Many higher education institutions use student satisfaction surveys given at the end of a course to measure course and instructor quality. But is that really a true measure of quality? All things being equal, an instructor who teaches a rigorous course will likely score much lower than an instructor whose course is a little less demanding. Then there’s the whole timing of the satisfaction surveys. For the most part, students are simply glad the course is over (even if they liked it) and put little thought or time into completing the survey. Unless of course they know they failed, in which case you will get a detailed assessment of how you are boring, inflexible, out of touch, or otherwise unfit to teach.
No wonder surveys get such a bad rap. If end-of-course evaluations are the only surveys you use, there’s a lot more you can, and should, be doing. Done correctly, surveys can deliver tremendous insight into what’s working, what’s not, and why. This special report features 10articles from Online Classroom, including a three-part and a five-part series that provides stepby-
step guidance on how to use surveys and evaluations to improve online courses, programs, and instruction. You’ll learn when to use surveys, how to design effective survey questions, why it’s important to ensure anonymity, and the advantages and disadvantages of Web-based surveys.
Articles in Online Course Quality Assurance: Using Evaluations and Surveys to Improve Online Teaching and Learning include:
• Online Teaching Fundamentals: What to Evaluate, parts 1-3
• Course and Instructor Evaluation: If It’s So Good, Why Does It Feel So Bad?
• Getting Evaluation Data through Surveys: What to Consider before Getting Started
• Using Surveys to Improve Courses, Programs, and Instruction, parts 1-5
If you’re dedicated to continuous improvement, this special report is loaded with practical advice that will help you create more effective surveys before, during, and after your course ends.
Over the past decade or so, the bachelor’s degree has undergone major changes in much of the world. The most important set of changes was brought on by the adoption, across Europe,
of the Bologna Process. This led not only to the introduction of bachelor’s degrees in countries where no such qualification had previously existed, but also to a pan-continental harmonization (more or less) of the length of the degree, at three years. More recently, a number of universities in the United States – where a four-year degree has been sacrosanct for decades – have started experimenting with shorter degrees. At the same time that systems have been altering the length of degrees, there has also been a trend for systems in Europe and elsewhere – including Ontario and other parts of Canada – to open up degree provision to non-university Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). This has broken the centuries-long monopoly of
universities over the provision of granting degrees. These two major experiments in changing times and changing places are the subject of this report, which was undertaken by Higher Education Strategy Associates for the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO).
Our approach to this project is not simply to look at global trends in the development of the bachelor’s degree and to collect the views of key Ontario stakeholders regarding these developments. For purposes of organizing material on a very complicated topic, we have chosen to look at the material within two main categories. In Chapter 1, entitled “Changing Times,” we look at how the lengths of bachelor’s degrees have been changing, while in Chapter 2, entitled “Changing Places,” we deal with the provision of higher education in non-university settings. Each chapter begins with an in-depth description of global trends in the area (with a particular focus on recent developments within Canada). These global discussions are then augmented by adding data about the views of two key sets of Ontario stakeholders. In order to understand the views of students, we conducted a survey of over 850 Ontario students in university bachelor’s degree programs (who were members of our student research panel1)about degree lengths and loci. Relevant results from this survey are included in both chapters, and the methodology behind the survey is included as Appendix A. We also solicited the views of key stakeholders concerning the lessons Ontario can learn from global changes – via a multistakeholder seminar held in Toronto on March 21, 2011. A list of attendees is included in this report as Appendix C, and a summary of their discussion can be found in each of the two chapters in this report.
The primary objectives of this paper were to determine whether there are significant gaps in Ontario’s postsecondary education system with respect to education and research activities, with particular attention to activities connoted by the term “polytechnic”, and if so, to consider how to address such gaps. In response to the first part of our task, we identified three major gaps in Ontario’s postsecondary education system: a free standing, degree-granting, primarily teaching-oriented institution that concentrates on undergraduate education; an open university that would expand accessibility and enable Learners to combine credits from different institutions and different types of learning experiences; and effective pathways for students who start their postsecondary education in a college to attain a baccalaureate degree and be able, if they are so
inclined, to continue on to graduate study.
