This research uses the Youth in Transition Survey, Reading Cohort to compare participation in postsecondary education (PSE)in Ontario to other Canadian regions. We begin by presenting access rates by region, which reveals some substantial differences. University participation rates in Ontario are in about the middle of the pack, while college rates are relatively high. We then undertake an econometric analysis, which reveals that the effects of parental income are quite strong in the Atlantic provinces but much weaker elsewhere, including within Ontario. We also find that the relationship between high school grades and Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) test scores (measures of academic performance and ability differ by region and are generally strongest in Ontario. From this perspective,Ontario would appear to have a relatively â€œmeritocraticâ€ system, where those who are more qualified are more likely to go to university and where attendance rates are less affected by family income. Interestingly, the effects of parental education, which are generally much stronger than those of family income, are similar across regions. Understanding the reasons underlying these patterns might warrant further investigation.
This research was funded by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO), which also provided useful feedback throughout the project, but the authors retain all responsibility for the paper and opinions expressed therein. This work is based on earlier research carried out for the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation through the MESA project.
The weakening of the global recovery in 2012 and 2013 has further aggravated the youth jobs crisis and the queues for available jobs have become longer and longer for some unfortunate young jobseekers. So long, in fact, that many youth are giving up on
the job search. The prolonged jobs crisis also forces the current generation of youth to be less selective about the type of job they are prepared to accept, a tendency that was already evident before the crisis. Increasing numbers of youth are now turning to available part‐time jobs or find themselves stuck in temporary employment. Secure jobs, which were once the norm for previous generations – at least in the advanced economies – have become less easily accessible for today’s youth.
The global youth unemployment rate, estimated at 12.6 per cent in 2013, is close to its crisis peak. 73 million young people are estimated to be unemployed in 2013.1 At the same time, informal employment among young people remains pervasive and
transitions to decent work are slow and difficult. The economic and social costs of unemployment, long‐term unemployment,
discouragement and widespread low‐quality jobs for young people continue to rise and undermine economies’ growth potential.
Along with the amount of time spent learning (or time-on-task), the quality of learning time has a real influence on learning performance. Quality of time in online learning depends on students’ time availability and their willingness to devote quality cognitive time to learning activities. However, the quantity and quality of the time spent by adult e-learners on
learning activities can be reduced by professional, family, and social commitments. Considering that the main time pattern followed by most adult e-learners is a professional one, it may be beneficial for online education programs to offer a certain degree of flexibility in instructional time that might allow adult learners to adjust their learning times to their professional constraints. However, using the time left over once professional and family requirements have been fulfilled could lead to a reduction in quality time for learning. This paper starts by introducing the concept of quality of learning time from an online student centred perspective. The impact of students’ time-related variables (working hours, timeon-task engagement, time flexibility, time of day, day of week) is then analyzed according to individual and collaborative grades achieved during an online master’s degree program. The data show that both students’ time flexibility (r = .98) and especially their availability to learn in the morning are related to better grades in individual (r = .93) and collaborative activities (r = .46).
Keywords: E-learning; computer-supported collaborative learning; academic performance;
e-learning quality; time flexibility; time-on-task; time quality; learner time
The Association of Registrars of the Universities and Colleges of Canada (ARUCC) and the Pan-Canadian Consortium on Admissions and Transfer (PCCAT) have collaborated to lead an extensive study to understand current transcript and transfer credit nomenclature practices in Canada. These findings will ultimately inform a comprehensive update and expansion of the 2003 ARUCC National Transcript Guide and potentially result in a searchable database of transcript practices and Canadian transfer credit nomenclature. The ultimate goal is to enhance the clarity, consistency and transparency of the academic transcript and transfer credit resources that support student mobility. The specific deliverable for this phase was to identify and summarize Canadian transcript and transfer credit nomenclature practices, review four international jurisdictions as a means to highlight promising practices related to these two areas and, finally, to provide both an overview of systems and an initial examination of emergent perspectives and themes. The report purposefully avoids suggesting prescriptive solutions or outcomes; however, the findings from this study will provide a solid foundation from which to move forward the standards and terminology discourse in Canada. This report collates the findings from the supporting research conducted from January through to April 2014.
In the emerging knowledge-based economy, employers are requiring new levels of skill from labour market entrants. As employers’ expectations of postsecondary graduates increase, Ontario’s publicly funded colleges and universities are working to provide students with much of the knowledge, skills, and training needed for success in the community and in the changing workplace. As a result, there has been a movement within the postsecondary education (PSE) sector to provide a closer integration of learning and work as a strategy for workforce skills development (Fisher, Rubenson, Jones, & Shanahan, 2009).
