Textbooks remain costly in an increasingly electronic age
From the 2013 Maclean’s University Rankings
It’s a textbook case in how to annoy students. This year, OCAD University in Toronto required students in its first-year visual culture course to purchase a “custom reader,” comprised of parts from two American text- books plus additional material on Canadian and Aboriginal art. Separately the items retail for over $300. The custom text was priced at $180. But there was a problem—this art book didn’t include any actual art.
Due to unexpected expenses in obtaining copyright, the publisher simply left large white boxes where the pictures were meant to go; students were told they could look at the art online. They got outraged instead—a petition was organized, parents began blogging and local media soon picked up the cause of the artless art book.
Students are doing extraordinary things with video cameras
From the 2013 Maclean’s University Rankings
Andrew Cohen sat near the window of a south Vancouver coffee house, scribbling notes on flashcards to study for an urban geography mid-term. The fourth-year University of British Columbia student grew restive, so, naturally, he took to watching YouTube videos.
Before long, he came upon a video made by students at the University of Victoria. It was a so-called lip dub, a style of video in which students dance and mouth the words to a popular song in an enthusiastic show of school pride. Cohen put his books away within seconds.
“I stopped studying,” recalls Cohen more than a year later. Now 22 and done school, what he saw that day inspired him to become a filmmaker in Vancouver. “That totally changed my life.” He immediately started planning his own lip dub for UBC.
Not always. Some things matter more than class size.
From the 2013 Maclean’s University Rankings
It’s 11:30 a.m. and this is how the morning has gone for the 71 students in Science One at the University of British Columbia—one of the rare small-class programs that brings big universities down to a more human scale. It started with a physics mid-term, which most of these high achievers feel good about. Then a quick, unscripted shift into biology. Projected on the classroom screens was a story from that morning’s headlines about a massive phytoplankton bloom off the B.C. coast caused by a program that seeded the ocean with iron sulphate in hopes of building a salmon food source. Chemistry instructor Chris Addison happily ceded time to biologist Celeste Leander so students could discuss what she called the “justifiable concerns” of messing with the ocean environment.
That diversion is what Addison calls a “typical Science One moment.” Seated at the back of the room were other instructors in this holistic program—a physicist, a couple of biologists and a mathematician—all welcome to contribute. Instructors try to sit in on as many other classes as possible, said Addison. “That’s where you get the interplay between the disciplines.” Addison then waded into a mini-lecture on energy levels in multi-electron atoms, before the class split into groups of about six to work through a series of questions. They debated the answers among themselves, knowing they’d have to justify their reasons before the full class, if called upon. Amir Ashtari, 17, prefers the small class size to the usual first-year prospect of packed lecture halls. “Here you are amongst a group of friends who are respectful to you and also who are smart,” he said. “Even if you ask a stupid question they come and help you.” Hanne Collins, 18, said she likes the accessibility of instructors, and that they know her name. “Their doors are open and if you have a question, you just walk in,” she said. “They’re not bogged down with 500 students.”
The fights, the tears, and the desperation in Toronto
I’m standing in a shoebox -sized room with six other students, fighting over who gets to live in it.
The landlord stands back and watches. He is caught off guard by the number of people who turned up for the viewing and can’t decide who to give the keys to. So, he asks us to figure it out amongst ourselves.
Negotiations haven’t been going very smoothly.
“I’ll sign the contract,” says a female Brazilian exchange student.
“Ok,” the landlord answers.
“No,” screams another girl. “That’s not fair. I want to sign too.”
“I’m willing to pay more,” says Mike, a scraggly hipster I’ve seen at previous viewings.
Our latest campus fashion photos
Ryerson University in Toronto is known for its performing arts, television and fashion programs, so we weren’t surprised to find a few people with bold styles, from shabby chic (the holes in those jeans!) to the standout studs on Ives Phe’s jacket. After clicking on each photo, why not share your Campus Style? Tweet your photo to @maconcampus or post it on our Facebook wall.
Struggling is what teaches you the habits of success
As you cram for midterm exams and freak out about November’s essays, consider this story from the Maclean’s Guide to Canadian Universities. You’re not the only one who is struggling.
