Top Ten

October 16, 2020

RRC, MB partner to provide free COVID-19 nasal swab micro-credential

Red River College has partnered with the Province of Manitoba to provide free COVID-19 nasal swab micro-credentials to students in select programs. RRC’s School of Continuing Education will provide the course, which students can complete in as little as five hours through a blended delivery model. Students who have completed the course will be added to a list of people who can perform nasal swabs at testing sites across Manitoba. RRC will begin by training up to 30 students a week, and expand capacity as necessary. “We are proud to offer this new micro-credential that will prepare our front line and students from a variety of health-care programs to help reduce the spread of the virus,” said RRC’s president Fred Meier. MB | Global News (MB )

McGill receives $15M gift for School of Environment

McGill University’s School of Environment has received $15M from alumnus Marc Bieler for the advancement of environmental research and scholarship. The funding will focus on initiatives and projects related to students and academic programming, interdisciplinary research, and engagement and experiential learning. “Environmental sustainability is one of the great challenges of our time, and McGill’s students, researchers and administrators are committed to playing a leading role in addressing this challenge from a variety of approaches,” said Suzanne Fortier, Principal of McGill. “With this transformative gift, the Bieler School of Environment will be well positioned to translate new knowledge into solutions that will have a real and lasting impact on our world for generations to come.” McGill | Montreal Gazette (QC)

Students need safe opportunities to socialize rather than partying bans: Opinion

Banning university students from partying likely will not change behaviour, says a CBC article. Students instead need real and safe alternatives, as bans or fines are likely to be ignored. Leo Erlikhman, a Queen’s University research assistant, says that one possible safer option could be encouraging students hosting parties to keep parties small, keep track of who attends them, and have hand sanitizer available for guests. Additionally, students can ask friends to download the COVID-19 Alert app. “There are billions of years of evolutionary biology that leads us to conclude that young people will find ways to socialize,” said David Sweanor, a University of Ottawa adjunct law professor. “Young people will do risky things, and what we need to do is channel that risk.” CBC (National)

UQAM, TV5 to research content consumption behaviour world-wide

Université du Québec à Montréal, TV5 Québec Canada, and TV5MONDE have partnered to allow for the sharing and analysis of data from one of TV5’s newest French-language platforms. The agreement means that researchers from UQAM will be able to study consumption habits of Francophone content around the world. Representatives from the organization say it will improve understanding of the global digital audience and increase the discoverability of French-language content. The partnership also creates the opportunity for a sharing of best-practices between the two organizations. UQAM (QC)

York, cultural centre offer free business certificate for Black community

York University’s Schulich School of Business and A Different Booklist Cultural Centre have partnered to create a free certificate program for Toronto’s Black community. The eight-week introduction to business webinar introduces students to marketing, operations management, and human resources, and includes Black guest speakers. The course was created to address some of the common barriers preventing Black people from entering the Schulich School of Business. “We hope that it will be one of several initiatives over a sustained period of time in terms of engagement with the Black community with the intent of having that community grow in strength, numbers [and] representation at the Schulich School of Business,” said Ashwin Joshi, director of York’s MBA program. The Star (ON)

Olds launches smart farm tech start-ups incubator

Olds College will be using $200K from the Alberta government, and support from the federal government and partners from Calgary and California, to create The Olds College Smart Farm agricultural tech start-ups incubator. The smart farm will enable start-ups in Olds and in other places to develop technology that will support the agricultural sector through providing a space for them to do research and develop their technology. “The Olds College Smart Farm is focused on building and supporting a broad-based agriculture innovation ecosystem that connects researchers, technology companies, producers, manufacturers, retailers and learners to accelerate the development and adoption of technology and practice, and enhance the economic impact of Canada’s agriculture sector,” said Olds president Stuart Cullum. Olds | Mountain View Today (AB)

Georgian to offer free construction boot camps

Georgian College will be offering free boot camps that will introduce people to skills in the construction industry. Open to anyone, participants can choose from a variety of boot camps including carpentry, plumbing, electrical, roof and wall framing, and passive solar greenhouse builds. Students will have access to Georgian’s state-of-the-art shop while learning about the skilled trades. “A lot of our past boot camp participants had never been in a shop before, or had limited experience, but were interested in learning a new skill and exploring a new career path or hobby,” said James Fielding, Georgian’s Operations Manager. My Muskoka Now (ON)

Students benefit from assignments that give them screen time breaks: Opinion

Students benefit from having assignments that allow them to take breaks from screen time now that their courses are mostly online, writes Beckie Supiano. The author describes how spending time videoconferencing can be exhausting and can lead to students’ attention being difficult to capture. The article describes some of the ways instructors who are teaching online courses engage their students without the use of technology. Some have students complete their assignments through writing exercises, interview assignments that have students physically connect with another person, and technology-free outdoor walks. Another technique is to encourage students to use paper notebooks for their notes to help them spread out their work. Chronicle of Higher Ed (International)

UCalgary expects job losses in face of 2021 provincial budget cuts

The University of Calgary anticipates more provincial budget cuts in 2021, and CBC says that job cuts will be inevitable. UCalgary anticipates more layoffs next year, but is making plans to minimize these upcoming job losses. “We’re looking at things like retirement schemes, we’re looking at things like if somebody leaves university or retires about not replacing that person,” said UCalgary’s president Ed McCauley. McCauley says that an example of one area they may make more efficient is student counselling services; small faculties may be combined so that students get the counselling they need, but it is done more efficiently. UCalgary has also outlined a Growth Through Focus plan, which focuses on creating alternative revenue and increasing student enrollment. CBC (AB)

SMU contract with Confucius Institute set to expire

Saint Mary’s University’s contract to host the Confucius Institute, which promotes Chinese language and culture, is set to expire in December. SMU is in the process of deciding whether to renew the contract. The article explains that the Confucius Institute has been critiqued as promoting a one-dimensional view of China while ignoring human rights violations. Other institutions and school boards in Canada have cut ties with the institute. New Brunswick Education Minister Dominic Cardy said that students have cited issues around not being allowed to discuss certain topics in the classroom. However, Eric Henry, SMU’s Canadian co-director of the Confucius Institute said, “we haven’t had issue with politics in the classroom.” The Chronicle Herald (NS)