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To a Degree and Beyond

Pictured: Wendy Lawson, Dean of Health and Community Services, Jeff McIsaac, Dean of Applied Research, and Joseph Varrasso, Professor of Electrical and Computer Science

Mohawk College is offering its first stand-alone degree, along with a postgraduate certificate, in Digital Health.

“This is a major milestone for the college and it’s so appropriate that the first degree is in Digital Health, because Mohawk has such deep expertise in that space,” said Jeff McIsaac, Dean of Applied Research.

“This is a really important test case for Mohawk in launching a degree program that blends experiential and classroom learning, with industry- applied research.”

“The digital health field is rapidly growing and it’s a well-established area of excellence at Mohawk College. It makes sense to develop a degree to provide synergies in research, faculty teaching and student learning that really builds on our strengths.” States Joe Varrasso, Professor of Electrical and Computer Science.

The degree program, which is embedded in the School of Engineering Technology, combines computer science, health and business disciplines and will culminate in a capstone project. It will prepare students for careers as software developers and networkers for healthcare providers, business developers and data analysts for health tech companies, and as entrepreneurs.

“As digital and sensor technology expands, the number of healthcare applications will continue to increase. Remote digital monitoring will provide medical professionals with faster, better information to improve the patient experience. And wearable technology will improve workplace health and safety,” said David Santi, Dean of Engineering Technology at Mohawk. “Our Digital Health students will be at the forefront of those developments, as they support Canada’s healthcare sector during this period of revolutionary change.”

The postgraduate certificate program will welcome students with a prior credential in a wide variety of fields, such as health, business and technology. It will allow them to apply their current skills and deepen their knowledge of the rapidly growing field of digital health.

The development of the Bachelor of Digital Health (Honours) involved five deans and the co-design of courses and learning outcomes involved multiple program areas. The first students will begin their studies in September 2021. “To see this level of co-design is unusual but there is so much value in beginning these conversations,” said Wendy Lawson, Dean of the School of Health and Community Services.

“I expect this kind of thing will happen more often because there is much crossover of the skills needed to be successful in this employment landscape.”

Learn more at mohawkcollege.ca/DigitalHealth

Costs to go to University or College in Canada

Tuition, Room and Board fees – Create an Education Plan

A post-secondary education is an investment in the future, but it comes with significant upfront costs.

Many students have to rely on multiple streams to fund their education – parental savings, part-time jobs, student loans, and scholarships and bursaries.

Average university tuition in Ontario was $6,463 in 2019-2020, while college diplomas cost about $2,400 a year.

Factoring in room and board, food, transportation and books and supplies, the price tag for four years of postsecondary can easily reach $80,000 or more.

Here are some ways to pay those bills.

Government help

Federal or provincial student loans come with a six-month interest-free period after graduation.

Depending on need, some students will qualify for grants that don’t have to be repaid. As part of its pandemic response, the federal government has broadened financial aid eligibility and doubled maximum grants.

Apply for government financial aid at least four months before you plan on starting school because it is a long approval process.

Private student loans

In cases where students are deemed ineligible for government student loans but still need financial assistance to cover the costs of education, private financing options can fill the gap.

In most circumstances, private loans come with higher interest rates than those offered by governments that’s not always the case. Almost all Canadian banks offer a line of credit specifically for students.

Scholarships and bursaries

Most universities and colleges offer scholarships based on academic merit, extracurricular activities, volunteer service, or other distinctions, along with bursaries based on those factors combined with financial need.

Many employers offer scholarships for education, as do community and service organizations.

Scholarships Canada highlights nearly 100,000 scholarships worth $200 million every year. Many of them go unclaimed because no one applies.

The majority are not tied to marks or financial need, rather they are targeted to specific fields of study, interests, volunteer experience, and location of study.

Some of these awards require only filling out an online form, while others must come with a portfolio and references. It requires work and persistence, but that can pay off handsomely.