We did not find compelling evidence that there is a shortage of opportunity for polytechnic education in
Ontario. Presently students are able to draw upon Ryerson University and the University of Ontario Institute of
Technology (UOIT), a modest but growing number of joint university-college programs, and baccalaureate and diploma programs of the colleges. In addition, many students create a polytechnic experience for themselves through transfer from a university to a college or from a college to a university, though more needs to be done to improve opportunities of the latter type.
Also, we think that there are some other good reasons for not designating some colleges as polytechnic institutions. The term polytechnic is fraught with ambiguity, and thus adding a new sector of postsecondary institutions with that name could be more confusing than helpful for prospective students. The institutions in British Columbia and Alberta that use the term polytechnic, either formally or informally, have since their founding been formally differentiated from other college sector institutions in their province and have a history of specialization in technology-based programming. No college sector institutions in Ontario have had a differentiated role like the institutes of technology in British Columbia and Alberta. We are aware also that five
colleges in Ontario have been seeking the polytechnic designation. In regard to both labour market needs and practices in other North American jurisdictions, it is hard to see a justification for adding that many polytechnic institutions to the provincial postsecondary education system, especially when four of them would be in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). We appreciate that many colleges across Canada, including in Ontario, have made valuable contributions to industry through their applied research activities. Our impression is that the expertise and interaction with industry that fosters these contributions is largely situational and contextual related to the existence of particular faculty in particular programs and institutions.
Accordingly, we do not believe that designating some colleges as polytechnics is necessary to maintain or enhance the capability of the college sector to make such contributions.
While we do not believe that there are compelling arguments for designating some colleges as polytechnics, we are mindful of the contribution that could be made by enabling at least a few colleges to have a more substantial and broader role in offering baccalaureate programs if they are able to demonstrate that they meet the conditions required for such activity. Based upon our examination of the issues outlined above, we review a number of possible policy options to address the predicted demand for increased access to university degree programs in the GTA including: 1)
creating satellite campuses of existing universities; 2) creating new universities that are of the same type as existing universities; 3) creating new universities of a new type focusing on undergraduate study and with a limited role in research; 4) providing selected colleges with a new substantial role in baccalaureate programming; 5) providing colleges with a greater role in transfer programs in basic university subjects, such as arts and science; and 6) creating an open university. We review each of these options and discuss factors that should be considered by government.
The professional development of new university instructors has received considerable investments of resources at Canadian universities, but the impact of these efforts has only rarely been evaluated or studied. Universities in Ontario have witnessed and participated in the formation of teaching and learning units responsible for professional development of academics since the mid-1980s (Landolfi, 2007). These units have been responsible for the development of programs to address the pedagogical needs of university instructors, with the goal of making them more effective (Ibid.).
In situations of decreased availability of funding, individual university support for central teaching and learning units has oscillated. This has often required that they operate with inadequate financial support and a minimal number of full-time employees. Currently, the four smallest units in Ontario universities operate with only one to three staff members.
While the formal training of postsecondary educators and the issue of enforcing mandatory training of academic teaching staff has been broadly accepted in colleges for years (see volume 2 of this report which will follow in 2012), the same issue has recently been discussed more frequently among universities as well at the level of teaching professionals and policy makers, with intense controversy on either side of the debate.
New Faculty Orientations (NFOs) – an induction program for newly hired faculty members at the beginning of their teaching careers – vary widely in the content delivered across different Ontario universities. While some simply provide a general introduction to a particular university’s settings, and/or a list of local resources for the new faculty members to choose and use as they see fit, others focus on specific teaching skills and organize a series of sessions, which explore a variety of teaching and learning issues and strategies.
Surprisingly, of the 20 institutions surveyed there are only two Ontario universities that still do not organize NFOs for new teaching staff even though they have established teaching and learning centres. In these instances, new faculty members receive a general orientation provided by the President’s Office and Faculty Recruitment departments, as well as their faculties. Other findings from this study include the following:
• The majority of Ontario universities (72 per cent) include both contract instructors and full-time faculty members in their orientation sessions.
