April 20, 2021

By JAMES WELLS

A new four-year co-op degree program and saving students money on textbooks were two of the many topics discussed at Conestoga College’s Board of Governors meeting on Nov. 28.

Cyber security, one of the more prominent forms of modern defence in the 21st century, whether it be for a company, organization or a country as a whole, will make its appearance at Conestoga College in the near future. Board members were told the college is hoping to launch a new four-year co-op degree program in cyber security and intelligence, to further the college’s diversity in education.

“There has been a lot of work put into this program,” said John Tibbits, president of the college.

The plan is to offer the new program in the fall of 2018, with enrolment projections gradually climbing over time, as the public becomes more aware of its availability.

In other business, board members were told textbooks will be evolving at the college. A new initiative, in association with the Bookstore, involves converting hardcover textbooks into eText (electronic textbooks) for textbook-heavy programs. The plan will be tested with a select group of 12 to 15 programs in the fall of 2017. The idea is to make textbooks for students more convenient, affordable and accessible. Algonquin, Boreal and Lambton colleges have already implemented eTexts and received great feedback.

“It will save students 40 to 50 per cent off the cost of what a hardcover textbook would be,” said Gary Hallam, executive dean of the School of Business and Media Design.

Conestoga Students Inc. has been notified and approved of the change, agreeing that it will be of great benefit for the majority of the students.

eTexts, once officially released, will be available on most operating systems associated with laptops, iPads, tablets and smartphones. Each eText will have a sharing limitation of four devices and will be a mandatory purchase before the start of the school year.

Teachers of each program with eText learning will be able to see whether or not students are taking advantage of their eText. However, the board has said that at this moment there is no ability to “spy” on students, to see what specific pages they are reading. Teachers can merely observe if they have been opened on a device or not.

This will provide feedback on the eText initiative to see if they are getting the desired use that the initiative is projecting. With the board’s projection to save students 40 to 50 per cent, they have made it clear that the college will lose money on this initiative.

“The moral look here is, we’re making less money doing this, so we are good people in the end,” said Tibbits, as he smiled and laughed with the rest of the board members.

 

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