francophones to participate in the popular form of education. The 5-week course, which began November 4, explores virtual enterprises -- their advantages and disadvantages, the skills and tools they need to succeed, and best practices for online companies. The course is built on the Desire2Learn platform, which allows users to create and manage their own online courses. La Cité News Release (in French)

Lethbridge College launches “Extreme Career Makeover” campaign

Lethbridge College has launched a new marketing campaign, the “Extreme Career Makeover,” which will award a free 2-year education to 2 students who will in exchange chronicle their experiences as a Lethbridge student in videos, blogs and social media. Contestants must write a short essay explaining why they are the best candidate for the Extreme Career Makeover. A panel of Lethbridge judges will select 10 finalists, who will then be featured in videos that will be available for viewing online for 2 weeks in March. Online voting will determine 4 semi-finalists, and Lethbridge will select the 2 winners. The names of the winners will be announced in April 2014, and the winners will be expected to start their studies the following September. Lethbridge News Release | Website

UBC launches new “LOOC,” the local MOOC

The University of British Columbia has launched a local open, online course (LOOC) to help students, staff and faculty improve their digital literacy skills. The “local” version of a MOOC, introduced by the Faculty of Education and the UBC Library and part of the Master of Educational Technology (MET) program, is open to all members of the UBC community through the university’s intranet, the Campus Wide Login (CWL). Like many MOOCs, the course is entirely online and self-paced, and users can build their skills in any area, and in any order, they wish. Instructors can also integrate the course into their curriculum to boost research competencies for any given subject. David Vogt, Graduate Advisor for the MET program, says the LOOC effort fits well with UBC’s Flexible Learning Initiative introduced earlier in the fall, which focuses on technology-enabled learning. UBC News Release

Regulators look to implement crowdfunding rules

US regulators are planning to implement rules allowing businesses to begin issuing shares and debt securities over the internet through crowdfunding portal websites at a time when academics and institutions are increasingly using the popular platforms to raise money. Saskatchewan regulators are currently considering how crowdfunding sites could fit into current regulations. The Ontario Securities Commission has proposed that crowdfunding should be open only to Canadian companies, and that investors should be limited to no more than $2,500 in a single investment and allowed to invest no more than $10,000 in crowdfunding in a calendar year. OSC Corporate Finance Director Huston Loke describes it as an exciting new source of capital for small businesses, but also one that needs oversight. Globe and Mail

Calgary school does away with academic rewards

Calgary’s St. Basil Elementary and Junior High School is removing all certificates and ceremonies honouring academic and athletic achievement, saying “awards eventually lose their lustre to students who get them while often hurting the self esteem and pride of those who don’t get a certificate.” The school cites the work of Alfie Kohn, an author who says rewards and certificates don’t help motivate students to perform well in school. “It may motivate them to get rewards, but that’s likely to be at the expense of engagement with the learning itself,” says Kohn. “The research shows very clearly that 3 things tend to happen when students are encouraged to focus on getting good grades. The first is that they become less excited about the learning itself. The second is that they tend to become less likely to think deeply … The third thing that happens is when you get kids focused on grades they pick the easiest possible task when given a choice — not because they’re lazy, because they’re rational.” CBC

Duke professor starts massive PSE discussion

Duke University professor Cathy N. Davidson is coordinating an initiative involving dozens of universities around the world participating in international conferences, webinars, an open online discussion forum and a MOOC – all aimed at “reinventing education for the world we live in now rather than the one we’ve inherited.” The worldwide discussion, called "The History and Future of Higher Education,” is set to launch in January 2014. Davidson hopes to address such questions as: “how can we rethink inherited structures of formal education in ways that enhance free, creative expression for the world we live in now?,” “are there new ways of opening access and fostering diversity that make the "commons" stronger?,” and “how can we change models of assessment so that we can count what we value--and value what we count?” The initiative’s MOOC will examine the origins of what have become norms in PSE, “from majors and graduate programs to grades and multiple-choice tests,” and look at new forms of teaching and learning. Inside Higher Ed