This white paper reviews the BCcampus Competency to Credential approach to flexible learning in trades training in British Columbia. First, it considers the broader notion of competency-based education and the development of the Competency to Credential concept in response to current education and training challenges. The paper then considers at a high level how the concept may also be applied to other competency-based education and training programs, such as in health care education. In particular, though, this paper describes how the Competency to Credential approach brings system stakeholders together in a collaborative and unified effort to improve trades training and education system-wide in British Columbia and shows how a broader application to other jurisdictions and trades sectors in Canada might occur.
To exemplify the Competency to Credential approach, the paper focuses on the first two phases of a pilot project targeting certification challengers within the Professional Cook trade in British Columbia.
"Alternative facts" have gotten quite a bad rap lately, which — while understandable — is a shame. Because virtually any argument worthy of the name involves competing sets of facts. That's why it's an argument, not a hug-fest. And to pretend otherwise is actually counterproductive, especially if we want our students to be able to engage in constructive arguments.
Take trial lawyers, for example. To exonerate their clients, defense attorneys often present alternative theories, based on alternative facts, most of which are actually facts. Perhaps the accused can prove he was never at the crime scene, even though his blood was found on the victim. In its deliberations, the jury must weigh these seemingly disparate facts — although what they may really be judging is which lawyer made the better argument. Much the same is true of political debates.
We have heard a lot of talk about MOOCs, or massive online open courses, over the last couple of years. On the plus side, MOOCs often draw enormous enrollments and are easy to sign up for and use; all you need, it seems, is an Internet connection and an interest to learn.
On the down side, they have significant attrition rates – about 90 percent of those enrolled never complete a course – and, according to their most alarmist critics, these courses may even threaten the jobs of college professors nationwide.
When this semester started, I spent the first two weeks tracking down students — via email and other methods — so that I could invite them to use the digital tools I’ve assigned for my online survey course on U.S. history. I could have just sent emails to their university accounts but, in my experience, most students hardly ever check their campus email. Getting the address that they do check was the first step in trying to bring my course to where students live their already-busy digital lives.
Introducing education into their digital lives sometimes requires teaching students how to use new web tools. For example, I’ve found a messaging app called Slack to be much more effective than any existing learningmanagement system discussion board. A key reason why: It has a cell phone app that notifies users of messages at the very top of their screens. I certainly don’t expect students to respond to class messages instantly, but those notifications serve as a constant reminder: You are part of an online class, and that class requires your eventual participation.
What does it actually take to teach a college class nowadays in our age of distraction?
For some faculty, the answer is technology — PowerPoints, laptops, visual aids. But technology is itself a distraction. And what if you are the kind of teacher who likes chalk and blackboards, discussions around a table, and hard-copy texts and handouts. How do you get, and keep, their attention?
Entering the room to the obligatory unsettledness at the beginning of every class period, you wonder: How long would it take them to settle down if you didn't say anything?
The upcoming (Fall 2014) undergraduate student referendum on the desirability of a Fall Break and recent adoption of a Fall Break on a three-year trial period by Wilfrid Laurier University have independently re-ignited the discussion at the University of Waterloo. Fourteen Ontario universities currently have a Fall Break, varying from 2-5 days in length. UW is among a small
number of institutions within Ontario who do not currently have one.
The primary challenge to arranging a Fall Break is finding sufficient space to schedule: 60 teaching days, a minimum of 2 pre-exam study days, and a minimum of 12 exam days while finishing by December 22. This challenge seems relatively easy to accomplish most years but is complicated by the occasional late Labour Day holiday.
Any college leader considering a curriculum change for his or her institution has a lot of questions to ask and answer. First, what are the specific goals? To increase graduation rates? To increase particular knowledge in certain majors? And what changes in the curriculum would achieve those goals? We’ve gone through multiple curriculum reforms at the City University of New York over the past 15 years, and it’s never an easy process. Some faculty members, as well as administrators, can be sceptical and resistant to change, and resources to carry out the reforms are hard to obtain. One of the most important things we have learned during that time is that relevant, clear data can help you make better decisions about curriculum reform. That means you need to put a premium on data — both collecting it and analyzing it.
