120 episodes

Ken Steele is Canada's most trusted higher ed monitor and futurist, who co-founded the nation's leading market research firm and daily news service for colleges and universities. In this podcast, Ken will explore aspects of branding, marketing, media relations, pedagogy (teaching and learning), revenue generation and more -- as they relate to Canadian higher education in particular.

Ten with Ken (Video‪)‬ Ken Steele

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Ken Steele is Canada's most trusted higher ed monitor and futurist, who co-founded the nation's leading market research firm and daily news service for colleges and universities. In this podcast, Ken will explore aspects of branding, marketing, media relations, pedagogy (teaching and learning), revenue generation and more -- as they relate to Canadian higher education in particular.

    • video
    Speaking Out about Mental Health: Benoit-Antoine Bacon @ Carleton

    Speaking Out about Mental Health: Benoit-Antoine Bacon @ Carleton

    In pre-pandemic times, Ken Steele sits down on the Carleton University "Friendship Bench" with president and vice-chancellor (and neuropsychologist) Benoit-Antoine Bacon to talk frankly about his own journey to mental health, and his advice for students.
    Mental health has been a significant concern on higher ed campuses for a decade or more. Anxiety and depression have been rising. In Fall 2019, the National College Health Assessment found 39% of students in moderate or serious psychological distress, 49% experiencing loneliness, and 27% reporting consistently high levels of stress for the preceding year. The COVID19 pandemic has exacerbated those feelings of loneliness, stress and distress.
    But President Bacon emphasizes that mental health issues are not a new problem, although there’s a growing realization in our society of their prevalence and impact. “It’s really the new generation… that are leading the way. In many ways, we’re following their lead… because the young people are showing courage.”
    He has been quite open about his own mental health journey, even at his presidential installation ceremony in 2018 ( https://youtu.be/zI_XuTexdPo ). His father was abusive, and Benoit himself spent 20 years in and out of depression. “I thought it was important to lead from a position of honesty… Talking openly and honestly about mental health issues, their symptoms and their causes, is the first step towards addressing them, both as an individual and as society.” Certainly students at Carleton appreciate their president’s willingness to speak openly about mental wellness.
    “You don’t have to be bound by your past… The journey of healing is always continuing, it’s never ever done.” The worst scenario is to be someone who believes they don’t deserve to seek help or speak openly about the healing they need. “A live lived in trauma, by yourself, is a desperate life that you don’t want to live.”
    Mental illness has multiple causes, genetic and epigenetic, and it doesn’t matter what form of trauma a person experiences, the issue is the self-perceptions and habits of thought that hold them back. “If you’re raised in a way that you’re worthless and that the world is dangerous, you’ll never have a fun day, ever!” People need to retrain their minds to perceive reality differently: “The world is both beautiful AND dangerous… We have more control than we think about whether the world is perceived as beautiful or dangerous.”
    This part 1 of a series on mental health at Carleton. We’ll be back soon with:
    - Suzanne Blanchard, VP Students & Enrolment, on Carleton’s holistic approach to mental wellness
    - Rebecca Drodge, a recent graduate, on Carleton’s peer wellness programs
    - Shannon Noonan, Special Projects Officer for Student Mental Health Engagement and Pet Therapy, about Carleton’s impressive therapy dog programs
    Stay tuned!  Or to be sure you don’t miss them, take a moment to subscribe, here or by email at http://eduvation.ca/subscribe/
    A special thank-you again to Benoit, Suzanne, Rebecca, Shannon, and the Carleton University videographers who made this possible!

    • 12 min
    • video
    HyFlex Learning: Jenni Hayman @ Cambrian College

    HyFlex Learning: Jenni Hayman @ Cambrian College

    “Blended” approaches to teaching and learning (sometimes also called “hybrid”) combine in-class discussion and activities with a substantial proportion of online course delivery. Done well, blended courses can combine the best of online and on-campus pedagogy, improve student learning outcomes, provide flexibility for non-traditional students, and even save institutions on classroom space and operating costs. To really maximize flexibility for students, about a dozen institutions are pilot-testing “HyFlex” courses, which allow students to seamlessly shift between attending class in person, joining in synchronously online, or catching the class asynchronously later – and they can change their mind, fluidly, from day to day. HyFlex courses might just be the best way to ensure academic continuity in the face of campus disruptions, whether floods, wildfires, earthquakes, or even… global pandemics.

