Considering the Flip-side to Teaching and Learning

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By Leahann Renaud

To a non-teacher, the notion of a “flipped” (Baker, 2000) or “inverted” (Lage, Platt & Treglia, 2000) classroom is a relatively new concept. However, from my career perspective focused in higher education and instructional design experience, I find this method of teaching and learning to be growing in popularity. With current trends in educational reform concentrated on shifts in traditional teaching methods, I aim to explore whether the flipped classroom is really worth flipping-out over within post-secondary education (PSE).

WHAT?

The flipped classroom model suggests moving the delivery of content and curriculum outside of formal classroom hours (via video lectures, required readings, and other means), to allow face-to-face classroom time for student-teacher, interactivity and collaboration relevant to the course material (Butt, 2014, p. 33; Hill, 2013, August 26). This inverted method acts to incorporate constructivist, problem and inquiry-based learning to student-centered approaches, which are commonly regarded as more effective alternatives to traditional teacher directed instruction.

SO WHAT?

Whereas limited academic literature exists on the effectiveness of inverted classroom methods, early studies indicate that students excel in a flipped classroom environment. According to a recent North American study, the pass rate of students from San Jose State University and the grade score of students from the University of British Columbia was upwards of 30% higher for those grouped in some type of flipped course format than for those who received traditional instruction (Caramanico, 2013, December 29). Reports also indicate that student response to a flipped classroom model is positive. Research conducted at the Australian National University indicate that over 75% of students who participated in an inverted classroom course considered the model to be “beneficial to their learning experience compared to a didactic lecture structure” (Butt, 2014, p. 41).

While advantages of the flipped classroom can also include flexible learning schedules, efficient use of formal class time, and hands-on practical learning experiences (Hill, 2013, August 26), there is significant value in listening to what the critics are saying.

A prominent challenge with the flipped classroom model concerns student learning preferences and preparedness. Whereas this approach invokes interaction, collaboration, and socialization during face-to-face class time, learning strategies often favour extroverts over introverts, or those who prefer individual reflection within a group space (Honeycutt, 2014, February 17). A flipped classroom is not a ‘one size fits all’ model; there is potential that the approach could create a wider socio-economic gap among students, providing greater advantages to the higher-income population base with means to modern technology, as opposed to lower-income students, or those from rural areas with limited internet access (Findlay-Thompson & Mombourquette, 2014, p. 64-67). Further, we must consider what role the instructor plays within the flipped classroom, and how this influences teacher identity. Tucker (2012) argues that teachers may find themselves in a constant battle with the technology; whereas software and online tools will continue to evolve, teachers will be required to commit to training and managing flipped classroom technology to ensure the approach is effective in engaging learners (Findlay-Thompson & Mombourquette, 2014, p.   66).

NOW WHAT?

As with most unconventional approaches to teaching and learning, the concept of a flipped classroom summons various current issues within the realm of PSE, from student accessibility and learning styles to teacher identity, e-learning technology and sustainability. While the topic is gaining traction within academic literature and among online sources, further research is required in the following areas in order to better assess the effectiveness and efficiency of the flipped classroom model:

  1. Online Studies – Research generalizes the flipped classroom as consisting of blended learning formats. Further analysis is required to determine whether inverted approaches could work within learning environments offered entirely online. What are the most effective learning management system platforms currently available and what are their features?
  2. Accessibility – How might the integration of a flipped classroom model impact students with physical/learning disabilities? What services should institutions of higher education offer to ensure equal access and opportunity for all learners?
  3. Instructor/Teacher Identity – With a move toward online-system integration, how does this student-centered approach affect the role of our current instructors? What does this mean for future teacher training? Could PSE retain tenured faculty considering shifts away from traditional lecture instruction?

Additional Resources

References:

Baker, J.W. (2000). The classroom flip: Using web course management tools to become the guide by the side.” In: 11th International Conference on College Teaching and Learning (p. 12-15). Florida, United States.

Butt, A. (2014). Student views on the use of a flipped classroom approach: Evidence from Australia.
Business Education & Accreditation, 6(1), p. 33-43. Retrieved from:                 http://eds.a.ebscohost.com/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=38ca5ab0-c875-4889-b376-91541681c90b%40sessionmgr4005&vid=4&hid=4211

Caramanico, N. (2013, December 29). K-12 Blueprint: Is flipped education worth flipping for? Retrieved from: http://www.k12blueprint.com/content/flipped-education-worth-flipping

Findlay-Thompson, S. & Mombourquette, P. (2014). Evaluation of a flipped classroom in an undergraduate business course. Business & Education Accreditation 6(1), p. 63-71. Retrieved from:http://eds.b.ebscohost.com.proxy.library.brocku.ca/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=3&sid=e2174521-1f1d-4ce8-bfc2-fc6c64ffd043@sessionmgr114&hid=116