In the late summer of 1999, I drove with a friend from Calgary over the Rocky Mountains to Victoria, where I was to start university that fall. I was 18 years old. My hair was tipped blond and I had the collected works of James Joyce in my suitcase. I hadn’t read any Joyce at the time. But I wanted to be a writer. And I thought his collected works were the kind of thing a writer should have when he goes off to school.
Writing novels—being a novelist with a capital “N”—was what I had always wanted to do. Reading defined me as a kid. It was what I did better than anyone else. What I didn’t do back then, at least not outside essays, was write. No short stories. No plays. Nothing to indicate a budding creative talent. And once in university, my dream of becoming a writer lasted all of four weeks. After nurturing the vision through a decade’s suburban childhood, I gave it up after less than 30 days of actual work. What happened was this.
I was enrolled in the University of Victoria’s creative writing program. In first semester, that meant one creative writing class. One night, not long after starting, I sat on a landing in my residence building grinding through an assignment. What I had written was a mess. It was supposed to be an excerpt from a short play, but it had no characters and no plot. It was just awful dialogue about nothing. So I dropped it. Not just the assignment: the whole class—and program. My first piece was terrible and so, I figured, was I.
Are these students the best dressed yet?
Jessica Darmanin’s ninth Campus Style gallery is from her trip to Queen’s University in Kingston. Dare we say that these six students are the best dressed we’ve seen so far? We found a guy who made the blazer, jeans and bowtie combo work, plus a girl whose pearls, floral skirt and purple rims popped. The common thread in their threads? Confidence. After clicking on each of these photos, why not share yours? Tweet your fall fashion to @maconcampus or post it on our Facebook wall.
Liberal leadership candidate to speak in Ontario tonight
The company behind a proposed pipeline to carry bitumen from Alberta’s oilsands to the port of Kitimat, B.C., must develop a better plan if it wants the project to proceed, Justin Trudeau said Wednesday.
The Liberal leadership hopeful made the comments about Enbridge Inc. to reporters following a speech to party faithful inside a packed hotel ballroom in Richmond, B.C.
While he didn’t address resource issues in his speech, Trudeau did discuss them earlier in the day in Calgary, \saying it was wrong in the past, wrong in the present and will be wrong in the future to use resources to divide Canadians.
The issue has split B.C. and Alberta’s leaders, with Premiers Christy Clark and Alison Redford acknowledging they exchanged some “frosty” words during a discussion earlier this week.
Fall fashion from the engineering mecca
The latest stop on Jessica Darmanin’s Campus Style tour was the University of Waterloo. If ever there was proof that engineers are practical people, it’s in these photos. Waterloo engineers dress even more slack than guys at Guelph with jeans, zip-ups and big backpacks (probably full of computer gear). There are, of course, exceptions, like a few psychology students. After clicking each photo, why not show us your style? Tweet your photo to @maconcampus or post it on Facebook.
See what students are wearing this fall
Guelph doesn’t shy away from its agriculture and veterinary school roots, so it’s no surprise that leather boots and leather jackets are in style. Unlike at some schools, it seems Guelph guys can get away with hoodies and shades. These photos are from Jessica Darmanin’s campus tour where she’s keeping one eye out for campus style. Click each photo to make it bigger. Then, why not show us your style? Tweet your fall fashion photo to @maconcampus or post it on our Facebook wall.
Wolfville, N.S. fashion in photos
East Coast surfer style is all over Acadia University in Wolfville, N.S. But when they’re not in Hurley tees or Billabong hoodies, they’re at least looking more relaxed than Dalhousie kids. Check out the shots Jessica Darmanin got on the final stop of her tour of Atlantic Canada where she captured campus fashion. Click each photo to make it bigger. Then, why not show us your latest style? Tweet your fall fashion photo to @maconcampus or post it on our Facebook wall. Next up: Ontario.
Fall fashion photos from St. Francis Xavier
The girls are layering and the guys are preppy this fall at St. Francis Xavier. Antigonish, N.S. was photographer Jessica Darmanin’s latest stop on her tour of Atlantic Canada where she’s kept one eye out for campus fashion. Click on each photo to make it bigger. And then, why not show us your latest style? Tweet your fall fashion photo to @maconcampus or post it on our Facebook wall.
