The Digital Ecosystem & Canada’s Election

From disinformation to memes to political advertising, digital media are being used to generate and share information in new ways. In this talk we review the various kinds of actors and tools found in a digital ecosystem and use the case of the October 21st Federal Election in Canada to explore that ecosystem. We will discuss the use of political bots and automation, political memes, and political advertising in particular.

Dr. Elizabeth Dubois (PhD, University of Oxford) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication and member of the Centre for Law, Technology and Society at the University of Ottawa. She is also a Fellow at the Public Policy Forum of Canada and member of Assembly based at Harvard’s Berkman-Klein Center. Her work examines political uses of digital media including media manipulation, citizen engagement, and artificial intelligence.

Surge In Indian Applicants For Master’s in AI at Overseas Universities

Source: The Economic Times

Students from India are increasingly travelling overseas in order to pursue Master’s degrees in Artificial Intelligence (AI). The number of applications for prospective Indian students has doubled in the last year alone.

The AI industry currently faces a talent in shortage and specialists are in high demand. Furthermore, 20-30% of students have been said to desire a master’s specialization over a MBA. Students see AI as a field that is not only trending upward in terms of popularity but one that will lead to employability.

India: 8 Courses That Lead To High-Paying Jobs

Source: Study International

Students who take Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) courses look set to rake in the money once they enter the job market. And it seems to be a choice that will ultimately pay off, given the lucrative remuneration packages companies are giving to graduates from these fields. “Generally, STEM courses stand as one of the highest-paying jobs worldwide,” international education consultancy The Chopras managing director Natasha Chopra said.

For the complete list, visit Study International.

New Online Program Matches Freshmen With Study Abroad Opportunities

Source: Diverse

In an effort to get more students to think sooner than later about studying abroad, a new pilot program enables college freshmen to set up online profiles that match them with programs of interest around the world.

“It’s like an online dating site only instead of getting matched to people, they’re getting matched to global opportunities,” said Samantha Martin, CEO of Via TRM, a Colorado-based tech startup that launched a pilot version of the program this fall with three universities.

For the full article, please visit Diverse.

PSE Must Encourage Experiential Learning, Failure

Source: Globe & Mail via Academica

Canada’s future success will depend heavily on how well we encourage students to develop innovation skills, say members of a Globe and Mail panel. One of the best ways to do this, they add, is to provide students with the ability to try new things and to risk failure through experiential learning. Ryerson University President Sheldon Levy highlights the University of Waterloo as a strong example of a school with an effective co-op education program. “Our strategies, policies and resources have got to put young people more in the centre of the innovation agenda rather than being peripheral to it,” Levy adds. “Therefore our education systems have got to start looking at innovation as a core competency.”

Fleming College approved as Registered Education Provider by Project Management Institute

Fleming College approved as Registered Education Provider by Project Management Institute

Source: Fleming College

[CIEC Academic Member] Fleming College has been approved as a Registered Education Provider (REP) by the world’s largest project management member association, the Project Management Institute (PMI).

The designation ensures that Fleming has met PMI’s rigorous quality criteria for course content, instructor qualification, and instructional design. REPs are organizations that have been approved by PMI to help project managers achieve and maintain the Project Management Professional (PMP) ® , Program Management Professional (PgMP)® and other PMI professional credentials. The college now joins more than 1,500 REPs in more than 80 countries.

“This brings us closer to our goal of having Fleming College’s School of Business become the Project Management hub for Eastern Ontario,” said Raymond Yip Choy, Coordinator of Fleming’s Project Management program.

“We have worked to create strong links with PMI. The program has high student and employer satisfaction rates as well as newly-established community links through the completion of successful applied projects and internships. We look forward to further enhancing the reputation of this program and expanding our opportunities to provide certification in this growing career field.”

In addition to the designation, Fleming hosts the PMI Group Examination three times a year. This provides an opportunity for students and industry members to write the professional certifications at the college.