Traditional pedagogy is premised on a belief that older generations teach younger generations how to learn. At this point in history, however, through their ubiquitous exposure to media, technology, and communication, younger generations understand contemporary forms of communication better and more tacitly than older generations. Yet schooling lags behind advances in communication and technologies, clinging to a concept that older generations still impart knowledge to prepare younger generations for the future. Jake Telluci (2007), a participant in our research study on marketplace production, articulated this discrepancy well, when he said, “It’s about when technology is in the hands of people, they will often just do things with it.” In this chapter, I argue that unveiling new media and digital technologies production practices exposes a logic and language that better serve as a contemporary model of learning. The process of adopting new media is iterative and cyclical in that meaning-makers pick up new media production practices, remix them, and make them their own. Forging a twenty-first century identity entails reappropriating practices and texts consumed on a daily basis.
This essay is primarily analytic and historical with respect to the conceptualizations that should guide the contextualization of assessment in education.
Universities must monitor the impact on student stress and staff workload as they shift away from “high-stakes” exams and towards using technology to conduct “continuous” assessment, a report says.
A paper published by Jisc, UK higher education’s main technology body, says digital tools offer “a host of opportunities for students to capture and reflect on evidence of their learning, to use and share formative feedback and to record progress”, adding that it “may be more effective to assess learners continually throughout their course instead of through a final exam”.
Instructors of large classes must contend with numerous challenges, among them low student motivation. Research in evolutionary biology, echoed by work in other disciplines, suggests that aspects of the classroom incentive structure – such as grades, extra credit, and instructor and peer acknowledgment – may shape motivations to engage in studies and to collaborate with peers. Specifically, the way that incentives are distributed in relative quantity (the slope of competition; the proportion of benefits earned through performance relative to peers) and space (the scale of competition; the proportion of peers with whom one is competing) may affect strategies to cooperate or to compete with others.
We hypothesized that students would cooperate with one another more when competition was “global” (i.e., dispersed over the entire population of Introductory Psychology students) than when it was “local” (i.e., concentrated amongst a smaller group of students). We further hypothesized that students would be more motivated when competition was “steep” (i.e., benefits were conditional on relative rather than absolute performance) than when it was “shallow” (i.e., benefits were conditional on absolute rather than relative performance). Moreover, these two variables were expected to interact: cooperation among students was hypothesized to be greatest when competition was both global and steep and weakest when competition was both local and steep.
Here, we designed an experimental test of these hypotheses in a very large, university-level class. Over four semesters, students were randomly assigned, via their tutorial groups, to various competition conditions: global (between-tutorial) competition, local (within-tutorial) competition and asocial (individual) competition. Notably, the global and local competition conditions implied steeper competition than did the asocial competition condition. Within each semester, students were
rotated through each condition, so that all students experienced all conditions over distinct testing phases. Students competed over weekly tests for “bonus” credit that could be applied to reweight the course final exam in their favour. We measured their test performance (i.e., scores on the weekly tests) as well as their evaluations of the learning environment (e.g.,
their reliance on peers and their sense of community in the course).
Cooperative learning is an example of how theory validated by research may be applied to instructional practice. The major theoretical base for cooperative learning is social interdependence theory. It provides clear definitions of cooperative, competitive, and individualistic learning. Hundreds of research studies have validated its basic propositions and demonstrated that cooperative learning (compared with competitive and individualistic learning) increases students’ efforts to achieve, encourages positive relationships with classmates and faculty, and improves psychological health and well being. Operational procedures have been derived from the validated theory to implement cooperative learning in university classes, including those needed to implement formal cooperative learning, informal cooperative learning, and cooperative base groups.
