Top Ten

April 10, 2015

UQAM students clash with police following arrests

Student demonstrators at Université du Québec á Montréal clashed with police on Wednesday after barricading the doors of a campus building. The students occupied the building to protest the arrest of 21 students earlier in the day after police had been called to respond to multiple disruptions. Professors stepped forward to try to negotiate between the demonstrators and officers. The arrested students were released by police late Wednesday night on the condition they would appear in court to face charges; police broke up the occupation at around midnight after facing off with students brandishing fire extinguishers and throwing debris. CBC (1) | CBC (2) | National Post

Police investigating fraud allegations at uSask's Graduate Students' Association

Saskatoon police are investigating the possible theft of funds from the University of Saskatchewan's Graduate Students' Association. uSask President Gordon Barnhart said that the institution is monitoring the situation closely. Some on campus have complained uSask administrators have been too slow to respond to accusations of dysfunction and impropriety within the GSA over recent months. One professor said that he had been disturbed by "heckling, jeers, and other verbal abuse" sustained by GSA President Izabela Vlahu at a recent meeting. However, Barnhart said that "if the public or students felt that we were interfering at all, we would be criticized on that side." He added that the university has offered to pay for an audit of the GSA's finances for the current fiscal year, and to cover the costs of governance advice. StarPhoenix

ON announces $55 M for apprenticeship training

Ontario has announced that it will invest $55 M in 3 programs that support apprenticeships. The province will contribute an additional $23 M over 2 years to the Apprenticeship Enhancement Fund, a program that allows colleges and other institutions to invest in equipment, space, and technologies needed to deliver high-quality apprenticeship programs. ON's Pre-Apprenticeship Training Program, which helps provide in-class training sessions and work placements for people interested in the trades, will benefit from $13 M over 2 years. ON will also provide an additional $19 M over 3 years to support equipment upgrades and lab time for colleges and other training organizations. ON News Release

Canada announces over $40 M for applied research

Canada has announced more than $40 M in grants for colleges to support applied research and development activities with industry. The funding includes over $34 M provided through the College and Community Innovation (CCI) program and over $7 M provided through the College Industry Innovation Fund (CIIF) program, and will support 38 projects in areas including manufacturing, green building, and mobile technology. An additional $445,993 was awarded through the Infrastructure Operating Fund. Recipients include Algonquin College, Cégep de l'Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Cégep de Saint-Hyacinthe, George Brown College, Lambton College, and Mohawk College, each of which will receive $2.3 M in CCI funding. NSERC News Release | CFI News Release | List of CCI Recipients

CASA, CFS-BC campaigns focus on impact of debt, funding cuts

The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) has launched a new campaign to raise awareness of the impact of student debt on families. A CASA-sponsored survey showed that many parents are being forced to remortgage their homes, dip into their retirement savings, or take on additional work to help pay for their children's education. In British Columbia, The Canadian Federation of Students - BC has launched a campaign to protest the province's plans to cut funding for adult basic education (ABE) courses. CFS-BC's "Don't Close the Doors" campaign calls on Premier Christy Clark to reverse $6.9 M in cuts and to reinstate free tuition for ABE courses. The CFS-BC says that introducing tuition fees will make the programs less accessible to individuals with lower incomes. CASA News Release | CFS-BC News Release | Don'

WLU course links students around the world

Contact North has published a piece looking at how Wilfrid Laurier University professor Gavin Brockett used active learning pedagogies in a global classroom. Brockett's course, "An Introduction to Muslim Studies," involved 34 students in Waterloo and 9 in Istanbul, who were linked using videoconferencing technology. The course looked at experiences of being Muslim in different parts of the world. Students found the cross-cultural learning opportunity and the chance to work with students from another country to be illuminating, in spite of some technical difficulties and cultural and time differences. The course will be offered again in 2015, and Brockett is looking at possibly connecting with students in other parts of the world . Contact North

More business schools offering diplomas and certificates as pathways to MBA programs

More Canadian business schools are offering for-credit diploma and certificate programs that enable non-business students to transition into MBA programs. "We started to notice a lot of students graduating from non-business degrees and going on to do diplomas in business at community colleges," said Shai Dubey, interim Academic Director of Queen's University's diploma program. "Why not give them a diploma at the university level and allow the credits to count toward the MBA?" The programs allow students from various disciplines to augment their skill sets and rebrand themselves, while providing a new pool of applicants for business schools. Many of the programs are sector-specific, responding to the changing needs of businesses and offering in-depth coverage not possible in regular undergraduate or MBA programs. Globe and Mail

Online graduate degrees grow in popularity

While online graduate programs were once thought of as niche offerings, they have now become common at campus-based universities. Many programs have moved toward a number of shared characteristics, including brief on-campus residencies for distance students. Wendy Caplan, Manager of the University of Alberta's online nursing PhD program, says that on-campus residencies improve discussion and dialogue, while Stephen Kimber, a professor at the University of King's College, says that they help create a sense of community. Online graduate programs can also provide new opportunities for students in isolated communities. There is still room for further development: according to Contact North's Tony Bates, "there's a huge market that Canada hasn't really tapped into yet for professional master's programs." University Affairs

Institutions offering CBE must prove its value

The American Enterprise Institute's (AEI's) Center on Higher Education Reform has released 2 new reports on competency-based education (CBE). The first considers employer perspectives on CBE, noting that while awareness is low, hiring managers who are aware of CBE tend to have a favourable view. The report notes that employers lack awareness of the possible benefits of CBE, and that they are often unable to articulate their needs as competencies. The second report looks at best practices for measuring mastery, focusing on external validation of credentials. It recommends that institutions conduct and publish studies to provide research-based evidence that CBE programs are equal to traditional programs at imparting necessary knowledge and skills. Inside Higher Ed | AEI Summary (Employers) | AEI Summary (Measurement)

LinkedIn purchases

LinkedIn has entered the online education business after purchasing in a deal worth approximately $1.5 B. Lynda offers subscription-based access to courses focused on business, technology, and creative skills. In a blog post, LinkedIn's Head of Content Ryan Roslansky said that the acquisition will allow LinkedIn to advise users which skills are most in demand in a specific city, and then direct them to relevant Lynda content. LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner said, “the mission of LinkedIn and the mission of are highly aligned. Both companies seek to help professionals be better at what they do." Reuters | LinkedIn News Release | LinkedIn Blog