• Only in two Ontario universities is orientation mandatory for all newly hired faculty members. In other institutions where NFO attendance is voluntary, participation varies from 40 per cent to 85 per cent.
• In terms of the cost of new faculty orientation, data differ from institution to institution, with a few
institutions spending a modest amount of $1,000 and others (the minority) spending about $35,000 on NFOs per annum.
The top five separate sessions that are typically included for NFOs at Ontario universities are, in this order:
a) greetings/conversation with VP Academic Provost,
b) academic policies and procedures,
c) classroom teaching management methods,
d) teaching with technology, and
e) a panel/discussion with experienced faculty members.
Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.’s (NTI) 2010/11 Annual Report on the State of Inuit Culture and Society focuses on the status of Inuit children and youth in Nunavut, with a focus on ages 2 to 18. In 2008, NTI reported on the overall health of Inuit, with
an emphasis on health service availability and delivery, and in many ways this report complements that document by focusing on the concept of wellness as it applies to Inuit children and youth, and the specific opportunities, challenges and priority areas associated with this rapidly growing demographic. Young people make up a larger proportion of Nunavut’s population than in any other Canadian jurisdiction (see Figure 1).
Children and youth are the most vulnerable people in society, relying on parents, guardians, and extended family members for food, shelter, nurturing, support, and protection. Factors impacting the well-being of Inuit children and youth, such as the availability of nutritious foods and reliable child, youth, and family services, adequate housing, and quality, early childhood and kindergarten to Grade 12 (K-12) education are beyond their influence or control. The high incidence of violent crime, sexual assault, and substance abuse in Nunavut can compound these challenges, making sustained political advocacy for this population all the more urgent.
This study investigates the validity, within an Ontario college, of the U.S.-based Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE) benchmarks of effective educational practices, formally referred to as the Model of Effective Educational Practices (MEEP). MEEP factors include active and collaborative learning; student effort, academic challenge, studentfaculty
interaction, and support for learners. The validity of CCSSE was explored for this study through analysis of the model fit of MEEP and analysis of its correlations and capacity to predict five academic outcomes based on a sample of Ontario students that completed CCSSE during the Winter 2009 semester. Results of the analyses reveal that MEEP exhibits good model fit and that three of the five benchmarks were consistently correlated with the five selected academic outcomes (self-reported GPA, semester GPA, cumulative GPA, cumulative credit completion ratio, and percentage of courses completed with a grade of 70 per cent or higher). After controlling for subject characteristics, two of the five benchmarks, active and collaborative learning and academic challenge were identified as predictors of most of the academic outcomes.
What is a mobile education environment?
Education today doesn’t need to take place within the confines of a school building, thanks to the Internet, wireless communication and mobile computing devices. Students and teachers are no longer required to be “stuck inside these four walls” for learning to take place. Teens whose body clocks don’t mesh with 7:15 a.m. class starts can sleep in — then do the work when they are at their mental peak (9 p.m., perhaps). Teachers, too, can gain increased flexibility in organizing their time. Lessons can be more easily tailored for students with whom they can work one-on-one with using interactive online programs. This is the promise of mobile learning, currently in place in some schools across the country. However, most K-12 schools are just starting to scratch the surface of what mobility can mean for education. Those that adapt to mobile technology will find it easier to reach students; research shows this sort of learning at the K-12 level improves student engagement, enthusiasm and test scores.
Headlines surrounding the consideration of race and ethnicity in college admissions are often incomplete and ill-informed, promoting polarization and deflecting attention from practices that promote racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic diversity in higher education. As colleges and universities seek o educate an increasingly diverse American citizenry and achieve the associated educational aims, it is imperative that post- secondary leaders, policymakers, researchers, and members of the media better understand the work and challenges facing institutions in this current legal climate.
