Top Ten

March 26, 2019

Ashwill: Canada “no longer a second-choice” for Vietnamese students

After tracking the number of study permits issued to Vietnamese nationals between 2015 and 2018, Mark Ashwill finds a significant jump in applicants to Canada. Additionally, the numbers suggest that Canada might surpass the US as a destination for Vietnamese students if the Canadian numbers continue to rise while US applications correspondingly decline. The author adds that in 2017, Vietnamese students “had the highest percentage increase in 2017 at 89%, making Vietnam the fastest growing market in Canada.” The author adds that the percentage of Chinese students bumped up negligibly in 2017 at 2.1%, while the percentage of students of Indian origin was listed at 40%. University World News (International)

Faculty union serves strike notice to URegina

The University of Regina Faculty Association has given notice that it might undertake strike action this Thursday, reports the Regina Leader-Post. Two more bargaining sessions have been scheduled in the interim, and both sides hope to avert a work disruption. “Two weeks ago, we presented our final offer to URFA in hopes that they would take it to their membership for a vote. That did not happen,” read an email to students from the university. “The offer was fair, and acknowledges the work that our faculty does within the constraints of a challenging financial environment. We remain hopeful that URFA will reconsider its position.” The Leader-Post adds that URFA has been without a contract since June 2017. Saskatoon StarPhoenix(Regina Leader-Post) (SK)

Why professors who want more active learning in their classroom do not bring it in

Research from the US finds that many professors would like to incorporate more active learning into their classrooms, but do not do so due to a variety of barriers. Beth McMurtrie writes that these challenges include large class sizes, lack of time for course prep, fixed classroom seats, and students who either do not prepare for class or resist engaging with active learning. The author cites research showing that active learning and group work produces better results than traditional lecturing, yet adds for the reasons cited above, a vast majority of US professors continue to use the lecture as their dominant method of teaching. Chronicle of Higher Education (International)

Polytechnique Montréal professor refuses millions from auto company

A professor of Artificial Intelligence at Polytechnique Montréal has refused $1M per year due to ethical concerns with the company behind research he would be tasked to work on. Samuel Bassetto, Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Industrial Engineering at Polytechnique Montréal, said that he declined the opportunity from Japanese auto parts maker Denso because he did not want his name associated with a company that has harmed the environment and gives almost no place to women. The Journal de Montréal reports that Denso has also been the subject to FBI scrutiny in the past. Journal de Montréal (QC)

YorkU, IBM launch AI assistant for students

York University and IBM have launched a student advising solution that uses AI. According to a YorkU release, the virtual student assistant has logged more than 17,000 interactions since its launch in January. Ongoing student input has helped YorkU improve the application as it guides students to the right self-service or in-person contact for academic support or counselling in such areas as mental health, campus involvement, and career services. “By harnessing the power of Artificial Intelligence to make interactions personalized and engaging, York and IBM are making significant strides in improving the student experience,” said Colette Lacroix, the National Leader for Higher Education at IBM Canada. YorkU (ON)

VIU program helps students, faculty see inmates “in a new light”

Vancouver Island University’s Inside-Out program will expand this year, thanks to a grant from the Vancouver Foundation. According to a VIU release, the program brings inmates and VIU students together to study as peers. Courses include large and small group discussion, activities, a team project, and personal written reflections. “Inside-Out changed the way I view inmates – I realized they are just regular people who have successes, struggles and fears,” said VIU Criminology alumna Rebecca Watmough. “By the end of the course, we learned that inmates are so much more than their crimes.” VIU (BC)

Resources for open-learning that go beyond e-textbooks

In an effort to go beyond e-textbooks in open learning resources, Campus Technology has compiled a list of 16 resources that faculty can use. The list includes 3D modelling software, such as BioDigital, which allows students to interact with a 3D model of the human body through an internet browser or virtual reality headset; open-learning networks with free resources such as the Digital Commons Network and the NROC Project; and platforms with lessons and lectures such as the Khan Academy and UCI Open. Campus Technology (International)

McMaster program separates cannabis fact from fiction

McMaster University has launched the Science of Cannabis, which focuses on the scientific study of cannabis’ therapeutic applications, risks, and harms. A release states that the program, which aims to “separate fact from fiction,” will cover topics that include the constituents of the plant, the various types of cannabis people use, pharmacology and routes of administration, effects on the body, policy in Canada, potential risks and harms, and possible therapeutic benefits. “Our goal is to offer programming that aligns with industry trends and provides skill development for working professionals,” said Lorraine Carter, Director of McMaster Continuing Education. “We know the scientific study of cannabis is something that individuals from physicians to social workers to first responders and others will be interested in.” Newswire (ON)

BrandonU opens multi-faith prayer and meditation space

Brandon University has opened a new multi-faith prayer and meditation space on campus. The space includes accommodations for adherents of faith that require the removal of shoes or washing of hands and feet, and was opened in response to students’ petitions for a room in which they could practice their religion. “The diverse range of people that we welcome at Brandon University, including people of numerous faiths and beliefs, drives so much of the energy and success on campus. We are happy to create a new space that can better accommodate these kinds of needs,” said BrandonU Dean of Students Katie Gross. “I really credit BU students for identifying this opportunity in the first place and working with us to find a solution.”BrandonU | Brandon Sun (MB)

UWindsor introduces cross-disciplinary engineering degree with Siemens

The University of Windsor, in collaboration with Siemens, will now offer an industry certification in mechatronic systems. A UWindsor release explains that the Siemens Mechatronic Systems Certification Program integrates electrical, mechanical, and computer engineering. Instructor Shahpour Alirezaee added that the program will provide training in Programmable Logic Controller skills, which are applicable across several industries. “Many local and global firms depend on PLC and mechatronics to lead innovation in a variety of production, technician and engineering jobs in high-tech and advanced manufacturing,” Alirezaee said. “The SMSCP certifications are internationally recognized as world-class technical qualifications.” UWindsor (ON)