Hill, C.A. (2013, August 26). Faculty Focus: The benefits of flipping your classroom. Retrieved from:
http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/instructional-design/the-benefits-of-flipping-your-classroom/?utm_source=cheetah&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=2013.08.26%20Faculty%20Focus%20Update

Honeycutt, B. (2014, February 17). Faculty Focus: The flipped classroom: Tips for integrating moments of reflection. Retrieved from: http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/instructional-design/flipped-classroom-tips-integrating-moments-reflection/?campaign=FF140217article

Honeycutt, B. (2012, August 30). Flip It Consulting: The lecture vs. the flip. Retrieved from:
http://www.flipitconsulting.com/2012/08/30/the-lecture-vs-the-flip/

Khan, S. (2011, March). Salman Khan: Let’s use video to reinvent education. TED. Video retrieved from:
http://www.ted.com/talks/salman_khan_let_s_use_video_to_reinvent_education.html

Lage, M. J., Platt, G.J., & Treglia, M. (2000). Inverting the classroom: A gateway to creating an inclusive learning environment. Journal of Economic Education, 31(1), p. 30-43.  Retrieved from: http://eds.a.ebscohost.com.proxy.library.brocku.ca/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=38ca5ab0-c875-4889-b376-91541681c90b%40sessionmgr4005&vid=4&hid=4211

Tucker, B. (2012). The flipped classroom: Online instruction at home frees class time for learning. Education Next, 12(1). Retrieved from: http://educationnext.org/the-flipped-classroom/

The Intern

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By Michael Ou

When I recall my undergraduate education, I immediately draw on rich experiences, theories, literature, and course content that still resonate with me today. But despite these fond memories, the arts degree which I obtained was far less beneficial in offering practical and professional experience in the form of field placements and internships. In contrast, undergraduate programs in the faculty of business and law offer internship and co-op opportunities to their students as integral components of attaining a degree (Wagner, 2000). Work-integrated learning (WIL) in the form of internships, co-op, and field placements can help students gain practical work experience, enhance their resumes, improve their employable skills, and also help in determining whether a potential career is a good fit (Sattler & Peters, 2013). In Ontario colleges, WIL is described as mandatory by 82% of WIL students, meanwhile in universities, half of WIL students voluntarily chose to participate in such programs (Sattler & Peters, 2013). Does this mean that practical experiences are more important at the college level than they are for university students? Or does this instead address a need for the integration of more WIL opportunities into Ontario universities? Theoretical training is a key component of a university education, but students attending Ontario universities are demanding more practical training because they want and expect their degrees to lead to employment (Dehaas, 2013). The issue of whether Ontario universities need to offer more opportunities for students to gain practical and field experience continues to generate debate and is worth exploring in further detail.    

Benefits                     

Students attending Ontario universities want more practical training (Dehaas, 2013) therefore engaging in WIL will generate opportunities to acquire professional and practical experiences while also enabling a link between educational theories and practice (Westerberg & Wickersham, 2011).  Participation in WIL can also enable students and faculty the opportunity to collaborate while simultaneously building and strengthening relationships between the school and local community (Westerberg & Wickersham, 2011). Internships can also develop new skills, enhance or deepen areas of interest, and also aid in the exploration of possible career paths (Wagner, 2000). The opportunity to explore and practice in a chosen field of study will provide students with experiences which they can use towards shaping their future academic and professional goals.

Barriers

A primary concern with internships is that there is no guarantee of  employment upon completion (Goar, 2013). In addition, the intern experience may also vary with some acquiring relevant job skills meanwhile others may end up running errands and engaging in tasks that are unrelated to their intended goals (Goar, 2013). Interns can also potentially be overworked (Westerberg & Wickersham, 2011) and/or expected to produce the same work as other paid staff members (McGuire, 2013). For students in Ontario, two main barriers for taking on an internship include the delay of degree completion (McGuire, 2013; Sattler & Peters, 2013) as well as an inability to afford taking on an unpaid internship (Sattler & Peters, 2013; Goar 2013).

More benefits

Although internships and field placements may be unable to guarantee immediate employment, they provide students with an opportunity to actively build their own professional networks and contacts outside of the academic institution (Wagner, 2000; Williams, 2010). Building a professional network can in turn provide students with potential prospects for future employment. Another perspective to consider is that academic and professional goals may also change with time and experience. WIL can help students understand that their developing skills may also complement alternate professional and academic opportunities that they may not have initially and previously considered  (Wagner, 2000).

So what can we do about this?