In particular, work-integrated learning (WIL) programs such as co-operative education, internship, and apprenticeship are frequently endorsed as educational modes of delivery to support such integration. Offering work-integrated learning experiences for students requires a significant investment of human and financial resources to be effective. Faculty in particular play an important role in designing, supporting, and implementing WIL opportunities for students. Despite a growing recognition of the essential role played by faculty, very little is known about their perceptions of and experiences with WIL. To shed light on this issue, this report provides the results of the WIL Faculty Survey conducted by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO) in partnership with 13 Ontario postsecondary institutions.
The report is part of a broader multi-phase project being undertaken by HEQCO on WIL in Ontario’s PSE sector.
The WIL Faculty Survey was designed to better understand faculty experiences with and perceptions of WIL as an element of postsecondary curriculum. Guided by a Working Group comprised of representatives from the 13 participating postsecondary institutions, the study sought to address four primary research questions:
1) How do faculty perceive the value and benefits of WIL to students, faculty members, and postsecondary institutions?
2) Do faculty views about WIL differ by employment status, program, gender, years of teaching, previous employment experience, or their own past WIL experience?
3) How do faculty integrate students’ work experiences into the classroom?
4) What concerns do faculty have about introducing or expanding WIL opportunities in postsecondary institutions?
The survey instrument was developed in consultation with the Working Group and was pre-tested with 25 faculty members. The survey was administered online from March to May, 2011, with e-mail invitations to participate sent to 18,232 faculty from the 13 partner institutions (6,257 college faculty and 11,975 university faculty). In total, 1,707 college faculty and 1,917 university faculty completed the survey to an acceptable cut-off point, for an overall response rate of 19.9%. Close to two-thirds of college faculty and roughly half of university faculty respondents reported having experience teaching in a program in which students participate in a co-op or apprenticeship. Fewer faculty had experience personally teaching a course with a WIL component, with 47.5% of college faculty and 28.9% of university faculty currently or previously having taught a course involving WIL. Among those who had taught a course with a WIL component, field placements were the most common type of WIL among college faculty, followed by mandatory professional practice (student placements required for licensure or professional designation). For university respondents, mandatory professional practice was the most common type of WIL taught, followed by applied research projects.
In a project funded by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario (HEQCO), a team of researchers completed three related studies exploring and assessing innovative practicum models included in a pre- service concurrent teacher education program across two campuses of an Ontario university.
These models are integrated into the field experience component of the Bachelor of Education degree and are intended to provide collaborative and diverse learning opportunities for teacher candidates in various practicum settings. Traditionally, teacher candidates in faculties of education complete their practicum in a school classroom for determined periods of time. In recognizing the need for teacher candidates to become contributing members of varied learning communities (Feiman-Nemser,
2001), the innovative practices studied in this project extend beyond the norm of placing a single teacher candidate with an associate teacher in a publicly funded school to include such models as peer mentorship, alternative service learning and international practicum placements.
In 2007, Colleges Ontario prepared a report for Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) that examined existing occupation-specific language training in Ontario colleges.1 The findings from that report formed the basis of the Occupation-specific Language Training (OSLT) initiative. CIC funded Colleges Ontario, in partnership with ontario colleges and ConneCt strategic alliances, to undertake the oslt initiative to develop curriculum and work with ontario colleges to conduct pilot deliveries of language training for newcomers. This report summarizes the activities conducted from April 1, 2008 to March 31, 2011.
Ontario’scolleges are highly experienced in meeting the language needs of immigrants and have a strong track
record in designing and delivering occupation-specific language training. For the OSLT initiative, the target participants were defined as newcomers who were permanent residents or protected persons with Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) 6 to 8 (or Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens 5/6 to 8).These newcomers were working in or wanted to re-enter an occupation related to their training and experience, or they wanted to take a related program of study to bridge to employment.
Drawing mainly from HEQCO’s own research, this @Issue paper:
• Describes how the definition of student success has gradually broadened at Ontario colleges and universities;
• Summarizes some of the underlying institutional and student population factors that also impact on most current measures of student success;
• Provides broad observations about some recent findings as they relate to the awareness, utilization and impact of various student service, course-based and other initiatives designed to promote student success;
• Recommends what can be measured – as well as how and what outcomes can be expected – when it comes to initiatives and interventions designed to improve student success.
Post-secondary education is the great equalizer. It gives us all a chance to reach higher no matter where we come from or whatever our background. Both of my parents came from very modest upbringings and saw a university degree as a ticket to a good job and an entry to Ontario’s middle class. They, in turn, placed a high importance on post-secondary education and encouraged my sister and I to follow in their footsteps.
There is a lot about Ontario’s colleges and universities that we can be proud of, but we need to ensure our students are getting the best value for their tuition. In Ontario today, we see far too many students graduate with degrees and deep debts who can’t find a job.
