Top Ten

October 22, 2020

Brock to move satellite campus to Burlington

Brock University and the City of Burlington have signed a MOU that will see the university’s satellite campus move from its current location in Hamilton. The new campus will serve students, faculty, and staff more effectively through its new location, which is accessible by the commuter rail system and the highway. “Over the decades, Brock has developed a relationship with the Hamilton-Burlington-Oakville communities, and we have seen strong growth in student enrolment from across these communities,” said Brock President Gervan Fearon, “We are focused on contributing to community growth and vitality.” Brock Brock University | CBC (ON)

UAlberta launches free course on science literacy

The University of Alberta has launched a new course to help learners interpret scientific information and think critically about the difference between “sound scientific studies and pseudoscience”. The free online course will host guest lecturers, while allowing participants to learn at their own pace. “The purpose of this course is to teach people about the process of science and how it is used to acquire knowledge,” said course host Claire Scavuzzo, a researcher in UAlberta’s Department of Psychology. “By the end of the course, learners will be able to understand and use scientific evidence to challenge claims based on misinformation, and engage the process of science to ask questions to build their knowledge.” UAlberta (AB)

Dal, NSCAD partner on new certificate program

Dalhousie University’s Executive Education and NSCAD have created a new program in Creativity, Innovation and the Entrepreneurial Mindset. The certificate is aimed at working professionals and is offered online as three separate courses, each four weeks in length. Instructors from both universities will teach in the program: NSCAD professors will contribute knowledge in art and design, while Dalhousie instructors will bring management and business development expertise to the courses. “It’s a first-of-its-kind program, and a transformational offering that combines two schools of thought into one program that strengthens both the professional skills and creative processes for those enrolled,” said Dalhousie Executive Education Acting Director, Moragh MacAulay. Dalhousie (NS)

ACAC searching for ways to offer some winter sport competition

The Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) is optimistic about providing student athletes with some competition in the winter term. Following a special general meeting, Terry Ballard, manager of sport and wellness for the Medicine Hat College Rattlers said that “we’re going to exhaust every avenue we can and hopefully we can give the student-athletes an experience that will at least be somewhat similar to normal in winter. But again, there’s still a lot that has to work right and work in our favour.” The province released new guidelines for junior collegiate and university leagues, which limit league cohorts to up to 150 people, recommend COVID testing for all participants, and present options for shuffling cohorts to allow for full conference play. The ACAC has also made the decision to withdraw from Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association national championships in 2021. Medicine Hat News (AB)

A "tipping point" for online learning

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in many postsecondary instructors teaching online, with new developments arising from the switch to online learning. An article released by Contact North discusses how factors such as global unemployment and recessionary forces, debt, and expansion of global credentials might shape institutions, and the Canada-specific barriers such as inaccessibility of broadband internet. The article also argues that “the key question for colleges and universities will not be the balance of online versus face-to-face or other teaching methods, but survival.” This is the real tipping point for institutions, as not all institutions will be able to return to their previous operations. The article says that “the key will be the attitude and responsiveness of students, faculty and institutions to adapt and change.” Contact North (National)

UOttawa professor’s use of racial slur brings up freedom of expression debate

34 University of Ottawa professors have signed a letter supporting a part-time UOttawa instructor who used a racial slur as an example of a word that a community has reclaimed. The letter said that “certain lectures, certain concepts, certain words will hurt some susceptibilities,” but that universities are places where these topics can be freely discussed. CBC reports that UOttawa’s student union finds the professors’ stance “appalling,” explaining that “they’ve found their voice in defending the use of a racial slur while discounting the vast majority of uOttawa’s Black community’s disagreement.” UOttawa students are requesting the implementation of a campus-wide zero-tolerance policy on the use of the word. Jacques Frémont, UOttawa’s President and Vice-Chancellor, responded to student concerns saying that “the right to freedom of expression and the right to dignity are not contradictory principles, but complementary.” Ottawa Citizen | CBC | UOttawa (ON)

MHC to play key role in planning project

Medicine Hat College has partnered with the City of Medicine Hat and the local Chamber of Commerce to create the Regional Vitality Planning Project Collaboration. MHC will play a key role in the collaboration, which will focus on “inspiring action and collective work on themes such as people, culture, sustainability, health, education, agriculture, innovation, economy and wellness.” This collaboration builds on MHC’s plan to strengthen regional vitality. “We want to better support the community and fill its needs to the best of our ability,” said MHC president Kevin Shufflebotham. Medicine Hat News (AB)

McGill launches Centre for Media, Technology and Democracy

McGill University’s Max Bell School of Public Policy has announced the launch of a new Centre for Media, Technology and Democracy. The centre will focus on three core research streams: technology governance, information ecosystems, and media and journalism. Projects in development include studies on technology’s impact on human behaviour, technology-informed policy, international platform governance, issues around surveillance technology, children and technology, and facial recognition. “The benefits that technology brings to our world are undeniable, but we are now at a critical point where we need to make changes in the way we govern our media and tech infrastructure,” said Taylor Owen, director of the centre. McGill (QC)

Adapting instruction to avoid a “lost year”: Opinion

“Will this end up being a lost year for students educationally?” writes Goldie Blumenstyk. The author touches on some of the major challenges and missed opportunities that have faced instructors and students this academic year, before highlighting some of the positive aspects. Blumenstyk writes that instructors have become innovative with their teaching, and that students have benefitted from the new learning methods. The article describes increased engagement as students take a more active role in their learning and connect more readily with professors through online office hours. Blumenstyk also notes an increase in collaboration between postsecondary institutions. However, in order for online learning to become “mainstream” after COVID-19, the article suggests that institutions still have work to do to improve the experience for both teachers and students. The Chronicle of Higher Ed (International)

StFX launches Respectful Communities resource

St Francis Xavier University is launching a Respectful Communities resource for students in recognition of its new Sexual Violence Policy. StFX says that this one-hour module will ensure that students know how to respectfully interact with others before they start studying at StFX. The course will cover topics including sexualized violence, consent, and coercion. It will also cover StFX policies, reporting procedures, and student resources and supports. “We are working to ensure that everyone within our campus community has access to information, education and supports to contribute to a safe, healthy and respectful community,” said Elizabeth Yeo, Project Lead and StFX Vice President Students. StFX (NS)