Parental savings: The Registered Education Savings Plan

RESPs are an effective way to save for a post-secondary education, allowing for monthly or weekly automatic deposits, and for the addition of gifts from extended family and friends.

Contributions to an RESP are topped up by way of a Canada Education Savings Grant from the government, which will equal 20 per cent of the amount you contribute to a maximum of $500 for each year ($7,200 in a lifetime for each student). Setting $2,500 a year for a student from birth to age 18 maximizes the government top-up.

Part-time jobs

Earning a steady income while studying lowers the burden of student debt. There are a range of on-campus jobs available at every post-secondary institution that will be more understanding of a student’s workload and schedule than off-campus jobs.

Consider tutoring if you have specialized expertise or excel in a certain subject, or take a job delivering food or driving for a ride-share service. The benefits are that these gig economy jobs can be tailored to class obligations.

In upper years, paid co-ops may be available that will provide invaluable experience. Start looking for those opportunities in first year.

Brock University: Augmented Reality Course Receives Top Award

Brock University’s new augmented reality (AR) marketing course has been internationally recognized.

The one-of-a-kind course offered by the Goodman School of Business recently placed first in the 2020 Innovation in Business Education Award competition by the MidAmerican Business Deans Association.

“The Goodman School of Business is the first and only business school to offer an entire course dedicated to the strategic marketing opportunities of augmented reality (AR),” said Assistant Professor of Marketing Joachim Scholz, who created and teaches Brock’s AR Marketing course. “Students who complete the course will have knowledge and experience driving creative and strategic ideation for a professionally implemented, real-world AR marketing campaign.”

In contrast to virtual reality technology, where everything a user sees is a virtual environment, AR augments a consumer’s physical environment with digital components. For example, consumers might use their phones to visualize how a sofa might look in their living room. The sofa is digital, but everything else is real.

In the AR Marketing course, students explore strategies on how AR can be successfully used to build brands, create customer experiences, and design advertising campaigns that maximize customer engagement and influence purchasing decisions.

The course adopts a virtual agency model to complement and deepen Brock University’s strong focus on experiential education.

A current trend in the marketing services industry, virtual agencies bring together several specialized agencies and external freelancers to collaborate with each other to fulfil a client project.

It allows agencies to be nimble and avoid the large rosters of permanent staff that are usually found in full-service marketing agencies.

For the AR Marketing course, students take on the role of strategic planners and the creative team within a virtual agency, whereas the execution of students’ strategies is completed by a specialized AR development studio on a pro bono basis.

Consultants from a professional creative agency help students conceive campaigns for the client and a pitch consultant from a professional marketing agency helps students communicate their strategy proposals in the most effective way.

“It’s an updated version of experiential education that increases the course’s realism and impact,” said David DiPietro, Senior Experiential Education Coordinator, who worked with Scholz on the design of the AR Marketing course. “Students develop their strategic thinking, creativity and problem solving skills by taking on a variety of senior marketing agency roles and by consulting with industry experts to bring the AR Marketing project to life.”

This is not the first year the Goodman School of Business has placed in the Innovation in Business Education Award competition. Last year, Goodman’s Internet and Social Media Marketing course led by Professor Kai-Yu Wang was awarded third place.

By Jocelyn Titone

How You Can Eat Healthy While at School

The Freshman 15 is a humorous term used to describe the weight gain many students face their first year at college. If you want to avoid packing on pounds, eat healthy, exercise, and find healthy ways to destress. In this article, you will find tips on forming good eating habits once you leave home.

The Government of Canada has a Food Guide that gives plenty of advice and recipes for staying healthy. In 2019, the government changed its strategy by simplifying the food groups. Meat and dairy have been combined, and Canadians are encouraged to eat more vegetables and less meat and dairy. Additionally, government literature produced after thorough research and scientific evidence, continues to emphasize the importance of drinking plenty of water and healthy fluids to stay hydrated.

