Reflections on April Board Meeting
The Board met in Montreal where we had a chance to give the Hotel Omni a bit of a test drive in advance of the conference, and it did not disappoint! Huge shout-outs to Cameron Tilson, Neil Chakraborty, and everyone on the local arrangements and program planning committees, because they are doing an amazing job!
Despite the snow that greeted us at the airport, we had a wonderful time and are predicting that Montreal will give us a conference to remember. You’ll want to pack your walking shoes and your dancing shoes – and maybe your French-English dictionary (or preferred translation app). Plans are underway to make this a truly bilingual conference that is inclusive of francophones, anglophones, and those who’d like to reach out to our colleagues across the language barrier.
We also reviewed the CIRPA communication plan, our membership categories, our professional development activities such as webinars, and of course our interim financials. Watch for more information coming soon about all those topics.
Meanwhile, if you’re thinking about submitting a proposal to present in Montreal, please reach out to Neil. He’ll be happy to help if you have questions or are unsure how your idea can best fit with this year’s “circus” theme. Presentations in French are particularly welcomed.
See you in Montreal!
What’s Trending on CIRPA Discussion Boards
On the “General Discussions” board, there has recently been conversation about Labour Market Information, Student Feedback Tools, and the Times Higher Education Impact Ranking. People shared the tools that they are using to provide labour market demand data for program reviews, including provincially produced datasets, and a commercial product called EMSI Analyst. On the student feedback side, there was discussion about the specific survey products in use, as well as ways of allowing faculty to add their own custom questions to the survey instrument. Institutions also shared whether or not they are submitting data to Times Higher Education World Ranking, and specifically the Impact Ranking component.
Over in the “Statistical Methods, Tools and Programming Languages” discussion board, the conversation about BI Tools has morphed into a scheme to start sharing R and Python code on GitHub. The PD committee has taken notice of this discussion, and is working on ways to facilitate this for members who may be new to the platform.
Webinar on on-line education
Approximately 70 institutional researchers from across the country participated in a CIRPA-sponsored webinar about online learning at the end of last month. The webinar highlighted the results of the second annual national online education survey conducted earlier in 2018. Éric Martel, in a one-hour session in French on November 28, and Dr. Tony Bates, in a similar-length webinar in English the next day, showed webinar participants how much the online landscape is changing across Canada.
“The majority of Canadian publicly-funded post-secondary institutions very strongly endorse and believe online learning is a critical part of their offerings,” noted Bates during his presentation. In fact, 74% of institutions that participated in the national survey this summer expect more online course registrations next year. Bates and Martel both highlighted that 88% of universities, 80% of colleges outside of Québec and 59% of CEGEPs currently offer some form of distance education, with most using LMS or on-demand, streamed video to deliver their online offerings. They added that one in five students in Canada is currently taking at least one online course.
Both Bates and Martel expressed their appreciation in being able to discuss the survey results with a national audience and the challenges researchers face in financing and administering it. CIRPA is grateful that these two distinguished gentlemen took the time out of their busy schedules to speak with our members. The next national survey will be conducted in the spring of 2019.
For those who missed the webinars, the recordings (and CIRPA’s previous four webinars) will be available soon on the Member365 site in the file library of the “CIRPA Webinars” section. Given the popularity of the webinar series, CIRPA plans to offer at least three presentations a year. The next webinar is planned for March 2019.
For more information about webinars or to suggest a future topic and/or presenter, please contact CIRPA Secretary David Paul at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CIRPA Calgary 2018
CIRPA Calgary was a huge success, featuring 35 presentations, 4 workshops, 2 excellent keynotes and over 200 delegates. Many thanks to the conference co-chairs Laurie Beatt of SAIT and Erin Lassiter of Mount Royal University, as well as their conference planning team, who worked tirelessly to put this year’s event together.
The conference theme – “Tuning into Data” – was a note-able thread throughout the program. The social night at the National Music Centre (Studio Bell) featured a treasure of trove of history and memorabilia, and a chorus of laughter rang through the room as comedian Brian Stollery asked, “How many IR professional does it take to count a student?”
Keynotes Jennifer Buchanan and Jonathan Love each provided some inspirational (and musically inspired) thoughts on musical therapy and learning through failure. The data theme was also woven into the programming, with many excellent presentations on data visualization, dashboards and data governance.
We welcomed some returning friends from AIR – Dr. Gina Johnson (who is from Minnesota, which is almost like being Canadian) – to continue building our connection.
We have already begun planning for next years’ conference in Montreal – October 20-22nd. Save the date!