At Home: New Education Legislation for First Nations
Bernard Valcourt, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Norther Development came under fire from First Nations when he released the proposal for new legislation governing their education systems. While the new legislation grants band councils the ability to purchase services from the private sector or regional and provincial school boards, they are angry that the legislation makes the federal government responsible for setting and enforcing standards for the schools on reserves, and that the Minister would have the power to take over a school or band appointed school authority if an inspector found problems.
Another issue with the legislation is that although it specifies that band schools must live up to federally set standards, no funding details were included and the proposal stated that those would be placed in regulation that has not yet been written and may be altered at the discretion of the Minister.
Around the World: Zombie U May Soon be a Reality
At the University of California, in Irvine, Academics are developing online courses in “Apocolypse Studies” as part of a partnership with AMC, producers of The Walking Dead. The academics involved say that the courses will be “academically rigorous and tackle serious scientific issues related to events in the show,” with a physicist looking at the “science behind decay”, or math lecturers “showing how post-calculus maths can be used to model population and epidemic dynamics” for example.
The course will be one of the first massive open online courses (MOOC) to be developed in conjunction with an entertainment group, and will be free to anybody with an internet connection. The eight modules in the course will include online tests and discussion groups, but no formal qualifications or credits will be granted for completing it. The University of California is using the course not only as a marketing tool, but also to allow them to refine how they can put courses online and to see if connecting course work with a hit product in popular culture can fix one of the biggest problems encountered with MOOCs so far: the extremely high dropout rate.