It’s been said that no one dreams of becoming an academic leader when they grow up. It’s a tough job that’s only gotten more challenging as budgets shrink, public scrutiny rises, and responsibilities continue to grow. It requires a unique skill set – part field general, part mediator, part visionary, and part circus barker – to name just a few. But what does it really take to be an
Featuring 13 articles from Academic Leader this special report seeks to answer that question and provide guidance for anyone in a campus leadership role. For example, in the article “Leadership and Management: Complementary Skill Sets,” Donna Goss
and Don Robertson, explain the differences between management and leadership, and share their thoughts on how to develop leadership skills in yourself and others.
In “Zen and the Art of Higher Education Administration,” author Jeffrey L. Buller shows how the Buddhist practice features many principles for daily life that could benefit academic leaders. Such advice includes “Walk gently, leaving tracks only where they can make a difference.” In “Techniques of Leadership,” authors Isa Kaftal Zimmerman and Joan Thormann outline specific
leadership skills for effectively running meetings, building consensus, and communicating across the institution.
The article “A Formal Approach to Facilitating Change” explains how Northwestern University’s Office of Change Management is structured as well as its operating principles for effectively managing change at the university. The key is to articulate how a change can benefit those directly affected and others not directly affected, to be accountable, and to provide clear criteria for
measuring success Other articles in the report include:
• Factors That Affect Department Chairs’ Performance
• Changing Roles for Chairs
• Becoming a More Mindful Leader
• Creating a Culture of Leadership
• There’s More to Leadership than Motivation and Ability
Academic leadership roles are constantly changing. We hope this report will help you be a more
effective leader during these challenging times.
Findings from biannual American College Health Association-National College Health Assessment surveys have highlighted the prevalence of depression, suicidal ideation, and attempted suicides on Canadian university campuses and the need for comprehensive suicide prevention programs. This article explores how one large western Canadian university has attempted to implement the comprehensive framework for suicide prevention developed by the Jed Foundation. Based on recommendations included in this framework, a multi-faceted suicide prevention strategy was developed, focusing on seven broad intervention
1) enhanced student connectedness and engagement;
2) increased community suicide awareness;
3) gatekeeper training;
4) collaborative identifi cation and treatment of depression;
5) specialized training in assessment and treatment of suicide;
6) increased accessibility to counselling services for at-risk students; and
7) enhanced crisis management policy and procedures. This article reviews relevant empirical support for these seven intervention domains, provides examples of initiatives in each domain, and identifi es implications for best practice post-secondary policy.
Les rÃ©sultats des sondages de la Â« National College Health AssociationÂ» soulÃ¨vent la prÃ©valence de la dÃ©pression, des pensÃ©es suicidaires, et des tentatives de suicide parmi les Ã©tudiants des universitÃ©s canadiennes et le besoin de programmes comprÃ©hensifs de prÃ©vention du suicide. Dans cet article, les auteurs dÃ©crivent lâ€™implantation, par une universitÃ© Ã vocation de recherche de lâ€™ouest canadien, dâ€™un encadrement globale vouÃ© Ã la prÃ©vention du suicide dÃ©veloppÃ© par la Fondation Jed. Dâ€™aprÃ¨s les recommandations de la Fondation Jed, lâ€™approche multilatÃ©rale de la prÃ©vention du suicide englobe sept dimensions dâ€™interventions :
1) une hausse dâ€™engagement des Ã©tudiants dans les activitÃ©s universitaires et parmi les communautÃ©s Ã©tudiantes ;
2) une sensibilisation augmentÃ©e par rapport Ã la prÃ©vention du suicide ;
3) la formation du personnel Â« fi ltreÂ» dans lâ€™institution ;
4) une approche collaborative Ã lâ€™identifi cation et le traitement de la dÃ©pression ;
5) une formation spÃ©cialisÃ© en identifi cation et traitement du suicide ;
6) un meilleur accÃ¨s des Ã©tudiants Ã taux de risques relevÃ©es aux services
dâ€™assistance psychologique ; et,
7) un enrichissement des politiques
et procÃ©dures concernant la gestion des risques. Dans cet article, les auteurs rÃ©sument les donnÃ©es appuyant les interventions dÃ©crites ci-dessus, offrent des exemples des initiatives dans chacune des dimensions listÃ©es et proposent les implications pour le renforcement des compÃ©tences universitaires dans ces domaines.