So much of what determines the overall success or failure of a course takes place well in advance of the first day of class. It’s the thoughtful contemplation of your vision for the course— from what you want your students to learn, to selecting the instructional activities, assign-ments, and materials that will fuel that learning, to determining how you will measure learning outcomes.
I have been doing some reading and thinking about hard courses. Courses need to be challenging, but when they become too hard, students stop trying and little learning results. So how do we find that sweet spot between hard and not too hard? More importantly, how do we create that sweet spot in our own courses through the decisions we make about content, assignments, and exams?
Recruiting and hiring are duties that face almost all academic leaders, and they take a large bite out of their time and resources. It makes sense, then, to make every attempt to retain these new professionals. At the 2016 Leadership in Higher Education Conference, Kenneth Alford led a preconference workshop about the development and use of a mentoring program
to help develop and retain new faculty.
Appreciative Inquiry (AI) is a way of helping organizations discover their strengths so they can create an alignment of those strengths, making their weaknesses and problems irrelevant. Since the mid-1980s, thousands of organizations in more
than 100 countries – corporations, businesses, nonprofits, churches, educational and governmental organizations – have used this strengths-based approach to organizational or institutional change and development.
David Cooperrider, the originator of a relatively new approach to organizational or institutional change called Appreciative Inquiry, tells the story of a conversation he had with the father of modern management, Peter Drucker, before his recent death. He asked Drucker, then 93, to distill the essence of what he knew about leadership. Drucker told Cooperrider, “The task of leadership is to create an alignment of strengths, making our weaknesses irrelevant.” Appreciative Inquiry (AI) is a way of helping organizations discover their strengths so they can create an alignment of those strengths, making their weaknesses and problems irrelevant. Since the mid-1980s, thousands of organizations in more than 100 countries – corporations, businesses, nonprofits, churches, educational and governmental organizations – have used this strengths-based approach to
organizational or institutional change and development.
When it comes to skills development, sometimes you have to make advantage before you can take advantage.
I’m sitting at my desk in the Research Institute at SickKids, putting the finishing touches on our skills and career development curriculum for the upcoming academic year. Our office has an open-door policy, so one of the institute’s PhD students pops in to talk about internships. They’re interested in participating in our administrative internship program, which places grad students and postdocs in departments like grant development, knowledge translation and tech transfer. What they really want though is to work in the project management unit. They’re seriously interested in moving into a project management role after they graduate, but they want to get some practical experience first to find out if they really enjoy the work and to build their network.
Most universities still offer Learning Management Systems (LMS) as the ‘one size fits all’ technology solution for all teachers across all disciplines. Using LMS across diverse campuses has resulted in efficiencies-of-scale for administrators, however LMS integration into teacher practices is minimal (e.g., Conole & Fill, 2005) and teachers’ creative space can be limited for discipline-based innovation. Together, these realities indicate that there are significant barriers to the effective use of LMSs, especially for teaching and learning purposes.
To overcome such barriers, the complex and less visible internal space of teacher beliefs must be understood in relation to teachers’ pedagogical contexts and the affordances they can identify. This paper reports on the findings of six qualitative case studies of teachers at different stages of LMS integration and the extent to which teachers reconciled their beliefs. The results highlight the need for technology environments that better accommodate teacher diversity.
Keywords: teacher beliefs, teacher diversity, affordances, LMS, university teacher education
Workforce development issues have come to the forefront of national discussions as the country continues its recovery from the Great Recession. In this shifting economy, one way that job seekers, students and workers may improve their opportunities is by earning credentials. Colleges, states and the federal government have traditionally tracked the attainment of bachelor’s and associate’s degrees, but recent research suggests that there are other types of credentials that matter to employers. One-quarter of adults in the United States had a non-degree credential in fall 2012, and full-time workers with these credentials have higher median earnings than those without, according to a report released in January 2014 by the U.S. Census Bureau.1 The report shows that non-degree credentials are an important part of the labor market.