The content in this blog alone would be insufficient in determining the best way to implement more WIL opportunities into Ontario universities. Further research and a collaborative effort between students, universities, local businesses, stakeholders, and community leaders are essential in order to gain support for such an endeavour.

As the two defining barriers for engaging in WIL in Ontario universities are an unwillingness to prolong completion of a degree as well as a lack of funding (Sattler & Peters, 2013), there are opportunities to address these concerns. Ontario universities should provide more WIL opportunities for programs in the faculty of arts and social sciences where WIL programs are not as prevalent in comparison to business and law programs (Wagner, 2000). Universities can also provide further clarification on the requirements of WIL participation and also provide greater flexibility for academic scheduling to accommodate WIL programs (Sattler & Peters, 2013) and student schedules.

In terms of funding, scholarships or other forms of financial assistance should be considered as options for student support (Sattler & Peters, 2013). Partnerships with local businesses, government funding and collaboration with WIL programs are also worth exploring as avenues for student funding (Westerberg & Wickersham, 2011; Wagner, 2000). There is an opportunity here for Ontario universities to ensure that their students receive an education that is rich in experience, content and applicable towards their future academic and professional goals.

References

Dehaas, J. (2013, Sept 24). Law students push for more practical skills training. Macleans. Retrieved        from http://www2.macleans.ca/2013/09/24/and-justice-for-all/

Goar, C. (2013, Mar 11). Desperate graduates work for free. The Star. Retrieved from                        http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2013/03/11/desperate_graduates_work_for_free_goar.html

McGuire, M. (2013, June 24). Internship from hell. Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from              http://chronicle.com/article/Internship-From-Hell/139951/

Sattler, P., & Peters, J. (2013). Work-integrated learning in Ontario’s postsecondary sector: The     experience of Ontario graduates (Research Publications). Toronto, ON: Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario. Retrieved from http://www.heqco.ca/SiteCollectionDocuments/HEQCO_WIL_graduating_students_stakeholder.pdf

Wagner, R. (2000, August 4). How internships can open doors for new careers. Chronicle of Higher         Education. Retrieved from http://chronicle.com/article/How-Internships-Can-Open Doors/46291/

Westerberg, C., & Wickersham, C. (2011, April 24). Internships have value, whether or not students are   paid. Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from http://chronicle.com/article/Internships-Have-Value/127231/

Williams, G. (2010, April 12). How to make a student internship successful. Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from http://chronicle.com/blogs/profhacker/how-to-make-a-student-internship-successful/23104

 

Shopping for Higher Education

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By Leslie Chin-Ting

Where do you go to school, and why did you choose the school that you went to? Think back to when you were in grade 12 thinking about going to university and what program you wanted to go into, what were some of the things that influenced your decision to go to a particular institution? The issue that I will be looking at in higher education is branding of education, and education as a business.

Higher education was once thought of as somewhere where you could explore thinking; you could reach and explore higher levels of thinking and reasoning. It was seen as a place “that nurtured ideas and innovations, built the morals of its students, and contributed to democracy through producing political and social leaders” (Natale & Doran, 2012. p. 188). In recent years, however, the way higher education is viewed has changed; universities and colleges are now seen in terms of brands; competing business that are there to provide services to their shareholders (parents and students).

The issue: The changing focus of higher education

Higher Education is still about the learning and developing a higher level of reasoning and thinking – or  is it moving more towards who has the most graduates, who can produce the most workers, and reputation? Higher education institutes are moving away from the notion of grassroots ideas, innovation, and building free thinking individuals who are looking to make a change in our democracy. Rather, because of the financial and societal demands, institutions are shifting towards more of a business model. In this sense, higher education views students as “revenue streams and colleges to businesses” (Natale & Doran, 2012. p. 187). Institutions are constantly in competition with other institutions to develop their “brand” to try and lure unsuspecting high schoolers; this begs to question what are we really paying for, for education?

Higher education in this day and age is seen as the be all, end all; there is really no question on whether or not we should continue our education after high school, but rather which one should we go to. Society has made it so that post secondary is almost mandatory. That is why I think that this issue is something that should be addressed. It should be addressed because as a society the majority of us just accept the costs and demands that post secondary education puts on us without another thought because it is just something that we have to do because if we don’t we won’t get the jobs in the end (that is, if the degree we did has any value to employers). We do not question the institutions and just accept the rhetoric that they are telling us; the hidden agendas that they are imposing on us. We need to address this issue because I think that we really need to question the developing motives of higher education institutions.

Arguments that are against higher education as a business and brand generate:

– Does this take away from learning and the exploration of higher thinking that higher education once embodied and is rather now focusing on how and what can we do to attract the most “customers” to our institution?