We are spending a lot more money as a province, but we aren’t seeing the results. Government funding has
increased by 84% since 2003, yet Ontario universities are slipping in international rankings, tuition keeps rising, new graduates keep heading out West and there are many jobs in the skilled trades that can’t be filled.
This has got to change. We need to make the necessary changes to ensure our schools are the best in the world at preparing students for a career. The key will be incenting excellence, harnessing market forces, encouraging specialization and being honest.
SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS
The OCUFA plan aims to dramatically enhance the quality and affordability of university education in Ontario by 2020 through increased government investment. We are also sensitive to the financial constraints the province is facing. As such, our recommendations reflect both the estimated minimum and maximum cost of our proposals. The Government of Ontario can choose to make a smaller investment as finances dictate. The important thing is that reinvestment begin now.
1. Increasing per-student public investment in universities to the national average by 2020.
Cost in 2013-14: A minimum of $120 million and a maximum of $280 million
2. Bringing the student-faculty ratio to the national average by 2020 by hiring new fulltime
Cost in 2013-2014: A minimum of $16 million and a maximum of $110 million
3. Freezing tuition fees and consulting with students, faculty, and administrators on a new
funding framework that preserves quality while ensuring affordability.
Cost in 2013-14: $170 million.
4. Increasing research funding to universities by phasing out ineffective tax credits for private sector research and development.
Cost in 2013-14: No additional cost.
5. Respecting faculty collective bargaining rights.
6. Engaging faculty meaningfully in pension reform.
Faculty developers and others who specialize in research on teaching and learning recognize that much of the research is convergent. Positive teaching and learning practices do not operate in stand-alone vacuums. A savvy university teacher draws eclectically from a number of sources and resources to design coherent teaching and learning plans. This article will examine symbiotically how cooperative learning and deep learning together can promote greater success both in and out of the classroom.
As laptops become smaller and more ubiquitous, and with the advent of tablets, the idea of taking notes by hand just seems old-fashioned to many students today. Typing your notes is faster — which comes in handy when there's a lot of information to take down. But it turns out there are still advantages to doing things the old-fashioned way.
For one thing, research shows that laptops and tablets have a tendency to be distracting — it's so easy to click over to Facebook in that dull lecture. And a study has shown that the fact that you have to be slower when you take notes by hand is what makes it more useful in the long run.
Educational Assessment: Designing a System for More
The past few years have ushered in more strident calls for accountability across institutions of higher learning. Various internal and external stakeholders are asking questions like "Are students learning what we want them to learn?" and "How do the students' scores from one institution compare to its peers?" As a result, more institutions are looking for new, more far-reaching ways to assess student learning and then use assessment findings to improve students' educational experiences.
However, as Trudy Banta notes in her article An Accountability Program Primer for Administrators, “just as simply weighing a pig will not make it fatter, spending millions simply to test college students is not likely to help them learn more.” (p. 6)
While assessing institutional effectiveness is a noble pursuit, measuring student learning is not always easy, and like so many things we try to quantify, there’s much more to learning than a number in a datasheet. As Roxanne Cullen and Michael Harris note in their article The Dash to Dashboards, “The difficulty we have in higher education in defining and measuring our outcomes lies in the complexity of our business: the business of learning. A widget company or a fast-food chain has clearly defined goals and can usually pinpoint with fine accuracy where and how to
address loss in sales or glitches in production or service. Higher education is being called on to be able to perform similar feats, but creating a graduate for the 21st century workforce is a very different kind of operation.” (p. 10)
This special report Educational Assessment: Designing a System for More Meaningful Results features articles from Academic Leader, and looks at the assessment issue from a variety of different angles. Articles in the result include:
• The Faculty and Program-Wide Learning Outcome Assessment
• Assessing the Degree of Learner-Centeredness in a Department or Unit
• Keys to Effective Program-Level Assessment
• Counting Something Leads to Change in an Office or in a Classroom
• An Accountability Program Primer for Administrators
Whether you’re looking to completely change your approach to assessment, or simply improve the efficacy of your current assessment processes, we hope this report will help guide your discussions and eventual decisions.
Love or hate it, group work can create powerful learning experiences for students. From understanding course content to developing problem solving, teamwork and communication skills, group work is an effective teaching strategy whose lessons may endure well beyond the end of a course. So why is it that so many students (and some faculty) hate it? Although the students may not state their objections verbally, the nonverbal reactions are truly eloquent. They just sit there; only with much urging do they look at those sitting nearby and move minimally in the direction of getting themselves seated as a group. This lack of enthusiasm is at some level a recognition that it is so much easier to sit there and take notes rather than work in a group and take ownership. The resistance also derives from past experiences in groups where not much happened, or where some members did nothing while other did more than their fair share of the work.
