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Ottawa's universities, colleges get provincial boost

Ontario is investing over $2-million into Ottawa's universities and colleges to help them better their programs and improve their students' learning experiences.

Carleton, Algonquin and La Cite Collegiale are getting $500,000 each.

John Shepherd, the vice-provost and associate vice president of academics at Carleton told CFRA they will use money to implement a new program review process to improve quality and cost savings.

"The purpose of this is so that academic units and departments can really understand how the improvements they want to make are going to affect the financial picture, not only with respect to costs, but also with respect to recruitment and revenues," he said.

They'll also bolster their university teaching certificate.

"The new one will give the teaching staff the background and knowledge they need to really move into online and blended learning," he said. "It's not just a matter of putting these things on video. You really have to step back and think through the pedagogy from scratch if you're going to do this successfully," he said.

Algonquin will use the money on a number of projects, including developing and implementing a new model for curriculum development, transitioning the materials of certain programs to eTextbooks, and assessing and aligning the college's business courses and programs to increase access.

"The money that we've received will help advance our digitally connective initiative, which is essentially what we do best," said Joanne Aubut, the dean of Academic Development at Algonquin. "One of the proposals of this funding will allow us to develop three online courses that the students will be able to take at their own pace."

The University of Ottawa is getting more than $605,450 for a number of projects, including one that will ensure their programs are up to date and another to decelerate the development of online courses.

"The idea is to look at all of our programs and make sure that they still are relevant, they're up to date and also that we're delivering them in the most effective way," said University of Ottawa president Allan Rock.

He said developing online courses will make life a lot easier for students.

"We're doing what they call hybrid-courses, where they have the lectures online and then the students come on campus for in-person discussion groups."

The university got more money because it is also leading a multi-institutional project to carry out a feasibility study on the way Canadian universities process admission applications from foreign students.

La Cite Collegiale will use its $500,000 to launch a process to prioritize programs to transform and adjust the programs it offers.

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