– Education becoming too commercialized

– More universities come to depend on research funding from businesses, and this compels more researchers to not deviate in their findings from the interests of those who fund them

– Becoming training centers for industry; training workers that fit into the frame works of industries. There is now so much focus on workplace skills, that there is little value to knowing anything that cannot help students become more ‘‘marketable’’ in the workforce

– Perpetuates the hierarchy of schools and does not allow for other institutions to break into the “market of education”

– Devalues your degree

– Creates more part time or contract positions for faculty members and as a result it could create a sense of fear or compliance with staff because they feel as though they have to concede to the agenda and wishes of the institution

Arguments that are for higher education as a business and brand generate:

– Creates competition between institutions and as a result more innovation within schools so that they can keep up with or surpass other institutions

– With outside financial intervention it allows more people to have access to higher education because it would make tuition cheaper

– Creates awareness of post secondary institutions

Possible solutions:

– Have more transparent processes

– Consultation committees that involve students and faculty, and not just the university bureaucracy

– Have a cap on who and how much can invest in the university

– Have firm rules in terms of the participation in school matters that investors can have

Higher education as a business is a matter of increasing concern because of the influential business model that is changing how and what we are learning.

Resources

Black, J. (2008). The branding of higher education. Retrieved from http://www.semworks.net/papers/wp_The-Branding-of-Higher-Education.php

Brown, R., & Carasso, H. (2013). Everything for sale? The marketisation of UK higher education.  New York, NY: Taylor & Francis Group.

Gupta, M. & Singh, P. B. (2010). Marketing and branding higher education: Issues and challenges. Review of Business Research, 10(1), 46-53.

Lancendorfer, K. M. (2007). The branding of higher education: The great awakening in the hallowed halls of academia. American Academy of Advertising Conference Proceedings, pp. 242-242.

Natale, S. M., & Doran, C. (2012). Marketization of education: An ethical dilemma. Journal of Business Ethics, 105(2), 187-196.

Waeraas, A., & Solbakk, M. (2009). Defining the essence of a university: lessons from higher education branding. Higher Education, 57(4), 449-462.

Three Problems that E-Learning Needs to Solve

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By Kaitlyn May Clancy

Online learning (often referred to as ‘e-learning’) is rapidly growing in popularity. In Ontario alone there are more than 760 online programs provided by recognized colleges and universities, constituting 15% of all courses offered (Bates, 2011).  E-learning’s growing popularity is in large part due to its convenience, accessibility, flexibility, and self-directed structure. Despite these benefits, e-learning is relatively new, and there are a number of issues with this new medium of learning. In my post I will briefly explore three of these problems.

Problem #1: Quality Concerns

How is quality controlled? Does a degree obtained from online classes hold the same value as one earned from ‘traditional’ (face-to-face) classes? Are online learners held to the same academic standards? Quality concerns include issues of academic ownership, plagiarism, and standards of assessment and evaluation.

But what can be done to improve quality?

Instructors need to make use of the technology available to them (Valentine, 2002). A big benefit to online classes is the plethora of resources available via the World Wide Web. Training facilitators how to effectively make use of the technology should be a top priority.

Furthermore, the trend toward hiring part-time contract professors needs to stop. I understand that institutions can save money by hiring part-time contract faculty, but what impact does this have on the morale of those hired (Woolsey, 2012)? How willing are they to put their own material online, only to become the property of the university? Professors need to feel valued, which is difficult when their security is constantly being threatened.

Check out the following link for a detailed guide on ensuring quality in online courses: http://www.contactnorth.ca/sites/default/files/tips-tools/A%20Guide%20to%20Quality%20in%20Online%20Learning.pdf

A few highlights from the guide include: ensuring online policies are aligned with institutional policies, establishing a committee or office to monitor quality, and ensuring that adequate resources and funding are provided for online programs.

Problem #2: Limited Social Interaction

Years after you graduate from university, what will you remember about your experience? For many people, it’s not the hours spent cramming for tests, but rather the time spent interacting with peers and faculty on campus. Group study sessions, lunch meetings, sporting activities, and other campus events, are a large part of the university experience. Although students in online classes have the opportunity to interact with classmates via discussion groups and virtual chats, the independent nature of online classes can be isolating. The absence of face-to-face interactions makes it difficult to develop relationships with other students and faculty (Kumar, 2010).

So, is there a solution?

Not entirely, but there are ways to strengthen social relationships in online courses. The facilitator has an important role in student relationships because they decide the amount of interaction. Bangert (2004) recommends that instructors encourage student-faculty contact as much as possible. This might include measures such as offering virtual office hours, or providing weekly feedback in the form of personalized messages to assess progress or address concerns. Students should also be encouraged to collaborate with classmates, which can be accomplished through group projects and discussion forums. Also consider the option of holding one or two face-to-face classes over the term.

