Many countries strive to make postsecondary education maximally accessible to their citizens under the assumption that educated citizens boost innovation and leadership, resulting in social and economic benefits. However, attempts to increase access, especially in contexts of stagnant or diminishing financial support, can result in ever-increasing class sizes. Two aspects of large classes are extremely worrisome. First, economic and logistical constraints have led many such classes to
devolve into settings characterized by lectures, readings and multiple-choice tests, thereby denying students experience and exercise with important transferable skills (e.g., critical thought, creative thought, self-reflective thought, expressive and receptive communication). Second, such classes are depicted as cold and impersonal, with little sense of community among students.
This paper examines whether intermediary bodies are useful in advancing government goals for quality and sustainability in higher education systems. It explores the evidence about intermediary bodies through case studies of England, Israel, New Zealand and the United States. It also treats the case of Ontario, whose best-known intermediary bodies have been the Ontario Council on University Affairs and the colleges’ Council of Regents.
Bridging programs are designed for internationally educated immigrant professionals who have completed formal training in another country but who may not have the educational, professional or language requirements necessary to become licensed to practice in Canada. As Ontario’s population ages, the successful integration of internationally educated health professionals (IEHPs) into the health care workforce has been identified as a strategy to address the challenges created by the shrinking labour pool and growing demands on the health care system (Finley & Hancock, 2010; Stuckey & Munro, 2013). To better understand the role of Ontario’s postsecondary system in facilitating the entry of IEHPs into the health care workforce, this study analyzed seven Canadian bridging programs and obtained input from 15 key informants. The goal of the evaluation was to identify the characteristics and practices of effective IEHP bridging programs. The specific research questions addressed by the evaluation were:
1. What are the expected outcomes of effective bridging programs and how should they be measured?
2. What are the key features that contribute to bridging program effectiveness?
3. What challenges do bridging programs face in achieving their goals?
4. What is the appropriate role of regulatory colleges, government, employers and professional associations in ensuring bridging program effectiveness?
The Canadian Graduate and Professional Student Survey (CGPSS) is a national survey that was completed by over 51,000 students across 48 universities in 2013. This comprehensive survey includes questions covering a broad array of topics including students’ satisfaction with their departments, programs and advisors, availability of funding, use and quality of university services, and satisfaction with professional development supports (CAGS, 2010). This report uses data and opinions collected from graduate students through the CGPSS in an effort to contribute to the conversation on graduate student education in Canada.
This handbook is intended to serve as a resource for fculty, staffk academic leades and educational developers engaged in program and course desing/review, and the assissment of program-level learning outcomes for program improve. The assessment of learning outcomes at the program-level can assist in making improvements to curricula, teaching and assessment plans.
Canadians invest considerable energy, resources, and personal and societal aspiration into postsecondary education. It is good public policy to assess how we are doing and what outcomes we are achieving with that investment. One of HEQCO’s core mandates is to evaluate the postsecondary sector and to report the results of that assessment. To that end, in this report, we have assembled data that assess the performance of Canada’s 10 provincial public postsecondary education systems.
Attraction and retention of apprentices and completion of apprenticeships are issues of concern to all stakeholders involved in training, economic development and workforce planning. The Canadian Apprenticeship Forum (CAF) has forecast that by 2017 there will be a need to train 316,000 workers to replace the retiring workforce in the construction industry alone (CAF, 2011a). In the automotive sector, shortages are expected to reach between 43,700 and 77,150 by 2021. However, shortages are already widespread across the sector, and CAF survey data show that almost half (48.1%) of employers reported that there was a limited number of qualified staff in 2011 (CAF, 2011a). Given this, retention of qualified individuals in apprenticeship training and supporting them through to completion is a serious issue. There is some indication that registration in apprenticeship programs has been increasing steadily over the past few years, but the number of apprentices completing their program has not kept pace (Kallio, 2013; Laporte & Mueller, 2011). Increasing the number of completions would result in a net benefit to both apprentices and employers, minimizing joblessness and skills shortages.
