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April 20, 2020

Moving learning and teaching online

At Canada’s post-secondary institutions, online learning options are rapidly expanding. The Canadian Digital Learning Research Association’s latest report gives us a comprehensive look at the state of online learning in Canada, and highlights that 76% of institutions offer some form of online learning, and that interest in a wide range of alternative credentials continues to grow. In the current global context, this data is more relevant than ever and quickly changing.

In a previous issue of Perspectives, we shared the online, distance, and blended learning approaches that colleges and institutes have championed in almost every subject area. With such a strong history in online and blended learning methods, colleges and institutes all across the country were able to respond to distancing measures associated with COVID-19 incredibly quickly.

Within a week, Collège communautaire de Nouveau-Brunswick shared that it had converted 85 of its programs to online formats allowing 2,000 students to continue learning despite campus closures; in just four days, College of the North Atlantic implemented an extensive Academic Programs Continuity Plan to move 181 of 205 programs online; and at St Lawrence College classes are being delivered through a combination of online and digital simulations and collaborations until August, to name just a few. And now, as many colleges and institutes are working through the finer points of transitioning their regular programming online, still more are moving to train and support students, faculty, and community partners in unique online ways:

While studying and working online can open up access to education beyond geographical barriers, it may also pose challenges to maintaining mental health for students, staff, and faculty as many face additional personal, academic, and financial stresses. The Government of Canada has launched a new online Wellness Together Canada platform providing free online resources, tools, apps and connections to trained volunteers and qualified mental health professionals. Be sure to take advantage of these great resources.

Consult our COVID-19 resources page for more tips on online learning and teaching.

Continuing business and advocacy during COVID-19

As we all continue to work together to support each other and those most vulnerable in our communities, we are pleased to share clarification from the federal government on a few recent advocacy wins that benefit students:

Don’t forget that our COVID-19 webpage gathers all of our most recent updates, including advocacy with the federal government and freely available teaching and learning resources. Be sure to check in often! Join our weekly webinar series for updates on our efforts in Ottawa and to share amongst yourselves how the situation is evolving in your various regions and what approaches you are taking to tackle the challenges. Join us every Friday!

Postponement of Leadership Institutes

Given the continuing concerns over  COVID-19, and in keeping with the recommendations of public health officials to avoid large gatherings and limit non-essential travel, we have made the difficult decision to postpone this year’s summer Leadership Institutes to June 2021. Registered participants have been contacted and are eligible for a full refund or transfer of registration fees to summer 2021.

Leadership Institutes scheduled to take place in November 2020 will continue as planned unless otherwise noted. Our primary concern has been, and will always remain, the health and well-being of our members, participants, and partners.

Help identify challenges posed by COVID-19

As the COVID-19 crisis is affecting the way we work and learn in an unprecedented manner, take a few minutes to help identify current challenges and assess the future impacts of the crisis on teaching and learning.

Statistics Canada is looking to hear from post-secondary students how the current crisis has affected their studies and financial situation, including concerns about their academic future, and the financial strain of paying for tuition, rent and other expenses as a result of the pandemic. Share your perspectives with Statistics Canada.

The United Nations International Labour Organization (ILO) and UNESCO also want to know how each of you are feeling repercussions of the crisis. Help technical and vocational education and training (TVET) providers, policymakers, and social partners develop quick, practical, and innovative solutions to identify and address challenges faced by training institutions in order to better prepare for potential negative impact of the crisis. Share what responses are urgently needed to address the crisis and its impacts.

New innovation opportunities to bring researchers together

Researchers across the country are coming together to fight COVID-19 and collaborating to bring their expertise and ideas to their fullest potential. Through the College and Community Innovation program, NSERC, CIHR, and SSHRC are rapidly mobilizing college and institute expertise with new funding opportunities.

Grants of up to $75,000 for one-year projects are being made available on expedited timelines.

Canadian scientists and research partners have also launched two unique platforms designed to maximize innovation potential:

  • The new CanCOVID platform, as mandated by Canada’s Chief Science Officer, Dr Mona Nemer, will expedite communication and collaboration between the scientific, healthcare and policy communities during the COVID-19 crisis; and,
  • Put together by a group of Canadian researchers, students, activists and web developers, COVID-19 Resources Canada is a central hub designed to help those involved in COVID-19 research and development in Canada to locate human resources, expertise, equipment, and information in a timely manner.

Visit both to help Canadians maximize their innovation potential.

Eureka! Moment

Did you know that the Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology has launched a new program with Film Training Manitoba as a creative new way to sustain learning through online platforms during COVID-19? The web-based ACTION! Program offers 30 MITT students or alumni from carpentry, hairstyling, and culinary arts a free tuition credit towards FTM’s online courses and opens participants up to a variety of new and exciting employment opportunities!

Appointments

The Centre technologique en aérospatiale (CTA) at the Cégep Édouard-Montpetit announced the appointment of Francis Archambault as the centre’s new director general. With 25 years of experience in management and business development in the aerospace sector, Archambault joined CTA in 2019 and took on his new role earlier this month.

The Institut de tourisme et d’hôtellerie du Québec announced the reappointment of Liza Frulla as the institute’s director general. In the position since 2015, Frulla’s mandate has been renewed for an additional five years.

Cégep Garneau announced the appointment of Caroline Boulay to the position of Director of Continuing Education. With 20 years of experience at Cégep Garneau, Boulay will take on her new role effective May 6.

Send Us Your News

One of our main goals at Colleges and Institutes Canada is to champion and share the innovations and awesomeness of our members. You can help! We want to hear about your new applied research, industry and community partnerships, international education, important financial investments and more. Add media@collegesinstitutes.ca to your media mailing lists! We’ll share member institution News Releases and other upcoming announcements online and with our national media contacts based in Ottawa.