Top Ten

August 27, 2015

NS to fund reportedly cut psychology internship program

Nova Scotia has announced that it will provide $223 K in funding to the province’s psychology internship program next year. The move comes in the wake of reports that the government had cut the program, which Health and Wellness Minister Leo Glavine responded to by saying, “contrary to media reports, the program was never cut and it will continue. This has always been our intention.” The program gives PhD students in the province a chance to work in a clinical setting, and representatives from the Association of Psychologists of Nova Scotia have argued that it is crucial for retaining psychology professionals in a province that already faces a shortage in this area. CBC

Vancouver Community College loses court case over “VCC” initials

Vancouver Community College has lost a case in the BC Supreme Court, which sought to prevent Vancouver Career College from using the abbreviation “VCC.” The community college claimed that the private college’s use of the same initials, predominantly through online keyword advertising, misrepresented its educational services and created public confusion. In his decision, Judge Kenneth Affleck noted that in order to enrol at the private college, a student must visit the campus in-person, attend an interview, and fill out paperwork, all of which will prominently display the full name. Peter Nunoda, President of Vancouver Community College, has said that the school is not yet in a position to comment, as they are waiting for their legal counsel to review the decision. Vancouver Sun | The Province | Lexology

More co-op placement is good for students, business

“Simply put, students are good for the bottom line,” writes Universities Canada President Paul Davidson for the Montreal Gazette. He adds that Canadian businesses need to draw on the energy, knowledge, and fresh perspectives of students if they wish to keep pace in an innovation-based economy. He also notes that in recent years, the number of university students participating in co-op programs has grown by 25%, with four out of five employers reporting that “co-op hires add value to their company as a source of new talent and as future employees with workplace skills.” Davidson concludes that despite this recent growth, still more businesses need to partner with universities to create co-op placements. In 2014, Academica completed a report, published by HEQCO, that explored the benefits of work-integrated learning. Montreal Gazette

NOSM boosts northern doctor numbers

The Director of the School of Rural and Northern Health at Laurentian University has found that more than half of the students graduating from the Northern Ontario School of Medicine choose to stay in northern Ontario cities and nearly a quarter are working in rural northern ON locations. Director Elizabeth Wenghofer compared 67 students from NOSM’s first two graduating classes to 468 students who graduated from other Canadian medical schools during the same period. She found that 64% of students who did both their undergraduate and post-graduate training at NOSM went on to work in urban settings in northern ON, with 25% working in rural settings. She also found that 70% of students who completed undergraduate training elsewhere but completed their postgraduate training at NOSM stayed to practice in northern ON. CBC

Communication, writing top the list of skills students need to get a job

As students head back to school, they need to take note of the skills most sought after by employers, according to Workopolis VP Tara Talbot. The career site has just released the results of its survey of hundreds of Canadian employers and analysis of millions of job postings. Employers told them that while they want to hire (32% said they plan to increase staff in the near future), they struggle to find qualified candidates. 38% said candidates are lacking experience, 29% soft skills, and 23% technical skills, with just 4% saying education. Among the most common skills requested by employers are communication, customer relations, and writing. Workopolis | Infographic | Full Report

uAlberta launches hands-on learning program for Aboriginal youth

The University of Alberta has launched a three-year pilot of “Moving the Mountain,” a hands-on educational program designed to help troubled Aboriginal youth, aged 12 to 21. uAlberta will reportedly be the first Canadian university to offer the program, which originated at Harvard University. “If you’re on the streets or something you can just come here and work on things,” said Kirsten Threefingers, who until recently had lived in an inner-city safe house for three years. “The stars are lining up, particularly around Aboriginal education and diversity in education,” said uAlberta Dean of Education Randy Wimmer. “I think this is a tremendously exciting time for us.” Global News

Student chatting can be beneficial to classes, says UBC study

Chatting with one another during class can help students feel a greater sense of belonging and generate greater interest in the class, say two researchers from UBC. In a recent paper published in Teaching of Psychology, the researchers explain that a close examination of 242 students in UBC’s psychology department found that student chatting was strongly linked to positive classroom experiences. The study also found that chatting benefited introverts as much or more than extroverts. Study co-author Catherine Rawn suggests that when a teacher hears students chatting, “take a breath, don’t always assume it’s a negative and don’t overreact … it’s important to recognize that there actually might be benefits to chatter.” UBC | Full Study

Some MOOC learners use multiple accounts to cheat, finds Harvard/MIT study

According to a new study conducted by researchers from Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, some MOOC learners are using multiple accounts to “harvest” correct answers in their courses. The scheme—dubbed CAMEO, for Copying Answers using Multiple Existences Online, by the team—involves taking a test first with one account, then requesting to see the correct answers, and finally taking the test again on a new account, this time with entirely correct responses. Using 115 MOOCs offered by Harvard and MIT over the last three years, the researchers calculated that 1,237 certificates, or 1% of the total, were awarded to students using the CAMEO strategy. Inside Higher Ed | Campus Technology | MIT | Full Study

Vague buzzwords hampering innovation at US colleges

Colleges might often work against themselves when they are unclear about what certain innovation buzzwords mean, reports the Chronicle of Higher Education. Among these buzzwords is the phrase “adaptive learning,” which can often be used in very different contexts by university administrators, faculty members, and private sector partners. Richard Culatta, Director of the Office of Educational Technology at the US Department of Education, has called for clearer language when people speak about new teaching technologies. If this clarity is not achieved, the article concludes, innovation in teaching will continue to lag. Chronicle of Higher Education

As the MOOC hype dies down, Coursera continues to grow

While the hype surrounding MOOCs may have dissipated, Coursera has found a way to stay in business and partner institutions have found reasons to participate. This week, the company announced that is has raised $49.5 M in new funding, with the expectation that this will grow to $60 M by the fall. The company’s secret, according to President Richard C Levin, has been professional development, offered primarily through a series of micro-degrees. The company insists, however, that it remains committed to the liberal arts: over half of their content is not career-oriented. The company is also exploring the possibility of expanding internationally, particularly in India. Chronicle of Higher Education | Inside Higher Ed | edSurge