Top Ten

January 15, 2021

Scotiabank announces $500M ScotiaRISE program

Scotiabank has announced the creation of the ScotiaRISE program, which will help those considered disadvantaged to pursue postsecondary education and to advance in their careers. Scotiabank will invest $500M over ten years in the initiative, which will include supporting people from under-represented groups through funding and partnerships. Additionally, it will work with charities, non-profits, and community initiatives to provide students and new graduates with tools for financial success. “The importance of being resilient has been doubled and... it felt especially important to be investing in education, inclusion and employment for young people and for newcomers from marginalized groups,” said Dan Rees, Group Head, Canadian Banking at Scotiabank. “Now is the time to emphasize optimism and hope and inclusion.” Castanet | (National)

Lakeland launches Bachelor of Agricultural Technology Program

Lakeland College has announced the launch of a post-credential Bachelor of Agricultural Technology Program at its Vermilion campus. The two-year program will train students in a variety of areas, including troubleshooting hardware and software used in the industry and using agricultural technology for data collection and analysis. “Graduates of the program will bring unique skill sets into the workforce by blending both agriculture production and agricultural technology expertise,” said Josie Van Lent, Lakeland’s dean of the School of Agriculture Technology and Applied Research. “Industry feedback indicated there is a shortage of agricultural professionals who can interface between the two disciplines – our degree program will fill that gap.” The college states that the program is the first Bachelor of Agricultural Technology in Canada. Lakeland (AB)

Bell launches Bell Let’s Talk Post-Secondary Fund

Bell has announced the launch of the Bell Let’s Talk Post-Secondary Fund. The $2.5M fund will provide grants to support postsecondary institutions in implementing the National Standard of Canada for Mental Health and Well-Being for Post-Secondary Students. It will also provide new student mental health programs with additional funding and support postsecondary institutions in holding virtual Bell Let’s Talk Campus Campaign events. “The Post-Secondary Fund means Canadian colleges and universities can immediately start the process of implementing the important mental health recommendations outlined in the Standard,” said Jennifer Hamilton, Executive Director of the Canadian Association of College and University Student Services (CACUSS). “Bell’s leadership in advancing student mental health has had a powerful effect on campuses across the country.” NewsWire (National)

NS invests $25M in postsecondary institutions to mitigate the financial impact of COVID-19

Nova Scotia is investing $25M in postsecondary institutions to help them address the lost revenue and increase in costs brought on by COVID-19. Each institution’s portion of the investment is based on its COVID-19 related expenditures. “Since the beginning of the pandemic, universities across Nova Scotia have been working hard to ensure students can continue to learn in safe and positive ways,” said Bill Lahey, chair of the Council of Nova Scotia University Presidents. “These changes have presented unexpected financial costs and necessary investments, and this funding will help universities address the impact of those.” NS (NS)

UAlberta Native Studies introduces two new courses

The University of Alberta’s Faculty of Native Studies has introduced two courses: Countering Stereotypes of Indigenous Peoples and Indigenous Peoples and Technoscience. Both courses are fully online and asynchronous, have no prerequisites, and are available to students from all faculties. Countering Stereotypes of Indigenous Peoples will focus on examining stereotypes, bias, and assumptions about Indigenous people in Canada, with the aim of giving students the tools for responding to racism. Indigenous Peoples and Technoscience will examine Indigenous scientific research and collaborations with non-Indigenous projects, while introducing students to Indigenous perspectives on studying science. The Gateway Online (AB)

SFU, Trend Micro partner to train students in cloud security

Simon Fraser University has partnered with Trend Micro to train students in cybersecurity. The partnership will allow students to develop skills in cloud security, understand industry insights, and connect with networking opportunities while they are studying. “As we know, the skills demand for our industry has really grown because of the implications of COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mohammad Tayebi, Cybersecurity Researcher and Program Instructor at SFU. “We’re really pleased to have an expert partner like Trend Micro to help make the transition from school to work seamless for our students as they gain the skills and experiences relevant to cybersecurity right now.” Trend Micro (BC)

Tips for continuing to teach online in the new semester: Opinion

Instructors who are continuing to teach online this semester may find the experience to be draining and time-consuming, writes Flower Darby, but they can use strategies to ensure work/life balance and manage their online classes. The author offers eight tips that instructors can use to avoid burnout while ensuring student needs are met. These tips include teaching differently by making use of online environment features such as chat boxes and guided notes documents, finding a balance of synchronous and asynchronous class time, streamlining grading and communication through the use of technology, and building in Zoom break weeks. “[W]ith little relief in sight, it’s essential to determine what you can do in your own courses to protect your well-being while also supporting your students,” writes Darby. The Chronicle of Higher Ed (International)

Postsecondary students debate positives, negatives of continuing online education

Postsecondary students in Ontario are debating whether to pursue postsecondary education in Fall 2021 if online education continues. The Times Colonist explains that some students feel that they will not be able to make the most out of their postsecondary experiences. “My third year was supposed to be the most hands-on experience time I would get in my program, and that was a huge reason I came to this school and did this program,” said Queen’s University student Josephine DiMaurizio. The pandemic has also encouraged some who lost employment to pursue education. Rajat Ram, who had worked in the hospitality industry prior to the pandemic, explains that his job loss prompted him to pursue a course at George Brown College. Times Colonist (National)

Examining open spaces and learning environments: Harrison

Michelle Harrison, senior instructional designer at Thompson Rivers University, shares some of her initial thoughts and findings from the research she conducted as a BCcampus Open Education Advocacy and Research Fellow. Harrison discusses the nature of open pedagogy and the questions this raises for designing learning spaces. The report explains that while students benefitted from the flexibility and connectedness of open practice, they also found it challenging to work within and navigate the open space. Harrison highlights some of the early findings of her research and outlines the opportunities to further examine learning spaces. BCcampus (BC)

UWindsor, Laurentian, Dal find ways to limit spread of COVID-19

The University of Windsor, Laurentian University, and Dalhousie University are finding ways to limit the spread of COVID-19. UWindsor and Laurentian are offering COVID-19 testing on campus to students who are asymptomatic. Eligible UWindsor students must book a test online and results will be given within five days. Laurentian is providing asymptomatic students with rapid COVID-19 testing on campus, enabling students to receive results within 15 minutes. A team from Dal is working on a wastewater surveillance program that will allow communities to be notified and could support public health efforts when COVID-19 is detected. UWindsor | CBC | Dal (ON | NS)