Tips for Healthy Eating at College

It’s all about moderation. Based on the key food groups, you can build a diet plan that maximizes healthy eating at school. The following suggestions lay the basis for a balanced diet.
Dairy: Dairy and dairy substitutes help you build a strong skeletal structure. Try limiting daily intake to three servings of low-fat options, including cheese, milk, and yogurt. Look for non-dairy alternatives for your everages, like oat milk, almond milk, rice milk, soy milk, coconut milk, and so on.
Carbohydrates: You need carbohydrates to provide energy to your muscles and brain. Limit your intake to carbohydrates such as whole grain pasta and rice, corn, sweet potatoes, and other starchy vegetables. These should make up 25% of each meal.
Fats: Fats help you feel full and absorb more vitamins. Olive oil, nuts, avocado, and seeds are great sources of healthy fat.
• Fruits & Vegetables: Fruits and vegetables are packed with minerals and vitamins that produce healthy skin, hair, nails, and boost your immune system. Eat 5 servings of vegetables and fruits throughout the day. Consider categorizing by colour to build diversity. For example, you can eat carrots, apples, leafy greens, bananas, and eggplant.
Proteins: Protein includes beans, eggs, peanut or almond butter, fish, chicken, and dairy products, and you need it for healthy muscles and essential body functions.

Be Choosy in Dining Halls, Food Courts and Restaurants

Dining halls and food courts make it easy to get whatever food you’re craving. However, it’s up to you to find and stick to healthy options. Many university dining halls and restaurants post nutrition information on the menus or online. Browse through this information before you choose your meal. That way, you know that you can get healthy food you love. This helps eliminate impulse eating based on cravings alone.

Follow the guidelines below for additional smart eating tips:
Eat more kinds of food but less of it. All-you-can-eat dining makes it easy to overeat. Enjoy the smorgasbord by taking smaller amounts of each food. Pro tip: Some students find that using small plates helps them moderate their intake.
The majority of grains should include whole grains. Whether you eat cereal every morning or would love to pitch a tent next to the sandwich station, eating whole-grain options, such as 100% whole-grain bread, leads to a healthier diet.
Re-think what you drink. Sugary drinks such as cappuccinos, fruit juices, and canned soda add hundreds of calories to your daily diet. Diet drinks may reduce calories but have other negative impacts. Whenever possible, choose water as your primary beverage. Herbal teas without sugar are great, too.
Load your plate with fruits and vegetables. You can have moderate amounts of sandwiches, eggs, pizza, and other starchy carbs, but moderate these choices with fruits and vegetables in a variety of colours. Find creative ways to introduce veggies into your diet. For example, use fewer eggs and throw in veggies from the salad bar when you get to the omelet station.

Have fun finding new ways to eat healthy at college. You can limit desserts to a special treat and cut back on sauces to reduce your calorie count. Dine and dash — the longer you stay in the dining hall, the more you will eat. When you finish your meal, leave the hall, and go for a walk around campus before your next class.

Practice Moderation Not Deprivation

If your friends like to order wings and pizza, you don’t have to deny yourself. Take half a slice of pizza or a couple of wings, just don’t eat the whole pie or basket of wings. Love fries! Choose sweet potato instead of regular fries and skip the poutine and cheese! Keep healthy snack options such as fruit or whole grain energy bars in your dorm or student apartment to avoid unhealthy food cravings.

With a little effort, you can get into healthy eating habits at school. If you want to surprise your parents, bring home better grades, not extra weight!

Student Perspective Inside The Globe And Mail

Student Perspective Globe and Mail

Student Perspective is an annual feature in The Globe and Mail showcasing Ontario’s Colleges and Universities. Check out our features on how to plan during these uncertain times, online learning, and tips on choosing a school. You can also check out the many Fall and Winter 2020 Open Houses inside.