This report examines the apprenticeship systems of seven jurisdictions – Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Australia, England, France and the United States – to draw comparisons with Ontario’s apprenticeship system. The purpose of this work is to help us think differently about how the challenges that Ontario’s apprenticeship system faces have been addressed abroad. While knowledge of Ontario’s apprenticeship system is assumed, the report closes with profiles describing each of the seven apprenticeship contexts in detail.
The comparative analysis proceeds according to six different dimensions: historical and cultural factors; governance; scope; participation; apprenticeship structure; and qualifications and completion rates. For each case, common practice abroad is contrasted with Ontario’s apprenticeship system with the purpose of highlighting the differences that exist.
This report aims to introduce the reader to the apprenticeship sector in Ontario by providing an overview of the current state of affairs. We begin by outlining the structure and governance of apprenticeship in the province and survey the literature relevant to some of the policy debates regarding apprenticeship. The report then identifies and consolidates key data concerning the various components of this complex system, providing comparative Canadian data where relevant to identify areas of strength and weakness. The intent is for this report to provide a firm foundation from which further discussions concerning apprenticeship might proceed.
A general debate swirls about the value of going to university. A more focused anxiety simmers as to whether
it is worth studying the humanities compared to the surely much more lucrative STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math).
On one hand, young Ontarians hear predictions that most jobs of the future will require postsecondary skills and credentials. They are counselled that a university education still offers them the very best job prospects. Those without one will be disadvantaged, and in a punishing youth job market like today’s they will be disproportionately disadvantaged. Those with one – and that includes graduates from the humanities – will possess a set of transferable skills that will allow them to adapt to the unknowable future.
On the other side, young Ontarians are told about increasing tuition costs and high student debt levels; about university graduates unable to land jobs related to their field of study, especially in the humanities; about an erosion in the financial value of a degree, as the earnings advantage for those with one narrows; and about entrepreneurs and innovators who dropped out of university and made a fortune.
Enrolments in graduate programs in Ontario and across Canada have grown substantially over the past 15 years. This growth has been supported and encouraged by strategic investments from provincial and federal governments. Although it has been argued that an increase in the number of Canadians with master’s- or PhD-level education is needed to support increased innovation and economic advancement, there is a growing view that many recent master’s and doctoral graduates are unemployed or underemployed. The current lack of evidence regarding the employment outcomes of master’s and doctoral graduates makes it difficult to evaluate the extent to which this might actually be the case. Several reports have highlighted the need for universities to document and report on the employment outcomes of master’s and doctoral graduates.
Probing the question of the effectiveness and applicability of outcomes-based funding policy for higher education in Ontario requires an approach that (1) reviews current research and policy literatures on this topic and (2) differentiates and contextualizes the knowledge available. In order to evaluate successful and unsuccessful policy features and institutional practices, it is important to take stock of current policies across varied provincial, state, regional and national contexts, as well as over time. The topic of outcomes-based funding has received considerable and continuing attention in the research and policy literatures, and syntheses of these are currently available (e.g., Dougherty & Reddy, 2011, 2013; Frøhlich, Schmidt & Rosa, 2010; National Conference of State Legislatures, 2013). However, a comprehensive policy-relevant perspective can only be a product of extended study that considers policy contexts internationally and provides an actionable, differentiated view on the research and policy in this area. This study will examine policy and research literature to address the following research questions:
1. What provinces, states and countries are funding their public postsecondary systems on the basis of outcomes, and what proportion of funding is devoted to these funding mechanisms?
2. Have outcomes-based funding policies in place within jurisdictions changed over time and, if so, how?
3. How has the implementation of performance-based funding affected the performance of higher education institutions?
4. What successful practices can be identified based on others’ experiences?
5. What unsuccessful practices can be identified based on others’ experiences?
6. What are the overall trends in outcomes-based funding in other jurisdictions?
Discussions of Canada’s so-called “skills gap” have reached a fever pitch. Driven by conflicting reports and data, the conversation shows no signs of abating. On the one hand, economic indicators commonly used to identify gaps point to problems limited to only certain occupations (like health occupations) and certain provinces (like Alberta) rather than to a general skills crisis. On the other hand, employers continue to report a mismatch between the skills they need in their workplaces and those possessed by job seekers, and to voice concern that the postsecondary system is not graduating students with the skills they need.
