Top Ten

June 26, 2019

McMaster pilots digital credentials

McMaster University has announced that it will be piloting digital diplomas for its graduates. The institution is using a digital credentialing system built by MIT called Blockcerts, which allows students to carry and securely validate their credentials through their phone. The technology gives graduates the autonomy and authority over their own credential, without needing to go to third parties to verify their degrees. "Once we give the credential, students own that credential on the blockchain platform," said McMaster Dean of Engineering Ishwar K Puri. "They can share it or keep it private. When they share it with employers, employers have an immediate link to verify the credential – it takes the middleman out of the equation." McMaster (ON)

EI program changes leave NS students short of cash

The federal government has requested changes to a Nova Scotia program that allows people to draw EI benefits while studying. According to CBC, Employment and Social Development Canada now requires students to have been employed for 24 months to qualify for the program. The NS government’s Department of Labour and Advanced Education said that the federal government requested the change to ensure that applicants are unemployed workers taking training during a period of unemployment. CBC states that some students are reducing their course loads to save money during their programs, and that the province expects the rule change to impact over 500 students. CBC (NS)

Sifting through lousy research studies on higher ed: Feldman, Webber

While there are some studies on higher education that use reliable methods and should inform public debate, "much of the work is of low quality," write David H Feldman and Douglas A Webber. The authors provide examples of studies moving from correlations to causal connections in statistically invalid ways, as is the case with current research suggesting that students who take fewer credit hours per semester would be "better off" with a heavier load. "Without tools to separate the signal coming from credible research design from the noise produced by spurious correlations, we risk drowning in meaningless ‘results’ and succumbing to the soft temptations of confirmation bias," the authors conclude. Inside Higher Ed (International)

Ontario Tech, Peruvian university celebrate formal launch of international partnership

Ontario Tech University and Universidad Cientifica del Sur (Cientifica) have formally launched a partnership that enables Peruvian students extended learning opportunities and new pathways to undergraduate study in Canada. Under the terms of the partnership, students may earn their Ontario Secondary School Diploma and complete necessary English Training to receive a conditional admission to Ontario Tech. "The Ontario Secondary School Diploma program offered through our partnership with Universidad Cientifica del Sur and Rosedale Academy is the only Canadian high school curriculum offered in Peru," said Shannon Bracken, Ontario Tech’s Director of Admissions and Recruitment. "We’re excited to offer this new pathway, which will prepare Peruvian students academically to enter Ontario Tech." Ontario Tech (ON)

MSVU, Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre pilot university access program

Mount Saint Vincent University and the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre have announced that they are piloting a new university access program designed to help Indigenous students achieve their education and career goals. The Aboriginal Academic Access Post-Secondary (AAAPS) program will bring university courses and academic supports to students at the Friendship Centre before they transition to a chosen university program. "There are great benefits in the delivery of a program like this one," said Friendship Centre Executive Director Pam Glode-Desrochers. "It will minimize the impacts of barriers Aboriginal students often face in their first year of post-secondary education, such as alienation, discrimination, financial burdens and social stresses." MSVU (NS)

Mohawk College, EON Reality open new virtual reality lab 

Mohawk College has opened its EON AVR Development Lab. Built in partnership with EON Reality, the Lab will enable students to specialize in Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality development, coding, modeling, and animation with a focus on industrial, medical, and educational uses. "We are always looking for new opportunities that benefit our partners and our students. This partnership is an excellent example of how we can all succeed through collaboration," said Mohawk President Ron McKerlie. "Mohawk is the first college in Canada to offer this program with EON Reality. We are proud to be the first, but more importantly, we are excited by what this means for our students and the employers we serve." Mohawk Hamilton Spectator (ON)

MRU business school takes major steps forward

Mount Royal University has received approval for new majors in Finance, International Business, and Supply Chain Management. A release from MRU explains that because Bissett School of Business had already been offering course concentrations in financial analysis, financial services, international business, and supply chain management, students could graduate with their majors as early as fall 2019. "Holding a BBA with a finance major will be widely and easily understood by potential employers," said BBA student Alanna White. "This achievement came about with hard work from every corner and department of the Bissett School of Business, and from the provost and registrar's offices." The release adds that the university, with the new additions, now offers 36 majors. MRU (AB)

OCADU launches Wapatah: Centre for Indigenous Visual Knowledge 

OCAD University has launched Wapatah: Centre for Indigenous Visual Knowledge. An OCADU release explains that the Centre facilitates the "documentation, communication and translation of Indigenous ways of seeing." As part of its launch, the Centre celebrated milestones and research initiatives such as the "Arctic/Amazon Symposium"; "The Entangled Gaze: Knowledge Exchange Workshop"; and the Virtual Platform for Indigenous Art, a “digital gathering place for data on historical and contemporary Indigenous art, connecting Indigenous communities with researchers and museums.” OCADU (ON)

StFX expects two new departments, previously one, to "benefit from enhanced visibility" after separation

Saint Francis Xavier University has announced that two new departments will be created from its existing Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science Department. The new departments—the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, and the Department of Computer Science—will offer students two distinct educational pathways. The university notes that the change was also made in collaboration with the Computer Science group and the Mathematics and Statistics group, two disciplinary groups that were already operating within the previous Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science Department. "It’s expected that the two programs will benefit from enhanced visibility both within and outside the university as separate departments," the university adds. StFX (NS)

Nowak and Knappe: Active learning through class journals

Zachary Nowak and Reed Knappe reflect upon their experience of having students keep a course journal. The authors describe the journal as a "sandbox" to generate responses about in-class readings, ideas for written assignments, and reflections about the course design. Students were also asked to revisit earlier entries and apply concepts learned later on in the course. The authors state that the response to the approach was positive, for the most part, and that the journals provided an iterative approach to learning by asking students to continuously revisit and revise entries as the course progressed. Inside Higher Ed (International)