The Project Management program is a post-graduate certificate program offered at the Sutherland Campus. Through classroom sessions and applied project experience, students learn and practice how to initiate, execute and close projects incorporating scheduling tools, budgeting principles, human resource management, risk management and quality management. Communication and leadership skills are also developed and honed throughout the program. For more information on the program, visit:

About Project Management Institute (PMI)
Project Management Institute is the world’s leading not-for-profit professional membership association for the project, program and portfolio management profession. Founded in 1969, PMI delivers value for more than 2.9 million professionals working in nearly every country in the world through global advocacy, collaboration, education and research. PMI advances careers, improves organizational success and further matures the profession of project management through its globally recognized standards, certifications, resources, tools academic research, publications, professional development courses, and networking opportunities. As part of the PMI family, Human Systems International (HSI) provides organizational assessment and benchmarking services to leading businesses and government, while and create online global communities that deliver more resources, better tools, larger networks and broader perspectives. Visit us at and on Twitter @PMInstitute.

About Fleming College
Located in the heart of Central Ontario, Fleming College has campus locations in Peterborough, Lindsay, Cobourg and Haliburton. Named for famous Canadian inventor and engineer Sir Sandford Fleming, the college features more than 100 full-time programs in Arts and Heritage, Business, Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences, General Arts and Science, Health and Wellness, Justice and Community Development, Skilled Trades and Technology, and Continuing Education. Fleming College has 5,900 full-time and 10,000 part-time students, and more than 68,000 alumni.

Sheridan Offers New App to Assist International Students

Source: Sheridan College via Academica

Sheridan College has launched an app designed to offer comprehensive assistance to international students applying to and enrolling in its programs. The initial version of the app—launched in May 2015—provides those who downloaded it with help uploading study permits, airport arrival assistance, a registration checklist, and a space to store emergency contact information. It also offers guidance with day-to-day activities like grocery shopping, banking, telecom troubleshooting, and finding places of worship. The app is available in a variety of languages and has been downloaded over 1,100 times to date.

SFU Partners with Online Course Provider

Source: 24 Hours Vancouver via Academica

[CIEC Member] Simon Fraser University has partnered with the online education company Kadenze to offer SFU students access to online courses that might not be otherwise available through the university. The system will allow students to receive SFU academic credit for courses they take with recognized international institutions through the online portal. The program allows students to browse course offerings for free, then charges varying membership prices for services such as feedback on assignments or taking full-credit courses. Kadenze said that the cost of full courses starts at $300.

BC Universities Show Fastest Growth in Federal Research Funding

Source: Vancouver Sun via Academica

BC’s research universities have experienced the fastest growth rate in federal research funding, according to the Research Universities Council of British Columbia (RUCBC). RUCBC’s figures show that in 2012–13, BC universities attracted more than $700 M in research funding from outside the province and increased their per capita share of federal research grants by 148%, which is almost double the Canadian average. RUCBC Chair and [CIEC Member] Simon Fraser University President Andrew Petter said, “the fact that we’re seeing this level of growth and the fact that we are outperforming other jurisdictions I think is evidence that we’ve done a good job of hiring the best and the brightest.”

NSERC Announces $430M in Research Funding for 71 Institutions

Source: NSERC Release via Academica

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) has announced that it will award $430M to 3,800 academic researchers at over 70 Canadian universities. The funds will support long-term projects by researchers, postdoctoral fellows, and students primarily through NSERC’s Discovery Grants program. Minister of State for Science and Technology Ed Holder said, “Today’s investment in more than 3,800 researchers at 71 universities across the country ensures Canada has a broad base of talented men and women whose research continues to push the boundaries of knowledge [and] creates jobs and opportunities while improving the quality of life of Canadians.”

BC Announces $6M in Funding for Technology Skills Development

Source: BC News Release via Academica

British Columbia announced $6M in funding, to be provided through the BC Innovation Council (BCIC), in support of technology skills development. The BCIC Innovator Skills Initiative and the BC Tech Co-Op Grants Program will provide students with opportunities to enhance their skills and explore new career opportunities at small- and medium-sized technology firms, while connecting employers to a supply of talented workers. BC Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training Shirley Bond said, “this new funding will continue to help drive this development by training entrepreneurs today and generating desirable jobs for highly skilled, creative, and educated British Columbians for the future.”

NSERC 2014 Project Grants Award Almost $40M to Institutions

Source: Canada News Release via Academica

Research at the University of Waterloo got a boost yesterday from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC). uWaterloo will receive more than $5.3 M through the 2014 Strategic Project Grants for 11 research partnerships between the institution and industry. uWaterloo will also receive $9.6 M through the Research Support Fund towards the additional costs incurred during research activities. NSERC’s Strategic Project Grants are designed to increase research and training in 4 key areas: environmental science and technologies, information and communications technologies, manufacturing, and natural resources and energy. This year, $38 M will be distributed to 78 scientific teams at universities across Canada. “The best research brings talented minds together to generate exciting ideas and create the advancements of tomorrow. NSERC is proud to support these strategic projects that extend our knowledge and create new innovations that will define our future,” said NSERC President B Mario Pinto.