Cheryl A. Washburn
University of British Columbia
Adler School of Professional Psychology
“Pop leadership” philosophy abounds in our culture today. Book stores have shelves full of books on leader ship. Leaders and leadership are discussed daily on tele vision, radio, newspapers, magazines and on the web. As a result, many mixed messages about leadership are expressed. So – how do you decide what is accurate?
Welcome to our ﬁ rst issue of IQ – McMaster’s research newsmagazine. We’re excited to share a few research highlights and tell you about some of the country’s most dynamic, creative and innovative research that’s happening right here in your community.
In this issue, our focus is on clean technologies – whether they are related to water, automotive or solar research. Our researchers are doing their part to develop the technologies and innovations that will lead to a greener and cleaner Canada for future generations. They are indeed on an Innovation Quest to see that this happens.
I hope you enjoy the ﬁ rst issue and I welcome your comments on what you’ve read here and what you’d like to see in future issues.
The ACHA-NCHA II supports the health of the campus community by fulfilling the academic mission, supporting short- and long term healthy behaviours, and gaining a current profile of health trends within the campus community. Canadian Reference Group Data
Ontario firms and organizations are being challenged to increase productivity through innovation in order to compete on the fiercely competitive world stage and improve the quality of life of Ontarians. Yet, Ontario suffers from innovation gaps
that place its productivity and prosperity goals at risk.
Ontario’s 24 Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology have long been recognized for their contributions to career-oriented education and training programs that have strengthened the Ontario economy throughout the latter part of the 20th century.
Poised on the threshold of the 21st century, college-based applied research and development (R&D) and business and industry innovation activities are of ever increasing importance to the achievement of Ontario’s productivity and prosperity
Colleges recommend that, beginning in 2006/07, the Government of Ontario establish a new, forward-looking provincial research and innovation policy framework and launch three strategic programs to bolster college capacity to support
business and industry through applied R&D, innovation and commercialization activities over the next decade, at a cost of $50 million over first five years.
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.
Why do we study student technology choices and preferences? With the first student study launched in 2004 we had an instinctive sense of why the exercise was valuable. Several campuses had been collecting data on student technology use - some of them for quite a while - but this included little broad and generalizable data about how students in higher education were adapting to and using technology.
The BYOD Concept
The days of students carrying heavy, book-laden backpacks to school are numbered. Increasingly, students at all
levels expect to access learning materials electronically. And students expect their school to support access to the Internet from anywhere, not just from a classroom computer with a wired connection.
The push for mobile learning options isn’t just coming from students. Teachers also have high opinions of the educational value of these new tools. A PBS/Grunwald survey in 2010 reported that teachers view laptops, tablets and e-readers as having the highest educational potential of all portable technologies. The movement to mobile and digital learning reflects the exploding popularity of mobile devices among consumers and the parallel growth in wireless network services to support them. Instead of using shared or enterprise-owned computers at work, school or libraries, people now want to use their personally owned mobile devices everywhere, a trend called bring your own device (BYOD). In fact, personal computing devices are fast becoming not just a luxury in both primary and secondary education, but a necessity. The growth of more virtual, personalized learning experiences throughout the educational spectrum is engaging students like never before.
The 2010 ”Speak Up” education survey conducted by Project Tomorrow found that more than one quarter of middle school students and 35 percent of high school students use online textbooks or other online curricula as a part of their regular schoolwork. The survey also found that nearly two-thirds of parents of school-aged children see digital curriculum as a key component of the ”ideal” classroom for their student, making access to computing devices a key part of today’s educational experience.²
This trend is creating tremendous new demand levels for wireless networks. For example, one market research firm reports growth of 40 percent in enterprise wireless local area networks (WLANs) in Q2 2011, attributable in part to the BYOD trend and the tremendous popularity of the Apple iPad.³ Gartner Research supports this notion as well, concluding that without adequate preparation, iPads alone will increase enterprise WiFi demands by 300 percent.⁴
Support for this trend is also found in Center for Digital Education (CDE) interviews with K-12 district IT staff. A notable 27 percent of school IT decision-makers interviewed expressed an intent to pursue a BYOD policy.