Continuing Education Incentives Help Engage and Retain Employees

Investing in ongoing training and development for employees is more than just a good idea; it could be critical to a business’ ongoing success. The rate of technological and business practice change dictates that workers at all levels must have access to continuing education to remain relevant and be able to perform their work proficiently. Also, employees are more engaged when continuing education incentives are offered, to help them progress on their career path, rise within a company and achieve both more responsibility and higher earnings.

EMPLOYERS Across Ontario Benefit from Incentivising Staff Education

According to Statistics Canada’s Survey of Innovation and Business Strategy, a quarter of firms said that lack of skills is a significant obstacle to innovation. The Canadian Council on Learning suggests, “As part of an excellence agenda for skills and higher education in Canada, employers need to take more responsibility for the training that, ultimately, produces great benefits for them. All stakeholders should take action to reduce the barriers faced by Canadians who would benefit from skills development opportunities.”

As a business owner, executive or manager, you probably understand this. Are you acting on your knowledge? Does your company presently offer incentives to employees for continuing education? With a significant percentage of workers approaching retirement age (that great population bulge we know as baby boomers) you may have difficulty sourcing experienced replacements, either from within the company or from outside. Planning for succession means offering the necessary training, and why not look within your business for capable, ambitious people who are eager to step up?

Even if you aren’t expecting to fill a substantial number of positions due to retirement, you probably see the benefit of keeping your present workforce. Studies show that offering continuing education incentives will engage workers and improve employee retention.

If you haven’t already established a continuing education program within your business, it may be time to reach out to the post secondary institutions in Ontario that offer classes that align with your training requirements. You may be experiencing a surge of technological advancements in your industry that demand new training for workers in artificial intelligence or robotics. Perhaps you require education options for D or C-level executives to learn new tools and strategies so they can excel in decision-making, organizational learning and change management.

EMPLOYEES Across Ontario Can Deliver Better Performance with Access to Ongoing Learning

For workers at all levels, if you want to advance your career, making yourself more valuable to your company through continuing education is clearly a smart strategy. Ask your HR manager, or if you work for a smaller company, your supervisor, manager or boss, if they offer any incentives for continuing education. Even if they do not have an established program, you may be able to persuade them if you can demonstrate how the course you wish to attend will improve your performance. They are likely to be amenable to supporting your further education, especially since studies have proven that higher education leads to increased productivity.

Many companies offer tuition reimbursement, usually to employees that have been with the company for at least a year. You may need to inquire about your company’s continuing education program to learn the details such as:
• Must the classes be job related?
• How many classes will the company reimburse tuition for each term?
• Do you need to achieve a specific grade to qualify for reimbursement?
• What percentage of tuition fees are eligible for reimbursement?
• Will you receive paid time off to attend classes?
• What are the limits of classes or semesters in which you may participate?
• Will these benefits or bursaries be offered to you for a postgraduate education?

In short, regardless of your present level of education and position in your company, continuing education is not simply a ‘nice’ option. In today’s rapidly evolving, knowledge driven culture, lifelong learning is a necessity. It’s time to get back to class!

Is Continuing Education Worth it? Quick Answer…Yes!

Have you ever thought about all the change and uncertainty in the world today and wondered to yourself how you will get ahead in your career? In such challenging times, how can you remain current in your field, seize upon new opportunities, and stay ahead of the wave of technological disruption?

What if we told you tens of thousands of Canadians just like you have been thinking about that same question, and they’ve come up with an answer? They decided to go back to school.

Rather than picturing teenagers with textbooks, when you think of modern postsecondary studies you should also be thinking about mid-career workers toting laptops and fresh from their office jobs downtown. You should also be picturing senior leaders looking to expand their professional network and take their careers to the next level, and late career workers exploring research questions that have stuck with them their entire working lives. And you wouldn’t want to leave out the many mature students who continue their studies via the internet.

According to Statistics Canada, in the 2017/18 academic year students aged 25 and older made up a third of all students enrolled in postsecondary studies. About 12 per cent of all students were at least age 35. Both cohorts have been steadily growing in recent years.