Our latest fall fashion photos
Earth tones, scarves, leather—that’s what’s in this fall at Mount Allison University, the top-ranked primarily undergraduate school in the Maclean’s University Rankings. Sackville, N.B. was photographer Jessica Darmanin’s third stop on her tour of Atlantic Canada where she’s kept one eye out for campus fashion. Click on each photo to make it bigger. After that, why not show us your style? Tweet your fall fashion photo to @maconcampus or post it on our Facebook wall.
Our latest fall fashion photos
Summers are short in Newfoundland and the sun sets early—7:00 p.m already tonight! To escape the darkness, Memorial University students are brightening things up with neon pinks, passionate reds and Batman yellow. St. John’s was Jessica Darmanin’s latest stop as she tours Atlantic Canada with an eye on campus fashion. Click the photos to make them bigger. Then show us your campus style. Tweet your fall fashion photo to @maconcampus or post it on our Facebook wall.
In the face of challenges, Canada’s business schools adapt
Peter Thiel’s career is the stuff of business legend. He co-founded PayPal and was the first outside investor in Facebook, paying future CEO Mark Zuckerberg $500,000 for 10 per cent of the company back in 2004. When the social networking giant held its IPO earlier this year, Thiel took home $640 million after selling off part of his stake. Since then, Facebook shares have lost half their value, but Thiel still managed to recently pocket $400 million after a regulatory lock-up agreement for insiders expired. In other words, while just about everyone else lost money on Facebook shares, Thiel made out like a bandit. It pays to get in first.
A worker shortage means big perks for mining engineers
Kyle Buckoll finished his bachelor’s degree at the University of British Columbia in April. Unlike many 23-year-old university graduates, he didn’t settle at his parents’ house in Maple Ridge, B.C., to start hunting for internships or entry-level jobs. Instead, he went on an all-expenses-paid trip to Turkey with 31 fellow class-of-2012 graduates from UBC’s mining engineering program. They marvelled at Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia, visited two of the seven ancient wonders of the world, and lounged on beach chairs in Bodrum to toast their graduation. They also toured six mines, because the flight, hotels and buses were all paid for by mining companies eager to show their largesse.
Photos from the annual orientation week event
Photographer Jessica Darmanin immersed herself in the University of Toronto’s “battle of the colleges” and Clubs Showcase last week. She also visited Ryerson University’s parade and is in the Atlantic provinces right now. Check out her shots of U of T students flaunting their school spirit:
A “white pride” club, Turkey Syndrome and dead dogs
1. Fourteen lifeguards in El Monte, Calif. were fired for a spoof video featuring Korean pop singer PSY’s signature horse-riding dance moves. Their “Lifeguard Style” video was an homage to the viral hit “Gangnam Style.” Officials say they were fired for using city property improperly, but one of the fired lifeguards says she was told by the city that they found the video “disgusting.”
2. An American student at Towson University is planning a “white-pride organization.” Matthew Heimbach, a U.S. history major, sparked controversy last year when his Youth for Western Civilization group criticized Islam and same-sex marriage. Heimbach says whites are discriminated against. Out of respect for free speech, university officials say the group will be tolerated.
3. About 2,000 people at the University of Guelph set a world record on Saturday by packaging 315,000 emergency relief meals in a single hour. The food help fight famine in Mauritania.
10 tips for university success from Prof. Todd Pettigrew
Across the country students have either just begun or are about to begin their first week of classes. If you are a first year student, it may be a surprise to you how fast things move at university. In fact, if you play your cards right, you can lay the groundwork for a successful semester in the very first week. Here are ten ways to do just that.
1. Make sure you’re in the right classes. Partly this means that you should make sure that when you tried to sign up for psychology, you didn’t actually sign up for physiology instead. Similarly, make sure that the course is what you think it is. I once had a friend who took a course called “The Art and Craft of History” and sat beside a confused kid who couldn’t understand why the prof wasn’t talking more about arts and crafts. Finally, make sure that the course is right for you. Many courses — such as language courses, for instance—expect a certain level of competence in the subject. Don’t fake it: you won’t make it.