Problem #3: 24/7 Access

Online learning gives users access 24/7 access. This sounds great, right? Wrong. In theory, the idea of being always ‘connected’ (via ‘smart’ technology), sounds appealing (Woolsey, 2013). But, at what point does this constant access become intrusive? How do you quantify the amount of time spent on tasks ‘online’ when you’re never really ‘offline’? Many students enrol in online courses under the mistaken assumption that they are less of a time commitment, which is often not the case. For facilitators, working in a ‘virtual workplace’ can be even more consuming because of expectations to be accessible at all hours of the day (Woolsey, 2013).

How can the problem of over-accessibility be solved?

One option is to limit the number of hours spent online – for both students and instructors. Students are often given a ‘minimum’ number of hours/modules that must be met, but how about a maximum? Another option is to synchronize the class and require students to be online at specified times.

Final Thoughts

The demand for online courses is growing rapidly, as more and more students are forgoing a traditional classroom for a virtual one. And while online classes may be appealing (more flexibility, independence, etc.), it is important that post-secondary institutions address concerns of quality, interactivity, and over-accessibility, among others. What are your thoughts on the future of online learning?

References

Bangert, A. (2004). The seven principles of good practice: A framework for evaluating on-line teaching. Internet and Higher Education, 7, 217-232.

Bates, T. (2011). Hard data on online learning in Ontario. Online Learning and Distance Education Resources. Retrieved from http://www.tonybates.ca/2011/02/26/hard-data-on-online-learning-in-ontario/

Kumar, D. (2010). Pros and cons of online education. NC State University IES. Retrieved from http://www.ies.ncsu.edu/successes/research-and-white-papers/pros-and-cons-of-online-education

Ontario Online Learning Portal for Faculty & Instructors. (2013). A guide to quality in online learning. Retrieved from http://www.contactnorth.ca/sites/default/files/tips-tools/A%20Guide%20to%20Quality%20in%20Online%20Learning.pdf

Valentine, D. (2002). Distance learning: Promises, problems, and possibilities. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, 5(3). Retrieved from http://www.westga.edu/~distance/ojdla/browsearticles.php

Woolsey, S. (2013). Quality and sustainability: Concerns for online course offerings in institutions of higher education. In Kompf, M., & Denicolo, P. (Eds.), Critical Issues in Higher Education, (237-252). Rotterdam, AN: Senese Publishe

Assessing Doctoral Student Preparedness

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By Jacqueline Beres

As a future doctoral student, I find this topic very interesting – and relevant. I previously hoped that my prior education would allow me to succeed in my future academic studies, and with considerable hard work, I would (hopefully!) complete my PhD and be well-prepared for the future. This may be a rather naïve approach and the notion of doctoral student preparation is a topic that evokes considerable debate and warrants future attention.

Preparedness for What, Exactly?

Doctoral student preparedness could be examined from a number of different perspectives, including students’ preparedness before, during, and after their PhD program. Essentially, this might mean assessing students’ preparedness for entry into PhD programs, their preparedness to successfully progress throughout the program, and their preparedness for a career upon completion of a PhD. This blog will focus on the latter two aspects.

Progression Through the Doctoral Program

Given the startling attrition rates of doctoral programs in the United States, which are often cited between 40-50% (Cassuto, 2013; Fullick, 2013) and the lack of public information regarding these same statistics in Canada (DeClou, 2013), progression through doctoral programs is not assured. Interestingly, the time required to complete a doctoral degree in Canada varies considerably based on academic discipline (Charbonneau, 2013; Tamburri, 2013). For example, completion rates within a nine-year time frame ranged from 78.3% of health sciences students to 55.8% of humanities students (Charbonneau, 2013; Tamburri, 2013). This nine-year window greatly exceeds the expected, and often funded, four year time frame (Tamburri, 2013).

Preparedness Upon PhD Completion

If students are successful in actually earing their doctoral degree, a number of recent reports have questioned doctoral students’ preparedness for the range of eventual careers that may follow (Carr, 2012; Maldonado, Wiggers, & Arnold, 2013). Despite many students’ hopes and intentions, the completion of a PhD no longer comes with a guarantee of a tenure track position, as the number of PhD graduates considerably exceeds the number of tenure track faculty openings (Maldonado, Wiggers, & Arnold, 2013). Instead, universities should also help students prepare for a career in other industries (Carr, 2012).