Often very little happens in groups because students donâ€™t tackle the tasks with much enthusiasm, but group ineffectiveness also may be the product of poorly designed and uninteresting group tasks. This special report features 10 insightful articles from The Teaching Professor that will help you create more effective group learning activities and grading strategies as well as tips for dealing with group members who are â€œhitchhikingâ€ (getting a free ride from the group) or â€œoverachievingâ€ (dominating the group effort). Hereâ€™s a sample of the articles in the report:
. Leaders with Incentives: Groups That Performed Better
. Dealing with Students Who Hate Working in Groups
. Group Work That Inspires Cooperation and Competition
. Better Understanding the Group Exam Experience
. Use the Power of Groups to Help You Teach
. Pairing vs. Small Groups: A Model for Analytical Collaboration
It’s no secret that high youth unemployment and record high debt levels mean youth in Canada are facing a difficult future. While the economy continues on a slow recovery, students and youth are being left behind through decreased program funding, ineffective employment plans, and a lack of federal strategies.
Over the last five years, high youth unemployment has been a constant challenge in the Canadian labour market. Attainment of a post-secondary education has become a prerequisite for participation in Canada’s workforce. It’s time for Canada to prioritise youth employment. We have looked abroad to find solutions, and Germany’s Dual Vocational Training System is a plan that values the work of youth and has long-term rewards for the economy and society. Publicly funded, and with no tuition fees, Germany serves as a model for us in Canada on how to build a thriving economy that values workers.
Graduate students have embraced professional development as an integral part of their education, but what about their supervisors and departments? As part of an initiative to reduce completion times the school of graduate studies at the University of Toronto hosted a series of faculty development workshops to optimize supervisory mentorship in graduate student research progress and professional development.
Students from a number of groups remain underrepresented in Ontario’s universities and colleges, including low-income students, Aboriginal students, first generation students whose parents did not attend a post-secondary institution, rural and northern students, and students with dependants. Improving access to higher education for these and other underrepresented groups is widely acknowledged as essential to building a more equitable society and to competing in the increasingly knowledge-based economy. Indeed, Premier McGuinty has stated his desire to see 70 per cent of Ontarians complete post-secondary education, and achieving this target will require a concerted effort to reduce participation gaps.
The Student Success Program (SSP) at George Brown College is designed to foster a supportive college environment for first-year students. The College committed to fund the SSP for a five-year period beginning in 2008-2009. As part of the SSP, a range of academic and non-academic activities are offered to first-year students in order to promote collaborative learning and peer interaction. Some of these activities take place in class, while others are offered outside of class. The SSP components are tailored to programs within individual centres or schools, so as to provide the types of activities best suited to assist first-year students in those areas.
Phil L. Davison
St. Francis Xavier University
This study explores the perspectives and understandings of post-secondary leaders and their contexts as described through the qualitative experiences of 12 Maritime Canadian leaders (presidents and vice-presidents) who work in contemporary, publicly funded, post-secondary institutions. Four themes emerge: balancing daily dissonance, learning experientially to lead,
creating learning spaces, and needing moments of grace. The research reveals that leaders seek deeper understandings of their work and their characterization.
The school-to-work transition of Ontario postsecondary graduates is a growing concern within Canada’s “knowledge-based” economy, with increasing attention given to the skills possessed by recent graduates. There is some debate about whether the skills developed within postsecondary programs provide a good fit with the requirements of the evolving “knowledge” economy. While some argue that graduates require technical and applied skills for this economy, others assert that generic skills offered by liberal arts programs, such as communication and critical thinking skills, are also in demand by employers. Therefore, although technological skills are required for the creation of new technology in this economy, an alternate perspective identifies a need for a variety of educated workers, including those who can evaluate, interpret, and communicate information in the knowledge economy. The field of study of recent postsecondary graduates is thus a salient aspect of their labour
market outcomes. Previous research indicates that there was little difference in outcomes between graduates of different fields of study in the 1980s and early 1990s; however, information about more recent cohorts is needed. The impact of new information technology and a greater concentration on producing workers for the knowledge economy has influenced changes in human resources needs and business activities. It is therefore important to study a recent cohort of graduates who made their school-to-work transitions during a time of rapid technological change.
The primary purpose of this study is to explore issues relating to the labour market outcomes of recent graduates of various field of study and levels of schooling in Ontario. While stratification based on fields of study is the focus of this research, attention is also given to gender when examining the employment outcomes of recent graduates. Enrolment across trades, college, and university programs remain segregated by gender, leading to gender differences in occupational choice and technical training. Thus, the reproduction of the gendered division of labour may result. This study will provide important information for policy officials involved with allocating government funding to education and may inform decisions about tuition levels for different programs. Results may also be of interest to administrators of college, trades, and university programs who are concerned with admissions strategies and enrolment across different fields of study. The findings from this study will also be of assistance to students.