Top Ten

November 20, 2013

Contact North joins OER University

Contact North | Contact Nord has joined the Open Educational Resource university network (OERu), an independent, not-for-profit international network of over 30 PSE institutions and networks “dedicated to the effective use of open educational resources (OER) in developing quality online courses and programs.” As a member of the OERu, Contact North will be able to share best practices, research, resources, and experiences from participating institutions around the world with Ontario’s 24 public colleges and 22 publicly-funded universities. “The OERu is about sharing knowledge and the sustainability of education. Through Contact North’s membership, colleges and universities in Ontario will have access to the vast knowledge and expertise of 30 educational pioneers in the use of open educational resources,” says OER Foundation Director Wayne Mackintosh. eCampusAlberta also recently joined OERu. Contact North News Release | OERu Wiki

Latest Ontario graduate employment results revealed

The latest Ontario Graduate Survey reveals that 86.5% of 2010 undergraduates were employed 6 months after graduation, and that 92% had jobs within 2 years. The 2009 data showed 87.5% of respondents employed within 6 months of graduation and 93.1% within 2 years. The average salary for university graduates in full-time employment was $49,277 2 years after graduation and $42,668 6 months after graduation. 2 years after graduation, more than 82% reported having jobs related to their degree; and 6 months after leaving university, 76.4% reported the same. The survey, conducted by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, surveyed 70,845 students who graduated from undergraduate programs at Ontario universities in 2010 between November 2012 and March 2013, with 25,583 (36.1%) responding. COU News Release | Survey Results | Infographic

Quebec student associations attempt to cut ties with CFS

Student associations at Quebec’s McGill University, Concordia University and Dawson College are attempting to cut ties with the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS), reports the Montreal Gazette. According to the newspaper, each of these Quebec CFS members have either petitioned to leave the organization or are involved in lawsuits to try to get out. CFS Chairperson Jessica McCormick says there are “democratic processes” that must be followed to either join or leave the federation, and that member associations have initiated costly legal actions. A press release circulated earlier this fall asserted that members from several other student unions throughout the country have launched petitions to decertify from the CFS. Montreal Gazette

Halifax police warning students about tuition scam

Police in Halifax are warning students of an alleged tuition scam that promises better educational opportunities. According to police, an Asian student has been approached by an Asian man who offered to help the student get into a university in Ontario, asking for a “hefty” administration fee to start the process and for English-language training. The suspect also asked the student for “tens of thousands of dollars” upfront to cover her first year of tuition. Police are advising the public to be suspicious of any individual who asks for money upfront for a service and to be careful when giving out personal information. CTV Atlantic

uOttawa creates Entrepreneurship Hub

The University of Ottawa has announced that it will invest $1 million to create a new Entrepreneurship Hub on campus. Led by the Telfer School of Management, the Faculty of Engineering, and the Technology Transfer and Business Enterprise office, the centre will continue programs such as Startup Garage, and will implement new initiatives, including an entrepreneurship mentoring program to bring young entrepreneurs together, a co-op program to enable students to earn money while working at their own companies, and a new fund to provide space, financing and mentoring to startups. The opening of the hub coincides with uOttawa’s first Entrepreneurship Week. uOttawa News Release

SFU partnership offers university-credit courses for high school students

Simon Fraser University is a partner in a new program, the Fraser Heights Integrated Math and Science Academy, which allows Surrey, BC high school students to take math and science classes at SFU as part of their curriculum, and then later apply them to their PSE studies. "We've had a lot of parents in the school indicating they wanted the opportunity for their kids to receive accelerated university preparation for a long time," says program co-ordinator and teacher James Ahn. Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of the program, adds Ahn, is that the university credits earned are fully transferable to other universities across Canada. "We decided to go with SFU because the first-year chemistry courses are transferable to any university in Canada." A recent US Department of Education report revealed that roughly 1.3 million US students took classes for university credit before completing high school in 2010-11. The Now News | Program Website

Niagara College unveils updated website

Niagara College has launched a newly designed website that is more accessible with larger text, clearer headings, and simplified content. The new site is focused on content for students and visitors and has an expanded news section that includes media releases and up-to-date news items for students. Urgent and important items in the news box will be specially marked to draw attention. Niagara has also made notifications more obvious and quicker, to alert the campus community of emergencies and/or closures. Further changes are planned in the near future, including improved accessibility and updated content pages. Niagara College News

Indigenous content increasingly important for Canadian universities

A recent article in the New York Times highlights the efforts of several Canadian PSE institutions to increase Aboriginal student enrolment and include aspects of Indigenous cultures in curriculum. Max FineDay, the second Indigenous President of the University of Saskatchewan Students’ Union, says that “being an Indigenous university student still has its challenges.” Issues like racism compound with other barriers, both financial and social, to make it difficult for Aboriginal learners to succeed; programs like uSask’s Aboriginal Student Achievement Program (ASAP) offer support for new students through the creation of learning communities and dedicated advisers and peer mentors. Other institutions are working to include more Indigenous content in various programs: the University of British Columbia’s law school has a mandatory first-year course called Aboriginal Rights and Treaties in Canada, and at the University of Winnipeg, there is a Master’s program in Indigenous governance. Similarly, in 2010, the deans of Canadian faculties of education signed an accord to ensure that future teachers were introduced to Indigenous cultures and issues. New York Times      

Survey finds most Canadians like their jobs

Nearly two-thirds (64%) of Canadian workers love or like their job, while only 7% dislike their current role, according to a new study by Monster.ca. The survey, which questioned some 8,000 people in Canada, the US, the UK, France, Germany, The Netherlands and India, also reveals that Canadians are “by far” the happiest with their jobs. However, younger Canadians are most likely to be unhappy at work; about 13% under the age of 25 said they dislike their jobs and think they could do better. "They (younger workers) may be in lower level jobs that have less autonomy, challenge or responsibility, where older workers' jobs have more of these characteristics," explains Sue Bruning, a professor at the University of Manitoba’s Asper School of Business. Winnipeg Free Press | Survey Results

Udacity’s Thrun changes course

Sebastian Thrun, founder of the MOOC provider Udacity, has admitted he and his company have changed course, suggesting that his business model will focus more on partnerships involving vocational-based learning and charging money for classes; in May Udacity announced a partnership with Georgia Tech that offers a Master’s in Computer Science degree for $7,000, for which AT&T donated $2 million. Thrun has branded this new model the “Open Education Alliance,” and says it is the future of Udacity and PSE in general. "The attitude from the beginning, about how we'd make money, was, we'll figure it out. Well, we figured it out,” Thrun told Fast Company. Inside Higher Ed | Fast Company

Postscript: April 22, 2014

Citing demand from students and employers, MOOC provider Udacity will no longer provide free course-completion certificates. In order to receive a certificate, students will be required to verify their identity, an option that costs approximately $150/month. “We owe it to you, our hard-working students, that we do whatever we can to ensure your certificate is as valuable as possible,” wrote Udacity founder Sebatian Thrun on the company blog. He added, “We know that many of our hardworking students can’t afford to pay for classes. At the same time, we cannot hope that our certificates will ever carry great value if we don’t make this change.” The move will take effect on May 16. Certificates earned prior to that date will continue to be featured in students’ profiles. Inside Higher Ed | Udacity Blog