Top Ten

April 2, 2020

ON colleges wait on approval to teach international students virtually in home countries

Ontario colleges are seeking new federal immigration rules in order to avoid a drastic reduction in international student enrollment. The Record states that colleges hope they will be able to enroll foreign students, teach them remotely in their home country, and allow students to claim this time abroad as if it is time spent in Canada. ApplyBoard Co-founder Martin Basiri argued that “there is always a need for people to go to good schools,” and encouraged a focus on those students already in Canada. "Right now they're locked down," said Basiri. "They don't have their family support. They don't have a social life. They're completely in another country. I worry about their mental health." The Record

UQÀM creates new programs focused on resilience, risks and disasters

The Université du Québec à Montréal’s Faculté des sciences humaines has announced the creation of a short graduate program and a DESS to cultivate crisis management skills. Beginning September 2020, UQÀM will offer a short graduate course in résilience, risques et catastrophes lasting 15 weeks, as well as a DESS program of the same name lasting two trimesters. The programs are geared toward both new and active professionals and provide students with skills relevant to the management of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as other types of disasters. Both programs will offer a hybrid of in-person and online delivery and employ active pedagogical techniques like case studies, simulations, and field trips. UQÀM

OCUFA calls on ON to provide financial supports for workers amid COVID-19

The Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations is calling on the provincial government to provide timely supports for workers who are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. In a statement, OCUFA highlights the struggles of the most vulnerable workers in the Ontario higher education sector amid the COVID-19 pandemic, including: campus libraries remaining open; staff and instructors with disabilities not being compensated for the additional work required to move courses online; and those with elder and child care responsibilities who are facing additional pressures to work overtime. “Ontario’s faculty and academic librarians call on the provincial government to step-up to support workers who are struggling now,” reads the OCUFA statement, before calling on the government to respond to the demands of the $15andFariness campaign. OCUFA

Okanagan passes 2020-2021 budget via virtual meeting

Okanagan College’s Board of Governors has virtually passed the school’s 2020-2021 budget. Due to the pandemic, the Board gathered virtually through an online meeting platform last Tuesday to discuss the $126.8M budget. “The very nature of the meeting drove home the fact that circumstances are changing rapidly,” said Okanagan President Jim Hamilton. “We fully recognize the budget was passed as a starting place while the uncertainty associated with the pandemic resolves itself.” Hamilton added that the college plans to continue to offer its programming for as long as possible. Okanagan

To deal with the blowback from the move to online learning, we need future-back innovation

“The soon-to-be-certain conflation of remote instruction with online learning is likely to set us back a few paces before we can move forward again,” write Peter Stokes and Mark Johnson. When that happens, how can the higher ed community learn from this experiment and build a better delivery model? According to Stokes and Johnson, the way forward is “by leading from rather than to the future.” To accomplish this, “much more than one frantic week of preparation” is necessary, conclude the authors. “You need a vision, a strategy and a disciplined learning-based approach, in which you constantly test and improve.” Inside Higher Ed

MHC rebrands visual communications to “Art and Design”

Medicine Hat College’s Visual Communications program has announced that they are changing their name to Art and Design, effective July 1st. The name change aims to clearly communicate the nature of the program, improve searchability for prospective students, and serve as an opportunity for a program refresh. “Our philosophy of combining fine art and design makes our program unique in Alberta, and the applied degree includes paid work terms in either fine art or design fields (or both),” said MHC visual communication coordinator Clint Lawrence. “The new name better reflects this blend of disciplines.” MHC

U15, partners launch BETA to help connect non-profits, governments with higher ed experts

U15 has launched a beta version of their website,, that allows people and organizations to easily connect with researchers. Now delivered in partnership with Universities Canada, CFI, CIHR, NSERC, SSHRC, and Mitacs, analyzes research projects, facilities, and IPs in order to identify the most relevant institutions, researchers, facilities, and licensing opportunities for a given search term. “As Canada responds to the COVID-19 crisis, it is our hope that will foster collaborations among researchers that can help address this global challenge,” reads the U15 release. “It is for this reason that we have decided to advance the release of” U15

Northern offers rooms for persons that are houseless

Northern College has offered empty residence rooms for persons who are houseless during the COVID-19 pandemic. Working in partnership with the Living Space and the Cochrane District Social Services Administration Board, the college is providing spaces for people who need to engage in physical distancing. Northern will provide sanitization, disinfection, and hygiene precautions. "This is a trying time for all of us," reads a statement from Northern. "It is also a time for togetherness, understanding and charity. Northern College is proud to uphold these values and open its facilities to the most vulnerable populations of society." CBC

UWaterloo, Dal launch online learning tools for K-12

Universities across the country are developing tools to help K-12 students learn virtually from home. For example, the University of Waterloo’s Centre for Education and Mathematics and Computing has launched an online tool – CEMC at Home – that teaches math and computer science. Dalhousie University’s SuperNOVA has launched an at-home learning series for a range of age groups focusing on concepts like ocean-discovery. “Our activities are designed to encourage self-exploration for young people to learn about science, engineering and technology with their parents or by themselves,” explains Dal executive director of SuperNOVA Alexandra Fenton. “We’ve had some really interesting responses and some parents have even tagged their children when they do our tasks at home.” UWaterloo | Dal

Tips for elevating virtual convocation ceremonies

“Across the country, colleges and universities are canceling their spring commencement ceremonies,” write Vinca LaFleur and Ilana Ross. “But here’s the good news: with modern technology and a dash of creativity, graduates don’t have to give up the tradition.” In this piece, the authors offer four tips for reimagining the important tradition of convocation amid COVID-19: make the event collaborative by soliciting student ideas; send visuals alongside details related to the date, time, and link to virtual ceremonies; divert events budgets into class(y) gifts; and encourage community participation in the event. “Soon we’ll be counting on this year’s graduates to help us remake the troubled world that’s waiting for them,” conclude the authors. “The least we can do is send them off right.” Inside Higher Ed