PSE Experiencing “System Stasis,” Not “Creative Destruction”

Source: Contact North via Academica

An opinion piece published by Contact North argues that “there is little convincing evidence that a real transformation of programs, colleges, and universities is occurring because of technology.” The essay responds primarily to the idea that PSE is becoming “unbundled,” and the claim made by Clayton Christensen—who coined the phrase “disruptive innovation”—that “a creative destruction is happening in higher education with technology as the trigger and the driver.” The essay argues that technology has not yet begun to fundamentally change timetables, program design, use of physical space, or hiring practices; moreover, it says that there has not yet been significant unbundling of programs or courses. The piece also argues that student assessment in 2015 looks much as it did in 1995, and that while mobility between colleges and universities has become commonplace, movement is “neither endemic nor substantive.” It says that badges pose little threat to present assessment systems, and that students are not actively demanding technology-enhanced learning. The essay cites several reasons for “system stasis,” including the nature of government funding and quality assurance, as well as the reality that faculty workloads inhibit faculty members’ ability to experiment with truly innovative approaches.

UBC VP Outlines 3 Common Responses to Unbundling

Source: Vancouver Sun via Academica

In an op-ed for the Vancouver Sun, UBC VP Anji Redish examines how technology is “destabilizing and empowering the educational landcape.” Redish notes that a key characteristic of the current technological moment is the disaggregation, or unbundling, of traditional university functions. Redish identifies 3 common reactions to unbundling. First, she notes that some institutions are investing in technologies that facilitate blended learning and flipped classrooms, or restructuring programs around modularization and personalized, competency-based assessment. Second, she sees more collaboration between institutions in pursuit of common goals, such as when colleges join forces with universities to provide high-quality, hands-on training bolstered by strong research expertise. Finally, she sees institutions expanding access to new segments of students. “Universities will survive this latest turbulence, but not all, and those that do may bear as little resemblance to the universities of the late 20th century as those universities did to the medieval institutions of the same name,” she concludes.

Initiatives Aim to Inspire Girls to Pursue Careers in Sciences

Source: Winnipeg Free Press via Academica

An article published by the Canadian Press highlights efforts being made by Canadian universities to attract girls to the sciences and engineering. uToronto and UBC have recently reported increases in the number of women entering their engineering programs, but there is still a significant gender gap in many STEM-related professions. According to Engineers Canada, just 18.3% of undergraduate engineering degrees awarded in 2013 went to women. PSE institutions are working with other organizations to fix that by engaging girls before they reach high school. Research has shown that many girls lose their interest in the sciences by  the time they enter ninth grade, meaning that many don’t take the advanced courses they need to enter STEM programs at university. Ottawa-based charity Actua works with 33 Canadian institutions to offer girls-only science classes in the hopes of encouraging interest and inspiring confidence in participants, as well as getting parents to encourage young girls’ aspirations for STEM-related careers.

Tri-Council Releases Open Access Policy

Source: Canada News Release via Academica

A new policy introduced on Friday stipulates that Canadians will have free online access to tri-council-funded research. Under the new Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications, all peer-reviewed journal publications funded by a tri-council agency must be made freely available online within one year. The policy will apply to NSERC- and SSHRC-funded researchers who are awarded grants after May 1, 2015; CIHR-funded researchers have been subject to a similar policy since 2008. Researchers can comply with the policy either by “self-archiving” their manuscript with an accessible online repository, or by publishing in a journal that offers open access within 12 months of publication. “With this new Open Access policy, the Tri-Agencies are adopting a single, harmonized approach to promoting Canadian research to the world. The policy both reflects and facilitates new forms of collaboration that are a hallmark of scholarship in the social sciences and the humanities,” said Ted Hewitt, Executive Vice-President of SSHRC.