As Alan Shephard, president of the University of Western Ontario, said in a 2017 op-ed, “Throughout careers, people are coming back to university to acquire the enhanced skills and new knowledge that will allow them to grow and adapt professionally.” He also noted the importance of Canada’s postsecondary institutions in meeting society’s need for skilled, adaptable knowledge workers in a time when the world of work is changing rapidly.

This changing work climate doesn’t come as any surprise to those employed in sectors like transportation, retail, data entry, and manufacturing. These sectors have been just the latest victims of technological progress, forcing many workers to retrain and upgrade their skills. What some of those workers have discovered is that, rather than being an inconvenience, continuing education provides the perfect opportunity to retrain for the future and stay ahead of the curve.

A 2017 report from Dell Technologies suggests 85 per cent of the jobs that will exist in 2030 don’t exist today, and recent years have already seen many new job titles and sectors appear. Canada’s colleges and universities are leading the way in preparing for these jobs with programs that focus on emerging industries such as big data, automation, advanced manufacturing, and the environment.

For those with some working years left, enrolling in a postsecondary program allows them to upgrade their skillset, provide external and become an even greater asset to their current employer or find a new and better paying opportunity. Business, engineering, and medicine degrees tend to offer the strongest return on investment, according to a 2016 Statistics Canada report.

Some others are taking postsecondary programs as a passion project, seeking to contribute to society in a way they couldn’t during their career. They apply their existing knowledge alongside their new studies to conduct research or give back to their community.

And some enroll simply because they enjoy the challenge and the community that postsecondary studies offer. Whatever your passion, and whatever your reason, continuing education offers you the best chance of continued career success and personal growth in a rapidly changing world.

It’s Your Turn. Continuing education will help you reach your goals.

Many of our careers fall into two categories. We enjoy the sector of work we are in and want to continue to improve and advance or we are keen to investigate new options to move forward.

No matter what phase that you are at, there are options to develop the skills and knowledge you need to progress and move forward.

Continuing education might be the tool you consider while investing in yourself. Continuing education allows you to keep learning and developing by taking night, weekend or online courses. Many think they do not have the time to invest in continuing education.

Fortunately, continuing education opportunities have never been more available and accessible in Ontario. Take advantage of the information in these pages and the data available online to find out how you can better your career and find a more fulfilling and rewarding life. It’s your turn!

Continuing education faculties at Ontario Colleges and Universities are open to discuss your future. When you think about continuing education, consider these three categories:
• You know precisely what you need. A specific course that will help you advance your career. You will need to dig a bit deeper and search specific courses online to find out which curriculum, timing, locations and digital access will work best with your schedule.
• You have a good idea of a new career path or where you want to advance within your sector of work but need some guidance. Call, email or visit these fantastic Ontario Colleges or Universities and they will guide you in the proper direction.
• It would be best if you had a change. You want to turn your passion into a career or are looking to become a new entrepreneur but need help to guide you through your new career journey.

Continuing Education offices can help you do just that.

The demand for more online, in-class, or hybrid courses has made Ontario College and University continuing education programs accessible for certificate, degree or skills enhancement programs.

Are you looking for studies within health, technology, arts or literature? As more and more corporations look to challenge the status quo, innovation, technology and entrepreneurship factor in to the day to day operations.

Whether you are pursuing a higher level of education or exploring a new interest, courses are designed with your career and life aspirations in mind.

You can update your current skills or invest in new skills with flexible learning options.

Take your time, do your research, ask questions and prepare yourself to make that next step.

The beauty of continuing education is many courses launch monthly to accommodate your schedules and lifestyle. Time to take your career to the next level. Please visit StudentPerspective.ca for more information.

Expanding Expertise at his Convenience

Part-Time Learning helps busy police officer gain new knowledge

When Aly Virji was asked to lead the Toronto Police Service’s (TPS) Diversity and Inclusion Unit on an interim basis in 2017, he looked for a post-secondary program that would better equip him for the position.