    This week, Ken Steele sits down (via Zoom) with Dr Jenni Hayman, Chair of Teaching & Learning at Cambrian College (in Sudbury Ontario), to learn more.
    The goal of HyFlex course design is to give students access to equivalent learning experiences, whether in-person, synchronous or asynchronous. There are “affordances” to each mode of delivery: in-person and synchronous learning provides immediacy, access to body language and conversational interaction. Asynchronous learning allows students to pace themselves, reflect more, and participate online if they are uncomfortable doing so in class. Giving students choices allows them to accommodate changing life needs, from work or childcare responsibilities to inclement weather or self-isolation. Choice also helps motivate adult learners, empowering them and engaging them more.
    Hyflex learning design starts with learning outcomes, with thought to encouraging active learning and authentic assessment. Only then does the HyFlex teacher start to think about technology and delivery modes, and the different activities that can happen in different spaces. How live on-campus students interact with online students depends on the approach of the faculty member, who needs to juggle the needs of three audiences simultaneously. At a minimum, all the students will share an asynchronous LMS shell, and ideally the students will support each other and help each other learn. “Leveraging the learners is where the gold is,” Jenni observes.
    The challenge for faculty developing and delivering effective HyFlex courses is (naturally) finding enough time for planning, for the technology learning curve, and for maximizing use of the LMS.  Hyflex takes as least as much time and effort to plan as a fully asynchronous online course. Jenni is really appreciative of the Cambrian faculty members who have been partnering with the Teaching & Learning Innovation Hub, who are open-minded and eager experimenters with pedagogy like HyFlex.
    HyFlex is still a relatively new delivery method. In addition to Cambrian, there are 8 US institutions pioneering HyFlex: Ohio State University, University of Denver (University College), University of Michigan, Montana State University Billings, San Francisco State University, University of St Thomas (Minnesota), and Peirce College (Philadelphia), and Delgado Community College (Louisiana). Internationally, HyFlex is also being used at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium.
    At Cambrian, 3 of the 4 HyFlex programs are graduate certificates, which appeal both to working Canadians and to international students. (The former find distance learning more flexible, but immigration requirements demand that the latter study in-person on campus.)
    For successful HyFlex delivery, institutions need to think through the learner experience and the experimental mode of teaching, and ensure that there are adequate supports and expertise in place to help faculty and students alike. The most important thing we are learning right now, Jenni observes, is