However, academic socialization, “the process by which one is taught and learns ‘the ropes’ of a particular organizational role” (Van Maanen & Schein, 1979, p.211) is usually completed by faculty members. As Fullick (2011) points out in her critical blog post, these individuals provide experiences that mimic their own lives – which usually focus exclusively on academia. Within academic preparation, there is also the contested issue of whether newly-minted faculty have sufficient training and preparation to handle the teaching requirements (Bok, 2013). While this is a critical topic within the area of doctoral student preparation, it exceeds the scope of this blog post, but nevertheless requires considerable attention elsewhere.

So What Can We Do About This?

Based on the information presented above, universities must provide transparent reporting of doctoral degree completion rates and time to completion statistics, along with other relevant data that would indicate doctoral student progression. Admittedly, it might not be self-serving for universities to release this data, so if needed, mandated action may be required.

Furthermore, it is clear additional research is needed. While authors have suggested there is no singular reason responsible for the current attrition levels (Fullick, 2011), further information could shed light on the predicted mix of factors that contribute to student distress. In conjunction with this additional research, action must be taken. Unless strategies are put in place to assist doctoral students, I see very little reason why the current reality would change, meaning students would continue to experience the lack of preparedness described above.

Finally, we must stop viewing attrition as a negative thing (Cassuto, 2013; Fullick, 2013). While this may initially seem to contradict the idea of being unprepared and subsequently withdrawing from doctoral studies, this does not explain the whole picture. Attrition only captures the number of students who did not complete their degrees. Since students are likely not given the chance to explain their decision to withdraw from doctoral studies, we should not assume that they have withdrawn because of a lack of preparation or because they “didn’t have what it takes” (Fullick, 2013, para. 3). As Cassuto (2013) points out, they may have simply realized they belong to a group whose successes lie outside of a PhD degree.

References

Bok, D. (2013, November 11). We must prepare Ph.D. students for the complicated art of teaching. Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from http://chronicle.com/article/We-Must-Prepare-PhD-Students/142893/

Carr, G. (2012, October 26). Graduate students need preparation for life outside of university. The Globe and Mail. Retrieved from http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/ national/graduate-students-need-preparation-for-life-outside-university/article4699319/

Cassuto, L. (2013, July 1). Ph.D. attrition: How much is too much? Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from http://chronicle.com/article/PhD-Attrition-How-Much-Is/140045/

Charbonneau, L. (2013, February 12). PhD completion rates and times to completion in Canada [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.universityaffairs.ca/margin-notes/phd-completion-rates-and-times-to-completion-in-canada/

DeClou, L. (2013). Linking levels to understand graduate student attrition in Canada (Doctoral dissertation). Available from Open Access Dissertations and Theses. (Paper 8771). Retrieved from http://digitalcommons.mcmaster.ca/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=9846& context=opendissertations

Fullick, M. (2011, December 14). “My grief lies within” – PhD students, depression & attrition [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.universityaffairs.ca/speculative-diction/my-grief-lies-all-within-phd-students-depression-attrition/

Fullick, M. (2013, July 17). War of attrition – Asking why PhD students leave [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.universityaffairs.ca/speculative-diction/war-of-attrition-asking-why-phd-students-leave/

Maldonado, V., Wiggers, R., & Arnold, C. (2013). So you want to earn a PhD? The attraction, realities, and outcomes of pursuing a doctorate (@ Issue Paper No. 15). Toronto: Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario. Retrieved from http://www.heqco.ca/Site CollectionDocuments/At%20Issue%20Doctoral%20ENGLISH.pdf

Tamburri, R. (2013, February 6). The PhD is in need of revision. University Affairs. Retrieved from http://www.universityaffairs.ca/the-phd-is-in-need-of-revision.aspx

Van Maanen, J., & Schein, E. H. (1979). Toward a theory of organizational socialization. In B. M. Staw (Ed.), Research in organizational behavior (Vol. 1, pp. 209-264). Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.

Access to Postsecondary Schools

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By Paul Del Gobbo

Do all Canadians have equal access to postsecondary education?

According to Statistics Canada (2010), access to postsecondary education in Canada has been a popular topic of discussion for quite some time. I feel that it is very important that all Canadians who have the passion/desire to succeed are provided equal access to postsecondary education. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, as certain individuals are granted different levels of accessibility to postsecondary education (Statistics Canada, 2010).

How do we evaluate access to postsecondary education systems?

In a Consultation Paper released by HEQCO (2012) that was titled “Performance Indicators for the Public Postsecondary System in Ontario” it was stated that access to postsecondary education could be measured by acknowledging participation (measures those who attend postsecondary education), attainment (measures those who have obtained a postsecondary degree), the engagement of specific targeted groups (some population groups receive less assistance to accessing postsecondary education) and student financial aid/debt load (postsecondary systems should address the financial situation of each student).

The Research is Telling us that …

1. The cost/affordability of postsecondary education reduces the participation rates of those from low socioeconomic backgrounds (Statistics Canada, 2010).

