Top Ten

May 7, 2020

AB colleges support student learning through technology, online resources

Alberta’s Comprehensive Community Colleges have employed a variety of tools and tactics to meet educational outcomes and the continued delivery of student services. Portage College, NorQuest College, and Northern Lakes College have provided technological equipment to students in need to ensure the continuation of their educational programs. Others, such as Grande Prairie Regional College, Lethbridge College, and Lakeland College, have provided students with online resources to allow students to complete hands-on learning activities at home and online. “Despite never-experienced-before circumstances, Alberta’s CCCs are ensuring they remain active and relevant to meet the needs of learners and the provincial economy,” reads a Medicine Hat College statement. MHC (AB)

New parameters set for CESB, Indigenous students confused over eligibility

The Government of Canada has adopted two motions related to the delivery of the CESB: Specifically, CESB applicants must “attest to the fact that they are seeking work” in order to be eligible for the $1,250 monthly benefit offered from May through August and students caring for dependents will receive a $250 per month increase in funding. CBC reports that the new parameters respond to the concerns that the benefit would disincentivize students from seeking employment. Meanwhile, Indigenous students are still awaiting information regarding whether they are eligible for the CESB. CBC (1) | CBC (2) (National)

HEC Montréal, ENAP partner to offer specialized graduate diploma in management

HEC Montréal and the École nationale d’administration publique (ENAP) have partnered to create a specialized graduate diploma in management focused on the private and public sectors. Beginning in Fall 2020, the diploma will be offered in French and is designed to increase professionals’ knowledge of management issues at both private firms and public organizations. “This new DES combines the respective strengths of our two institutions, making it wonderfully adapted to today’s world,” said HEC Montréal Director Federico Pasin. “Our two schools had already laid the groundwork for collaboration, and I am delighted to see us building on these foundations.” HEC Montréal (QC)

Institutions provide international students with financial support

International students who are ineligible for several government assistance programs are turning to institutional and community-based initiatives that provide financial support. The University of Prince Edward Island and Holland College, for example, have created various funding programs which are garnering significant interest from international students. "We want to support as many students as possible, but we look at who needs the financial assistance the most,” said UPEI director of international student services office Jerry Wang. A volunteer-based advocacy group called Black, Indigenous, People of Colour United for Strength Home Relationship has also created a fundraiser for international students that do not qualify for CERB or CESB. CBC (National)

York responds to Access Copyright litigation ruling

York University has released a statement with regard to the Federal Court of Appeal’s decision with respect to the school’s appeal in the Access Copyright litigation case. York notes that they are pleased that the court dismissed Access Copyright’s claim against the school. However, the university stated that they are “disappointed that the Court dismissed our appeal on the Fair Dealing Guidelines” and are reflecting on the court’s reasons. “Fair dealing remains a crucial users’ right in the educational sphere [and] we believe students should not be required to pay, directly or indirectly, for material that falls within the fair dealing exception,” concludes the release. York (ON)

UWinnipeg launches augmented mentorship program, webinar series for international students

The University of Winnipeg has augmented their Mentor Program for international students to help overseas students have an authentic university experience while taking online courses. The program pairs student volunteers with international students currently studying in their home countries to share resources regarding life at the school, as well as more general resources about the city and community. In addition to the mentor program, UWinnipeg is hosting academic advising and immigration webinars twice a week — one for international students in Winnipeg and one for international students who have yet to arrive. UWinnipeg (MB)

Institutions, CEWIL implement initiatives to provide, help students find jobs

Universities and higher education organizations continue to support students through the creation of new employment opportunities. The national accrediting body, Co-operative Education and Work Integrated Learning Canada (CEWIL), has been working with the government to advocate for modifications to the requirements to salvage employment opportunities for students. At the University of Windsor, the Co-operative Education & Workplace Partnerships team is helping students find placements that will allow them to apply their classroom learning in a professional environment. Meanwhile, at Thompson Rivers University, nearly two dozen students have been awarded Undergraduate Research Experience Award Project scholarship that will allow them to conduct funded independent research projects over the summer. UWindsor | TRU (National)

Colleges launch tuition giveaways, new emergency funds for students

Several colleges across the country have continued to launch and bolster student supports to help those in need. Okanagan College has launched virtual info sessions, online summer information sessions, and a $5K tuition giveaway in order to support prospective students who are facing uncertainties about the Fall semester. To support current students, the College of the North Atlantic has partnered with TD Meloche Monnex to launch a COVID-19 Student Relief fund, which builds on the college’s existing Student Emergency Fund; and Confederation College and Yukon College’s YukonU Foundation launched new donation campaigns. Okanagan | Confederation | Yukon | CNA (National)

Creating meaningful, humane student learning experiences: Opinion

Higher education institutions and instructors, according to the TPHE Collective, need to reconsider how remote instruction serves the central purpose of education: learning. In this piece, the TPHE Collective—a group of six faculty from a range of disciplines—argues that a focus on the mechanics of online learning has taken away from efforts to create meaningful learning experiences for students. The authors thus recommend that institutions and instructors deemphasize normative teaching practices, such as consistent assignments and evaluation schemas, and instead embrace pedagogical strategies that meet students where they are at, while challenging them to learn. “The way forward is learning, and learning deserves our focus,” conclude the authors. Inside Higher Ed (International)

Man charged with mischief after defacement of USask Pride sidewalk mural

A Saskatoon man has been charged with mischief after defacing the Pride sidewalk mural at the University of Saskatchewan. USask Student’s Union vice-president of student affairs Jory McKay said that it appeared that someone had begun to paint a phrase on the mural, but were unable to complete their sentence. It has since been painted over. McKay states that the vandalism incident demonstrated how the USask community pulls together when faced with adversity. "It's something that I'm forever grateful for, the support we actually get for our community whenever these kinds of incidents happen," he said. CBC (SK)