CFI Awards $35M in Research Infrastructure Funding

Source: CFI News Release via Academica | January 22, 2015

The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) has awarded $35 M in research infrastructure funding to 37 universities across the country. The funding was awarded through the CFI’s John R Evans Leaders Fund, which was created to help universities develop infrastructure in order to attract and retain highly skilled researchers. Canadian Minister of State (Science and Technology) Ed Holder made the funding announcement at the University of Saskatchewan [CIEC Academic Member], where researchers will use CFI funding for projects related to animal health, pet food, biofuels, cancer, and freshwater monitoring and rehabilitation. “Thanks to new CFI-funded research tools, our researchers are working with industry partners … to come up with innovative solutions that address real-world challenges and help build healthy and prosperous communities,” said uSask VP Research Karen Chad. A complete list of recipients is available as part of CFI’s announcement.

uSask Celebrates End of Construction on New Cyclotron

Source: The StarPhoenix via Academica | December 9, 2014

Researchers, politicians, and campus leaders gathered at the University of Saskatchewan [CIEC Academic Member] last Friday to celebrate the end of construction on the institution’s new cyclotron. The $25 M technology will be used beginning in 2015 to produce medical isotopes used in imaging to help diagnose and treat diseases including cancer. The isotopes will also be used to help develop new ways of diagnosing and treating a wide range of medical conditions. “This new facility will improve human, animal, and plant health through advanced molecular imaging research. Each and every day, we are going to be helping patients,” said uSask VP Research Karen Chad. Previously, Saskatchewan had been the only non-Atlantic province without its own active cyclotron.

SFU Formalizes Partnerships with Indian Firms

SFU Formalizes Partnerships with Indian Firms

Source: SFU News Release via Academica | October 21, 2014

Simon Fraser University [CIEC Academic Member] and Ryerson University last week signed an agreement with the Bombay Stock Exchange Institute (BSEI), formalizing a letter of intent signed in January. The signing officially creates the BSEI-Ryerson-SFU Accelerator Program India, a Mumbai-based incubator/accelerator that will help entrepreneurs in both countries launch start-ups and connect with mentors, investors, and customers. SFU also signed an agreement with Indian Oil Corp Ltd (IOCL) to further their collaborative research into hydrogen and fuel cell technology. SFU previously announced plans to work with IOCL on an initiative to bring Indian PhD students to SFU to train in the fuel cell technologies, hydrogen, and clean energy, a program which will commence in January. SFU also recently announced an agreement with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations to create a new visiting scholars program.

Pearson Launches Open Badge Platform

Pearson Launches Open Badge Platform

Source: Pearson News Release via Academica | February 13, 2014

The Pearson [CIEC Academic Member] publishing company has launched an open badge platform called Acclaim, which will allow PSE institutions to recognize student achievements and learning outcomes with badges that can be shared online. Acclaim will use the Mozilla Open Badge standard, and will work with academic institutions and credentialing organizations to offer diplomas, certificates and other professional credentials as open badges. “Open badge-earners have complete control to display them wherever they choose—on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, a blog, or website—to prove their credentials,” reads a Pearson news release. “This allows potential employers to quickly and easily verify the qualifications of job applicants.”

TCS Insights: By using online badges to represent student achievement, Pearson is making it easier for students to prove their credentials to prospective employers and educational institutions alike. Students pursuing opportunities in new parts of the world will quickly be able to prove their past accomplishments without needing to request transcripts from previous schools.

Students to Be Connected Through Cloud Services

Source: Times of India | February 21, 2014

Guwahati: Students in Assam will soon be connected via cloud services, announced state education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma here on Thursday. 
Speaking to mediapersons on the sidelines of an event to distribute Netbooks among students under a government-sponsored programme, Sarma said that the education department is also aiming at providing internet connectivity for students in all colleges across the state to keep them updated. 
“We are planning to connect all the students who have got laptops and Netbooks through cloud services. Only then can the government’s initiative of providing laptops and Netbooks to students be fully effective,” said Sarma. 
The state government has been awarding free Netbook computers and laptops to students who have passed matriculation with 50 per cent or more marks. He said that plans to connect students with cloud services are aimed at keeping them in constant touch with the latest developments in the education department. 
“After the students are connected via cloud, we will be able to send them timely updates related to examinations and study routines and even send them study material,” the minister said. Cloud computing, which is a process of running a program or application over many computers connected by a network, will benefit thousands of matric passouts who have received laptop computers and Netbooks from the state government. Sarma said connecting the students through cloud services features in the state’s annual plan this year.

TCS Insights: The Indian government is achieving their goal of keeping Assam students connected to their studies by making portable computers accessible to an increasing number of students. Through this upgrade to the education system, students will have more access to course material and information than ever before.