While the percentage of higher education students with their own devices is significantly higher than at the elementary level, CDE’s Digital Community Colleges Survey reveals that they grapple with many similar technology challenges. A full 92 percent of community colleges report expanded distance learning offerings for online, hybrid and Web-assisted courses, providing ample support for their No. 1 identified technology priority: mobility. The growing popularity of mobile devices isn’t the only factor straining the capacity of educational networks today. Video, interactive learning games and other media-rich content are being
watched, created and shared by students and teachers to foster learning of both skills and subject matter. These media not only gobble up bandwidth — they may also require priority over other network traffic in order to deliver acceptable performance for in-class use. From a technical perspective, the challenge for educational institutions is supporting BYOD for students and staff with secure wireless and remote access network capabilities. Yet the movement to mobile learning isn’t just about supporting new technologies. It’s also about shifting to new ways of teaching and learning.
College prices have increased by 45 percemt on average over the past decade, while household income has declinded by 7 percent in the same period.
The 2009–2010 State of Learning in Canada provides the most current information on the Canadian learning
landscape, contributing to a comprehensive understanding of how Canadians are faring as lifelong learners.
As in previous State of Learning reports, this update reflects CCL’s vision of learning as a lifelong process. Our research affirms time and again that the skills and knowledge that citizens bring to their families, their workplaces and their communities help determine a country’s economic success and overall quality of life.
It is this core value that continues to guide our research and our commitment to fostering a learning society, in which all members can develop their full potential as active, engaged learners and contributing members of their community.
This update takes a life course approach, beginning with learning in the early childhood learning and school-based education through to the formal and informal learning of adults. Highlights from the recently released report on the State of Aboriginal Learning in Canada: A Holistic Approach to Measuring Success (2009), which introduced the first application of a comprehensive approach to measuring Aboriginal Learning in Canada, are also included.
This paper analyzes the ideological orientations of Canadian university professors based on a unique 2000 study of a representative sample of Canadian academics (n=3,318). After summarizing methodological problems with extant research on this subject, and tentatively comparing the political views of Canadian and American academics, the paper demonstrates that Canadian academics fall to the left of the political spectrum but are not hugely different in this respect from the Canadian university-educated population. Multivariate analyses reveal considerable heterogeneity in the ideological views of Canadian professors, suggesting that contemporary characterizations of the North American professoriate as left- or right-leaning tend to be overdrawn. Multivariate analyses demonstrate the importance of disadvantaged status and disciplinary socialization in shaping professors’ ideological views, although self selection processes are not discounted.
Cet article analyse les orientations idéologiques des professeurs des universités canadiennes selon une étude unique datant de l’an 2000 et portant sur un échantillon représentatif composé de 3 318 professeurs d’université du Canada. Après avoir résumé les problèmes méthodologiques avec une recherche approfondie sur le sujet, puis tenté de comparer les vues politiques de professeurs d’universités canadiennes et américaines, l’article démontre que les professeurs d’université du Canada se situent à la gauche de l’éventail politique,sans être très différents de l’ensemble des diplômés universitaires du Canada. Les analyses
multidimensionnelles révèlent une hétérogénéité considérable des vues idéologiques des professeurs canadiens, suggérant ainsi que les aractérisations contemporaines selon lesquelles le professorat nord-américain se situe soit vers la droite, soit vers la gauche, ont tendance à être à exagérées. Les analyses multidimensionnelles démontrent l’importance de la socialisation disciplinaire et du statut de défavorisé pour former les vues idéologiques des professeurs, même si les processus d’autosélection ne sont pas pris en compte.
M. Reza Nakhaie
University of Windsor
Robert J. Brym
University of Toronto