Media and policy commentary have focused lately on Canadian employers’ apparent inability to find employees with the desired labour market skills. To explore this issue further, HEQCO reviewed and summarized the current discourse surrounding a “skills gap” in The Great Skills Divide: A Review of the Literature and conducted an analysis of Canadian job advertisements geared toward recent postsecondary graduates in Bridging the Divide, Part I: What Canadian Job Ads Said. In the latter publication, 316 job advertisements for entry-level positions requiring postsecondary education were examined to ascertain the education credentials, work experience and essential skills employers were seeking. To follow-up on Bridging the Divide, Part I, the current report analyzes survey responses from 103 employers that posted job advertisements included in the preceding study. In particular, employers were asked if they had filled the advertised position or, if not, the reasons for being unable to find someone to hire. Those employers that had filled the position were also asked about the successful candidates’ qualifications and performance on the job so far.
Discussions of Canada’s so-called ‘skills gap’ have reached a fever pitch. Driven by conflicting reports and data, the conversation shows no signs of abating. On the one hand, economic indicators commonly used to identify gaps point to problems limited to only certain occupations (like health occupations) and certain provinces (like Alberta) rather than to a general skills crisis. On the other hand, employers continue to report a mismatch between the skills they need in their workplaces and those possessed by job seekers, and to voice concern that the postsecondary system is not graduating students with the skills they need.
Work-integrated learning (WIL) has been identified as a key strategy for supporting Canada’s postsecondary education (PSE) system in responding to an increasingly dynamic, globalized, knowledge-based economy. Ontario in particular has been described as a “hot bed” of co-operative education (Ipsos Reid, 2010). However, while there is a common belief that WIL improves employment outcomes (see Gault, Redington & Schlager, 2000; Kramer & Usher, 2010), research on this topic has generally been specific to certain programs and types of WIL (Sattler, 2011).
This report describes a study exploring the impact of academic community-based learning (CBL), course community-service learning (CSL) and other in-course learning activities (ICLA) on student learning. Informed by Kolb’s (1984) experiential learning cycle, the study used a survey instrument, adapted from several existing survey instruments, examining students’ self-reporting in a number of areas such as:
Depth of learning
Perceptions of course environment including teaching quality and course workload
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 describe a cheating strategy enabled by the features of massive open online courses (MOOCs) and detectable by virtue of the sophisticated data systems that MOOCs provide. The strategy, Copying Answers using Multiple Existences Online (CAMEO), involves a user who gathers solutions to assessment questions using a “harvester” account and then submits correct
answers using a separate “master” account. We use “clickstream” learner data to detect CAMEO use among 1.9 million course participants in 115 MOOCs from two universities. Using conservative thresholds, we estimate CAMEO prevalence at 1,237 certificates, accounting for 1.3% of the certificates in the 69 MOOCs with CAMEO users. Among earners of 20 or more
certificates, 25% have used the CAMEO strategy. CAMEO users are more likely to be young, male, and international than other MOOC certificate earners. We identify preventive strategies that can decrease CAMEO rates and show evidence of their effectiveness in science courses.
Keywords: Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), Cheating Detection, Educational
Certification, Educational Data Mining (EDM), Security.
At the heart of Concordia University’s mission and tradition is respect for every member of its community. The university is committed to equality, dignity, and the building and maintaining of a healthy, safe and respectful environment.
Behaviours commonly associated with rape culture, such as victim blaming, normalizing sexual objectification and violence, are absolutely unacceptable in the Concordia community. As such, sexual violence violates our institutional values, in particular the rights of individuals in our university community to be treated with dignity and respect.
Concordia has taken many important steps to creating a safe environment. It was the first university in Canada to create the position of sexual harassment advisor in 1987 and one of the first to adopt a policy on sexual harassment in the early 1990s. It was also among the first Canadian universities to create an Ombuds Office in the 1970s. In 2013, the university launched the Sexual Assault Resource Centre (SARC) to inform the campus community about consent and prevention, and to provide