2. As stated by Statistics Canada (2010), “the evidence points to gaps not only across socioeconomic groups but also between males and females in terms of academic preparedness and motivation to participate in postsecondary education” (para.6). Take a moment to watch the following video clip that was released by HEQCO (2011), it is titled “Understanding the Gender Gap in University Participation.”

3. According to Statistics Canada (2010), many students do not have the interest, guidance and the requirements that are necessary to attend postsecondary educational institutions. Accessing postsecondary education is affected when students have minimal aspirations, lack motivation, are not engaged with school, have poor study habits and fail to complete high school (Statistics Canada, 2010).

4. Parental education is a factor that helps to determine if students are going to take part in postsecondary education. As addressed by Statistics Canada (2010), “parental education appears to affect participation in postsecondary education at least partly through its impact on student aspirations, high school outcomes and related factors” (para.7).

Improving Access to Postsecondary Education …

1. I personally believe that it very important to teach students financial literacy. Providing financial literacy (cost of education, rates of return, the importance of saving, how to access financial assistance) for individuals could help to improve their chances of accessing postsecondary education (HEQCO, 2011). Take a moment to watch the following video clip that was released by HEQCO (2011), it is titled “Financial Literacy and Low Income Students.”

2. The Canadian Policy Research Network (2010) has identified a few popular programs in Canada that are trying to improve access to postsecondary education. The programs are titled:
 Future to Discover
 Explore Your Horizons
 This is Your Life: A Career Planning and Educational Guide
 Youth Career Discovery

These programs are discussed in detail at the following website:
http://www.cprn.org/documents/52017_EN.pdf

3. A program offered in Toronto titled, Ryerson University’s G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education, is a program that was developed to “increase postsecondary participation by young people and adults who might not otherwise interact with or experience postsecondary education” (Ryerson University, 2011).

4. In addition, the Canadian Policy Research Networks (2010) has also addressed that the best way to improve one’s access to postsecondary education is to provide them with:
 Counselling (focusing on education and career opportunities)
 A Mentor (Career Counsellor)
 Academic Enrichment
 Web-Based Assistance (CanLearn, Youth Career Discovery …)
 Parental Assistance
 A well Trained Educator
 The opportunity to earn Scholarships

References
Canadian Policy Research Networks. (2010). Enhancing access to post-secondary education in Canada: an exploration of early intervention initiatives in selected countries. Retrieved from: http://www.cprn.org/documents/52017_EN.pdf
HEQCO. (2011). Financial literacy and low income students. Retrieved from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1G1nRr_6PUQ

HEQCO (2012). Performance indicators for the public postsecondary system in Ontario. Toronto, ON: Author.

HEQCO. (2011). Understanding the gender gap in university participation. Retrieved from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhPjyutTZF4

Ryerson University. (2011). Spanning the gaps to postsecondary education. Retrieved from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0crB5bH1e9I
Statistics Canada. (2010). New perspectives on access to postsecondary education. Retrieved from: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/81-004-x/2010001/article/11152-eng.htm#b

Teachers without Classrooms

Standard

By Cassandra Oswald

Why aren’t Teachers Getting Jobs?

Ontario teachers might as well be the cast of the next Mission Impossible. Since 2005, the number of teachers relative to the number of jobs available has significantly increased (Ontario College of Teachers, 2012). It has been reported that “two-thirds of new teachers can’t find full-time work” (Nuland, 2011, p. 416). Those who do land teaching jobs are often teaching in private schools or outside of the province or even the country (Nuland, 2011). According to the Ontario College of Teachers (2012), only “one in three of those who did find some employment, secured as much teaching work as they wanted” (p. 3). One of the major reasons for the lack of teaching jobs is that teachers aren’t retiring fast enough to create available positions. In 2008, there were 12,000 new teachers while only 4,700 were retiring (Cain & Paperny, 2013).  To see a visual representation of new teachers in comparison to retirees see: http://globalnews.ca/news/378935/increasingly-ontario-graduates-shun-teachers-college/

This is a serious issue. On average students spend 5 years in post-secondary education (4 years undergrad and 1 year teachers college) and a lot of money to become teachers. Should they have to give up their passion to become teachers because it’s not easy to become one at this time? Or should they have to move out of Ontario or Canada in order to pursue their dreams?

Is the Hiring Process Unfair?

The new hiring process makes it even harder for teachers to attain jobs. Regulation 274 forces principals to hire from among the five most senior applicants (Torstar News Service, 2013). This could mean that great new teachers aren’t even being acknowledged while worse teachers are getting the job that perhaps they don’t deserve in comparison. This new regulation has also made it that when teachers switch school boards they lose all seniority (Roshowy, 2013). In my opinion this hiring system does seem unjust; however, the senior applicants have been waiting longer. Is it fairer to hire on a first-come-first serve type basis? What are your thoughts?