    • 15 min
    • video
    Festive & Furry: 2019 Holiday Special 3

    Festive & Furry: 2019 Holiday Special 3

    The fifth annual Ten with Ken Holiday Special continues our review of highlights from more than 500 college and university greeting videos released around the world last December. In part 3, “Festive & Fuzzy,” we turn to the cuddlier side of the season, with a look at campus mascots, puppy dogs, and classic movies.
    Mascots appear often in holiday videos, as we saw in parts 1 and 2, including the University of Virginia’s Cavalier, Upper Iowa University’s Pete the Peacock, Wheaton College’s Roary the Lion, James Madison University’s Duke Dog, and Cape Breton University’s Caper.  Mascots played Santa as well, such as JW the Mustang in Western University’s video.  At Atlanta’s Emory University, it was not the official mascot, Swoop the Eagle, but the “spirit” of campus, Dooley the Biology Lab Skeleton, who played Santa. The best-in-class “Mascot as Santa” video, though, came from the University of Alabama: Big Al, the elephant, was rushing around campus dispensing gifts, when he needs to figure out how to cheer up a disappointed little girl.
    Although cat videos (like my current fave, Owl Kitty) dominate the internet, when it comes to higher ed holiday videos, it’s all canines all the way! They make cameo appearances at tree-lighting ceremonies, music recitals, and even serve as a prop for presidents. An adorable golden retriever puppy warmed up the bonfire at Algoma University. Two malteses cheered up a fireside chat from Quinnipiac University president Judy Olian. At Duke University, president Vincent Price recited a poem to his golden doodle and labradoodle.
    Dogs are also increasingly the stars of holiday videos. Teddy and Travis toured the College of Veterinary Medicine at Ohio State University. At North Carolina’s Meredith College, president Jo Allen’s dog Bachelor has starred in holiday greetings for years – delivering ornaments and candy canes, making a fitness resolution and hitting the treadmill. Last year, he took us on an aerial tour of campus, flying his WWI prop plane. Bachelor has earned a special lifetime achievement award for his contributions so far.
    Landmark College president Peter Eden talked to the animals – by Facetime!  And the campus therapy dogs texted each other.  And speaking of therapy dogs, the theme of well-being has been increasing in holiday videos. The SAIT Student Association released several videos last year emphasizing support services. The Thompson Rivers University student life office produced a tongue-in-cheek video about winter wellness. And of course, plenty of videos focus on homesickness and loneliness.
    Lonely mascots often find a happy ending. At the University of California Merced, Rufus the Bobcat felt neglected by busy students until he launched a campus feel-good initiative. At the University of Guelph, Gryph snuggled up to watch holiday videos with president Franco Vaccarino. At Scotland’s University of Stirling, the mascot Squirrel was deeply depressed until he was brought into a warm circle of friends to celebrate the holidays. “Be the Difference” was the best-in-class video of this type last year.
    Often, lonely mascots parody classic Christmas movies like “Home Alone,” eating tons of ice cream and getting into trouble. Last year it was Penn State’s Nittany Lion, and the University of Alberta’s GUBA the golden bear.  But we also saw the president of Regis University, Father John Fitzgibbons, recreating holiday classics like “Home Alone,” “Elf,” “Christmas Vacation” and even “Love Actually.” With even higher production standards, the John Chambers School of Business & Economics at West Virginia U produced a wonderful best-in-class collection of movie parodies. It was matched only by another outstanding parody of “Christmas Vacation” from the University of Tennessee – Martin, in which Chancellor Keith Carver performs superbly. Of course, the other popular holiday movie parody

    • 14 min
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    Season's Eatings! 2019 Holiday Special (part 2)

    Season's Eatings! 2019 Holiday Special (part 2)

    The “Ten with Ken” Holiday Special continues with part 2: Season’s Eatings! 
    Every year, baked goods and particularly gingerbread are prominent in higher ed holiday greeting videos. Often, we see students baking together, such as in a best-in-class vid from Wellesley College last year.  More often than not, the bakers are joined by the school mascot, like Azul the Eagle at Florida Gulf Coast University. At Laurentian University, interim president Pierre Zundel made the rounds, spreading holiday cheer and deliciously empty calories around the campus library. At Cape Breton University, the cookies were a family recipe of mascot “the Caper”. At James Madison University, in Harrisburg Virginia, Duke the Dog likes to bake solo – but as a result, the cookies were shaped like dog treats!
     Decorating gingerbread cookies is an event in and of itself. At William Paterson University, in New Jersey, president Helldobler hosted a cookie decorating party at his home. Stanford University included a life-sized gingerbread house in their holiday video – with decorations that looked good enough to eat! At Utah’s Dixie State University, president Biff Williams and his family get into a food fight while baking holiday cookies.
    Gingerbread often sparks some friendly competition. At Boston University, students from Engineering and Fine Arts were pitted against each other to build the perfect gingerbread house, in an amusing best-in-class video. At the University of the Fraser Valley, culinary arts, indigenous visual art, and engineering push technology even further, creating an award-winning gingerbread house using a laser cutter. The University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee shared some amusing examples of gingerbread construction fails in another best-in-class video. Several holiday videos included campfire singalongs, like those from Algoma University or Trent University, toasting marshmallows or even making s’mores – like at Wheaton College in Massachusetts.
    Quite a few institutions released recipe-style baking videos, including “high altitude baking tips” from Colorado State University, and a 350-year-old meat pie recipe from Loughborough University. More metaphorically, the University of Waterloo Faculty of the Environment shared their own secrets for success.
    Gathering to share a holiday meal is a powerful ritual, explored in videos from Colorado College, Tarleton State University, the University of Toronto Mississauga, and the University of Windsor. But perhaps the most moving holiday video depicting a campus meal came from the University of Aberdeen. It depicted a student, away from loved ones, baking tarts to contribute to a holiday feast on campus with her friends. The warmth of the group shines through the cold winter night, as they stroll through the Aberdeen campus, and join the tree-lighting ceremony. Definitely a best in class, this was one of the overall besthigher ed holiday videos last year.
    This episode contains clips from more than 500 higher ed holiday videos that Ken collected last year. You can find our full collection of 2018 videos on Youtube at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLodJ8ParJmYXZ7unDyH9cDK-lwTwGul7B
    And we’ve started collecting 2019 higher ed holiday videos at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLodJ8ParJmYXaztYot1vitgTZ5AHfAfJk
    If you want to add one, please use this special link: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLodJ8ParJmYXaztYot1vitgTZ5AHfAfJk&jct=Tm_lbyblL2ee4fhdD9En0aFVEu-NVg
    Ten with Ken will be back in a few more days with part 3 of our Holiday Special, “When the Fur Flies” - featuring parodies of classic films and Christmas carols, multiple mascots, and plenty of wagging puppy dog tails.  To be sure you don’t miss it, be sure to subscribe at http://eduvation.ca/subscribe/
    Meanwhile, if you missed part 1, “Mid-Winter Magic,” you can catch it at https://youtu.be/NGWq5-4xWl0

