Top Ten

April 17, 2020

Lethbridge ECE instructors use videos to help students complete practicums

Instructors at Lethbridge College are using videos to allow students in the Early Childhood Education program to complete their practicum placements. ECE instructors have drawn upon Videatives, a video system that shows children at play and working with educators, to provide students with the provincial requirements that will allow them to graduate on time. “Students watch the videos to identify where they see development happening with the children,” says Lethbridge ECE program chair Cheryl Hatten. “We believed we could expand its use to fill in the gaps for those who were still missing practicum hours and it’s actually worked quite well.” Although students say that the videos cannot replace one-on-one time with children, some acknowledged that the technology enables them to see things they would not be able to observe, or observe as clearly, in person. Lethbridge (AB)

TÉLUQ launches free online courses in AI vocabulary, work-study balance

Université TÉLUQ, in partnership with the Institute LICEF et l’Office Québécois de la langue français, has launched a free online course open to the public on language and artificial intelligence. Vocabulaire de l’intelligence artificielle is a CLOM (MOOC) that will teach French neologisms for technical language and is geared toward persons whose first language is not French. The school also launched another CLOM earlier this week focused on work-study balance. TÉLUQ (QC)

Four tips for postsecondary leaders managing in uncharted territory

“Knowing how to respond during an unprecedented crisis is complicated,” explains Robert MacIntosh. However, the author argues that it is still possible to demonstrate effective leadership through a willingness to learn and reflection. MacIntosh advises that leaders look to trusted sources for guidance and listen to colleague’s questions; communicate to the school community early and often; reach out to networks within and beyond the school when unsure about how to proceed; and be prepared to learn new lessons and re-evaluate long-held pedagogic assumptions. Times Higher Education (subscription required) (International)

UVic launches code of conduct to set ethical standards for suppliers

The University of Victoria has developed a new Supplier Code of Conduct outlining ethical standards of conduct for UVic suppliers that support the schools’ commitment to sustainability. The Code of Conduct applies to all suppliers who provide goods or services to the university and includes provisions for UVic to take action or terminate contracts with suppliers whose practices do not meet the required standards. “We want to ensure that our suppliers follow fair labour practices, respect human rights, conduct business in a sustainable way that reduces environmental and social impacts, and hold themselves to a high standard of corporate behaviour,” said UVic Director of Purchasing Services Xavier Serrano. UVic (BC)

MB Christian colleges, universities on online learning, plans for fall

Four Christian colleges and universities in Manitoba – Booth University College, the Canadian Mennonite University, Providence University College and Theological Seminary, and Steinbach Bible College – described in the Winnipeg Free Press how they have responded to the pandemic with adjusted budgets and adjusted delivery methods; and discussed various scenarios for the fall. While some institutions have opted to move events such as convocation and fundraisers online, others have delayed major events. CMU has reportedly temporarily laid off about 20% of its staff. Thinking about the 2020-21 academic year, each of the schools stated that they hope it will be safe to return to in-person instruction, but they are also preparing for different scenarios. Winnipeg Free Press (MB)

McGill, Douglas receive funds to support students amid pandemic

McGill University and Douglas College have announced funding received to support students in need amid the pandemic. McGill has received over $650K from donors to support students in the last two weeks, adding to earlier funds of $250K drawn from the school’s operating budget and $125K drawn from the Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies Office. Meanwhile, Douglas has received $460K from the Ministry of Advanced Education, Douglas Student Union, and the school’s Foundation and Alumni relations. Executive Director of the Douglas College Foundation Leanne Poon says she plans to build the fund to help even more students in need. McGill | Douglas (QC)

Defending a PhD during a pandemic

“On April 1, 2020, […] I successfully defended my Ph.D. dissertation in Organizational Behaviour and Human Resources Management at the University of Toronto,” writes Hadiya Roderique. What makes the author’s defense exceptional, however, is that it occurred entirely online. Roderique describes both the normal aspects of the defense and the unique qualities, such as needing to use a password to avoid “Zoom bombing” and being only able to see her own face during the presentation. While Roderique notes that she was glad her defense could proceed online, she felt a “profound sense of loss” in not being able to be physically close to and celebrate with her loved ones following the accomplishment. “I didn’t realize, before COVID-19, how much those physical connections mean at times like this., […] how different it is to get a congratulations in person,” concludes Roderique. Maclean’s (National)

OCUFA calls on ON to halt performance-based funding model due to pandemic

The Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations is asking the Government of Ontario to halt its plan to move forward with the implementation of a performance-based funding model. In a letter to Minister of Colleges and Universities Ross Romano, OCUFA President Rahul Sapra requested the government delay the introduction of the new controversial funding framework and take that time to reconsider linking postsecondary funding to performance metrics. “The COVID-19 crisis will make it difficult, if not impossible, for Ontario’s postsecondary institutions to meet many of the targets identified by the government, including metrics measuring employment rates, graduation rates, economic impact, and research funding,” reads an OCUFA statement. “Ontario’s students and academic staff need stability during this uncertain period.” OCUFA (ON)

School raises money to help student finish education, pursue university after losing father

The University of Winnipeg Collegiate has launched a campaign to raise money to help Grade 11 student Jashanpreet Singh Toor complete his education after his father was murdered. The fundraising drive, run through the University of Winnipeg Foundation, aims to raise $10K to pay for Jashanpreet's Grade 12 tuition at the collegiate and help him start university. Jashanpreet hopes to study at the Asper School of Business at the University of Manitoba. Although it is rare for a university to set up a scholarship for one student, reports CBC, the school said it was particular hard hit by the tragedy. "I think that we're just moved to do that as administration and we just wanted to make sure that he was taken care of during this time," said Winnipeg Collegiate Dean Kevin Clace. CBC (MB)

Building, strengthening international partnerships for local change: Opinion

“Research holds the key to solutions to the current crisis – from disease modelling to vaccine development – and […] partnerships are a critical element,” writes Joanna Newman. Given the importance of research during the COVID-19 crisis, Newman posits that researchers need to continue to develop and imagine new ways of building and strengthening international partnerships so that local solutions can be implemented toward mitigating global challenges. “While we will need to find new ways of working together, in the short term and beyond,” concludes Newman, “we also have an opportunity – to reimagine internationalization, to strengthen existing partnerships, and to build new ones that have equity as a core principle.” Times Higher Education (International)