Does Higher Education really lead to Employment?

“Students are not choosing to attend universities for the traditional, abstract notion of learning for its own sake; rather, many students are choosing to attend university because they have been led to believe… that a university degree is the ticket for success” (Goff, 2013, p. 102). In the end, universities and colleges are businesses (Cote & Allahar, 2011). When you buy something, you expect to get what you paid for, which would typically be career success in this scenario. It is obvious that students go to teachers college to become teachers, but they aren’t typically achieving that outcome.

According to Cote and Allahar (2011), “Instead of mass education, we have actually been providing mass certification, and the large numbers of certified ‘graduates’ are not enriching the economy or society in ways that might be expected” (p. 181). It is clear that we have a substantial issue regarding not only Ontario teachers colleges, but post-secondary institutions in general across the country. Should we be getting rid of programs that don’t translate into jobs in Canada’s economy? Should we simply choose not to enrol in programs such as Humanities and Social Studies and Teachers College as they don’t typically lead to jobs?

Are there any Solutions?

Although there aren’t many teaching jobs available in Ontario, there are jobs in other parts of the country or the world. If people are willing to travel in order to pursue their passion to teach then by all means they should. According to the Ontario College of Teachers (2012), most teacher graduates are experiencing greater success outside of the province as they experience lower rates of unemployment and underemployment as well as higher rates of attaining fulltime jobs (Ontario College of Teachers, 2012).

Another option that many new teachers are taking is working in private and independent schools (Ontario College of Teachers, 2012). In fact, one in eight of 2011 graduates who secured jobs in Ontario were hired in independent schools. Finally, as most are aware, the government has decided to convert Teachers College into a two-year program rather than one (CBC News, 2013). Also, the number of teacher candidates that colleges can accept has been decreased (CBC News, 2013). Although this too can be seen as unfair, it may offer a potential solution to the growing proportion of unemployed teachers in Ontario.

What are your thoughts?

References

Cain, P. & Paperny, A. M. (2013, Feb 13). Increasingly, Ontario graduates shun teacher’s college. Global News. Retrieved from http://globalnews.ca/news/378935/increasingly-ontario-graduates-shun-teachers-college/
CBC News. (2013, Jun 13). Ontario to overhaul teachers’ college, halve admissions. CBC News. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/ontario-to-overhaul-teachers-college-halve-admissions-1.1320533
Côté, J. E., & Allahar, A. L. (2011). Lowering higher education: The rise of corporate universities and the fall of liberal education. Toronto: The University of Toronto Press.
Goff, L. (2013). Quality assurance requirements in Ontario universities: How did we get here? In M. Kompf, & P. Denicolo (Eds.), Critical issues in higher education. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.
Nuland, S. V. (2011). Teacher education in Canada. Journal of Education for Teaching, 37(4), 409-421.
Ontario College of Teachers (2012). Transition to teaching 2012.
Rushowy, K. (2013, Aug 30). Ontario’s seniority-based teacher hiring rules shut out talented newcomers, critics say. The Star. Retrieved from http://www.thestar.com/yourtoronto/education/2013/08/30/ontarios_senioritybased_teacher_hiring_rules_shut_out_talented_newcomers_critics_say.html
Torstar News Service (2013, Feb 20). Regulation 274: Officials say new hiring rule hinders Ontario teacher diversity. Metro News. Retrieved from http://metronews.ca/news/canada/566446/regulation-274-officials-say-new-hiring-rule-hinders-ontario-teacher-diversity/

Additional Resources

McIntyre, F. (2013). Transition to teaching. Professionally Speaking. Retrieved from http://professionallyspeaking.oct.ca/march_2013/features/transition.html
Sagan, A. (2013, Nov 15). New Canadian teachers head abroad amid tight job market. CBC News. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-canadian-teachers-head-abroad-amid-tight-job-market-1.2426110
Statistics Canada. (2012). Population aged 25 to 64 with university education and their employment rate, Canada, provinces and territories, and selected OECD countries, 2009. Retrieved from http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/81-599-x/2012008/c-g/c-g002-eng.htm
The Canadian Press. (2013, Aug 26). Degree still offers wage premium over high school. Maclean’s.ca. Retrieved from http://oncampus.macleans.ca/education/2013/08/26/students-dont-pick-most-lucrative-fields-cibc-study/
The Youth and Work Blog. (2014). Is teachers college worth It? Nope, here’s the proof. Retrieved from http://www.youthandwork.ca/2013/01/is-teachers-college-worth-it-nope-heres.html