Archive for April, 2009

Registration for Connections is Open

With less than a month to go, registration is now open for Connections ’09, the seventh annual e-Learning conference for Mohawk faculty. On May 6 and 7, we will be presenting a unique selection of Mohawk-centric offerings from e-Learning Services and the college community at large as we all continue to integrate e-learning and learning technologies into our teaching.

George Siemens from the Learning Technologies Centre at the University of Manitoba will deliver two exciting keynote addresses on Day 1, and on Day 2 we’re pleased to present John Baker, the founder and CEO of our newest educational partner, Desire2Learn.

For more information about the conference and to register for attendance, visit the website at Your registration will help us organize the rooms, lunches, refreshments, and manage the technical logistics.

Plan to join us for two great days in May.

Also: the schedule for More Connections, the e-Learning & Learning Technologies Workshop Week, is now finalized. Join us the week of June 1- 5 in i204 at the Fennell Campus for an exciting week of workshops and information sharing.

For information about the sessions and the schedule, go to
To register, go to

April 14th, 2009

Emotional Innovation

For Marco Felvus, one form of innovation required for teaching Child and Youth Worker students is all about empathy and identification. This has meant moving away from traditional textbook, cerebral learning where the students read-up on the concepts and opinions of “experts” from the field. Instead, through various field placement opportunities and speaker events, students are being encouraged to emotionally connect with the personal experiences of true-to-life people and identify with the problems they face every day.

This was the goal of the March 23rd talk given by Jodee Blanco in the McIntyre Theatre. As an adult survivor of bullying, Jodee told a horrendous and heartbreaking story that “had people crying in their seats,” a deeply cathartic experience for the audience of the packed theatre according to Marco. He further described the experience as magical for its transformative qualities, planting the seeds of new knowledge and greater understanding for all people in attendance. He continued on by saying, “this is when a true moment of learning can occur for a student who wishes to start a career in this difficult sector. All CYW faculty want students to recognize that they’re dealing with vulnerable people.” After the event, the CYW department received over 200 e-mails from audience members expressing how deeply touched they had been by the experience.

Mr. Felvus continued on to explain that “going in to a Human Services profession requires that a person be comfortable in their own skin. Jodee is one of our clients all grown up, and understanding her experience may help a student later identify with a kid who has spit in their face for example, or killed an animal.” This type of discussion is, to say the least, a very practical approach to teaching the essential intuitive skills that all Child and Youth workers must have.

March 23rd was also a day of celebration for the Child and Youth Worker department. Agency supervisors from the various field placements were also invited to the event to recognize the success the students had achieved working with kids though the seven student projects funded this semester by the Hamilton Community Foundation.

April 9th, 2009

Systemic Innovation

The College Math Project

The College Math Project provides us with a powerful behind-the-scenes example of educational innovativion that extends far beyond individual teachers and singular classrooms. For a long time, educators teaching similar subjects have acknowledged that their particular institution and subject area are at risk of existing as a “silo” that does not communicate outside itself. The resulting educational model has often left students vulnerable to inconsistent learning and unreliable skills development.

In an attempt to address this problem when it comes to crucial math skills, a massive collaborative forum has assembled for the first time to work across the educational system and in an effort to engage political decision-makers in the solution. Administrative and Educational representatives from High Schools, Colleges and Universities have met with Ministry officials to outline a pathway to future success for Ontario students. The breadth of this project is awe-inspiring: College and University Faculty, Deans, VPs and Presidents met with High school Educators, Principals and Administrators, along with representatives from the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities, all working toward common measurements and outcomes in the area of Math skills development. Never before had these disparate groups come together to decide on approaches to consistent high-quality learning for our students.

Each group within this forum collaborated on identifying solutions to problems within their area. The project is ongoing, and by next year 23 out of the 24 Ontario colleges will be involved, along with 13 school boards from across the Province. Whatever the results are from this experiment, the College Math Project has proven that it is possible to break down barriers to communication between various groups of stake-holders and view the common interests of our students as the primary focus for all factions under the educational umbrella. An innovative approach indeed!

April 6th, 2009


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