    • 13 min
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    Midwinter Magic: 2019 Holiday Special - part 1

    Midwinter Magic: 2019 Holiday Special - part 1

    This year’s “Ten with Ken” Holiday Special starts with part 1: Midwinter Magic!  
    In last year’s higher ed holiday videos, campus marketers were clearly anxious about doing a good job, such as at the Bryan School of Business & Economics at the University of North Carolina Greensboro, Upper Iowa University, Chambers College of Business & Economics at West Virginia University, and Newcastle & Stafford College Group. Some campus leaders invite lots of input, such as at the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism at the University of Southern California. But president Ryan of the University of Virginia took matters into his own hands, in the best-in-class “presidential message” video.
    As always, hundreds of videos were just animated greeting cards, but some stood out from UBC Okanagan, Otis College of Art & Design in Los Angeles, and the Mellon College of Science at Carnegie Mellon University. The best-in-class “miniature campus” video came from New York’s Barnard College.  We saw tree-trimming or tree-lighting ceremonies at Sweet Briar College, Mount Saint Vincent University, King’s University College, and DePaul University. Meadow Brook Hall at Oakland University was decked with all the trimmings, while Elon University released an hour-long “yule log” video (without a fireplace).
    Many campuses are beautiful in winter, and snow sports featured in videos from Bishop’s University, McGill University, Western Carolina University, and Trent University. At the University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management staged ice sculpting. But in the southern hemisphere, the holidays fall at the height of summer – so Santa visits the University of Western Australia wearing shorts and sandals!
    One new trend in last year’s videos was giant snowglobes on campuses, including Grand Valley State University in Michigan the University of Leicester in England, and the University of La Verne.
    Although it started two years back, the use of robots in holiday videos really accelerated last year. Some good examples came from the University of South Florida, the UCLA Robotics & Mechanisms Lab, Germany’s Forschungszentrum Informatic research centre, and perhaps even the Western University Archives.
    Eschewing tradition, the Chancellor of Purdue University Indianapolis was sent on a scavenger hunt, while at Oklahoma State University, president Burns Hargis and his wife took on whitewater rafting. Chancellor Susan Koch of the University of Illinois Springfield became a cartoon and went snowboarding with the provost, while president Feridun Hamdullahpur of the University of Waterloo was turned into claymation in the best-in-class “animated president” video.
    Animated presidents were just a new twist on the longstanding tradition of amusing videos from animation students, and last year we saw good examples from Sheridan College, Centennial College, and Emily Carr University of Art & Design. The best-in-class “animated greeting” video came from Scotland’s University of Stirling.
    This episode contains clips from about 60 of the 500+ higher ed holiday videos that Ken collected last year. You can find our full collection of 2018 videos on Youtube at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLodJ8ParJmYXZ7unDyH9cDK-lwTwGul7B
    And we’ve started collecting 2019 higher ed holiday videos at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLodJ8ParJmYXaztYot1vitgTZ5AHfAfJk
    If you want to add one, please use this special link: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLodJ8ParJmYXaztYot1vitgTZ5AHfAfJk&jct=Tm_lbyblL2ee4fhdD9En0aFVEu-NVg
    Ten with Ken will be back in a couple of days with part 2 of our Holiday Special, “Season’s Eatings” - featuring gingerbread, baking, smores, campus feasts and more.  To be sure you don’t miss it, be sure to subscribe at http://eduvation.ca/subscribe/
    Meanwhile, you can watch last year’s Holiday Countdown at https://youtu.be/g1KhnHCqMqw