Virji also wanted that program to be less than a year in length and give him the ability to complete classwork at his convenience. He found just that with Centennial College’s Part- Time Learning options, which are designed to accommodate students’ learning and schedule needs.

“It was really helpful that the program was part-time because I was working full-time during the day and teaching leadership and communication courses part-time,” says Virji, who completed Centennial’s Leadership and Inclusion program in April 2018 and today works as a detective sergeant in the TPS’s audit and quality assurance unit.

“Additionally, my son, Aydin, was only 5-years-old then. So, it was important for me to find a program that was manageable, given the other important commitments I had,” Virji says.

Because Centennial’s online courses were selfpaced and didn’t require Virji to log on to the learning system at any particular time, he was able to engage in class discussions on his own schedule. In addition to Part-Time Learning’s flexibility, he says the program’s content was extremely relevant.

“I was able to use the ideas and concepts from the course by applying them to my own organization,” he says.

A lifelong learner whose mom instilled a love of learning in him that’s resulted in three degrees and several certificates, Virji says he’s taken a wide range of courses over the last 20 years — most of which were in the traditional faceto- face format. Yet, he says, his Centennial instructor was one of the most engaging, despite the online structure.

“My instructor did a great job of keeping us focused and encouraged us to ask thoughtful questions,” he says. “This deeper level of reflection and the application of the course concepts to our respective organizations really helped us to think about the issues from a variety of perspectives. It was this diversity of thought, and the diverse perspectives of other students, that created such an engaged online community.”

Advancing your career with a hectic schedule is possible. See all of the opportunities at centennialcollege.ca/ part-time

Online Continuing Learning at Algonquin College

Algonquin College’s AC Online is a new full-scale digital campus that will answer demand in the modern workplace and serve the needs of a range of learners.

“Anyone who wants to stand out in the market or their industry, or simply wants to explore an interest or possible new direction, can find something at AC Online. And they can do so while juggling their existing work, family or personal responsibilities,” said Sara Munroe, Acting Dean of AC Online.

The digital campus offers more than 20 full-time and 60 part-time programs in business, community studies, trades, media, and information technology. Students can choose individual courses, certificates, full college diplomas and post-graduate certificates.

“One of the College’s key initiatives is its multi-year Learner-driven Plan, which focuses on providing an educational experience that is as tailored and customized and individualized as possible,” says Munroe.

That is in direct response to a shifting workplace, in which employees are expected to regularly upgrade their technological and technical skills. Algonquin is offering the flexibility to answer that need, she says.

The College has established one of the largest online course inventories nationally, says Munroe, and at any one time, has more than 4,000 full-time online students, backed by a strong team of support staff, administrators and faculty.

“We have offered many courses and programs online through our Centre for Continuing and Online Learning for many years, but AC Online takes a more formalized approach to offering a campus experience for online learners.”

Those enrolled in AC Online will get the same direction and guidance in their learning journeys as full-time on-campus students, including access to pathway advisors who help with course selection, academic pathways, student success support, and financial aid.

Courses are facilitated by people with experience in the field and the same rigour and quality assurance goes into developing online programs as traditional ones, says Munroe.

“As an established leader in online learning, we have moved to next level support for those accessing continuing education.”

Online education benefits all kinds of learners, and is particularly sought after by mid-career professionals looking to upgrade their skills but who have work and family obligations that make it difficult to commit to classroom schedules.

“I think many people would say continuing education is something they would like to do, and they see the benefit of it, but they can’t commute to our physical campus. Online is the answer.”

It is also the answer for many who are embarking on a second career or reentering the workplace or looking to shift a side job into a full-time career.

And online learning is a surprisingly social experience, says Munroe.

“There are many means of engagement and students are encouraged to expand and deepen their thinking, work as teams, and develop a community of supportive learning.”

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