    • 14 min
    • video
    Makerspaces as Learning Spaces

    Makerspaces as Learning Spaces

    So-called “maker spaces” are proliferating in campus libraries, but truly effective ones require much more than a 3D printer and some shiny new toys.  This week, Ken Steele chats with Kerry Harmer, the Maker Studio Specialist at Mount Royal University, about the potential connections between academic makerspaces and undergraduate curriculum and pedagogy. Makerspaces are creative spaces for thinking differently, Kerry explains, “a place for students to make a mess, to be creative, and a safe environment to get things wrong.”
    MRU’s Maker Studio is a bright, glass-walled space on the main floor of the Riddell Library & Learning Centre. (If you missed our episode on MRU’s new $110 million library, check it out: https://youtu.be/eSM-wyyxXVs ). The Maker Studio has 3D printers and scanners, laser cutters, 7 kinds of sewing machines, and a full suite of electronics and robotics from Little Bits to ADA Fruit, Raspberry Pi, Arduino and more. (For an inventory of equipment and software see https://library.mtroyal.ca/teaching/makerstudio/resources ).
    Mount Royal’s Maker Studio is “completely barrier-free,” open to students, faculty, staff and the external community in Calgary, free of charge. Because material costs can cause users to second-guess themselves, all materials for 3D printing are offered completely free as part of the pilot year, to help build digital literacies and see how the technology gets used.
    So why do Makerspaces so often wind up in campus libraries? Meagan Bowler, Dean of Libraries at MRU, explains that “a library collection is not just a collection of books.  It can be a collection of software, of tools. It aligns with our mission to collect the things our users need to create new knowledge and get it out there into the world.” Moreover, Kerry Harmer emphasizes that locating new technologies centrally on a campus removes barriers, inspires interdisciplinary collaboration, and democratizes the technology. “There’s a real kind of magic and synergy, peer learning and self-directed learning” when students from across the university work beside each other in the space.
    A big part of Kerry’s job is working with faculty across many disciplines to develop unexpected curriculum connections for their students and class projects. Science and technology faculty and students actually seem to be using the Maker Studio less than students in the Arts and elsewhere. So far, more than 24 courses from all faculties have done coursework in the Maker Studio, from Math, Child Studies, and Interior Design, to Social Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship classes. Makerspaces are increasingly part of the learning commons in primary and secondary schools, so it’s really important that MRU’s pre-service elementary school teachers get familiar with the technologies that will be in the K-12 curriculum they will teach. In addition to working one-on-one with faculty across the university, Kerry is developing a full-day faculty workshop to expose them to the design thinking process, and the resources of the Maker Studio. Then faculty can better consider how to incorporate making experiences into their curricula, and how to assess the learning that lies behind student creations.
    Maker spaces are about much more than 3D printers, which “can only output as good as you put in.” The key, Kerry explains, is to understand that the learning in a makerspace “is not necessarily about the making; sometimes it’s about the thinking,” from problem definition and human-centred design to design thinking. The ideation process is similar, for a 3D print or a traditional essay: “The tools are just the output for the thinking that happens in the Maker Studio, which is creative, which is innovative… it’s about making change.”
    Special thanks to Mount Royal University for hosting our visit and providing the videographers for this episode.
    Next time, we’ll return to MRU to

    • 11 min

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