Applied Research

Business and Technology students partner with local law firm to create web app for low-income clients

November 21, 2017

BA and ACE students with Evans Family LawIt’s being billed as the “TurboTax for law,” and Red River College students are helping to bring it to the web.

Students from the College’s Business Administration program and Applied Computer Education (ACE) department have partnered with Winnipeg’s Evans Family Law Corporation, to develop an interview-based web application that allows users to access and fill out basic family law documents themselves.

In the works since last year, the app is slated to be built and brought online by RRC students sometime in 2018.

“Access to justice, particularly in family law, has been recognized as a serious issue with the legal community for some time,” says Business instructor George Allen. “It is believed the kind of technology this project is looking to implement could play an important role in addressing some of the access issues inherent in the current system.”

Allen says the project would be designed to provide Manitobans with access to court forms using intelligent documents, and to use an interview-style dialogue process for gathering client data — much like TurboTax does to complete federal and provincial tax forms.

The prospect of saving thousands of dollars in legal fees could be particularly attractive to the large number of working Canadians for whom the ability to retain a lawyer is out of reach due to costs.

“If you’re working and you’re making a certain level of income, and you have a divorce proceeding or a wills and estate issue, you won’t qualify for Legal Aid because you make too much money or you own property,” says Allen (shown above, fourth from right). “You may also be in a situation where paying $300 an hour for a lawyer is really a hardship, or even out of the question.”

“An uncontested divorce or separation is really a straightforward process that most paralegals would normally be doing under the guidance and underwriting of a lawyer. So we’re looking at taking those forms and that process and providing it at a low cost to this particular population that otherwise likely wouldn’t have access to it.”

Greg Evans, principal at Evans Family Law, says the idea is to provide some of the same services already offered at Winnipeg’s Legal Help Centre, only for an online audience.

“People are much more used to having services provided online or through online websites and applications,” says Evans (shown above, second from right). “It’s an idea that takes a look at what potentially might be the wave of the future, particularly with simple legal documents.” Read More →

RRC named top research college in Western Canada

November 2, 2017

Canada's Top 50 Research Colleges logoRed River College is now the top research college in Western Canada, according to Canada's Top 50 Research Colleges, an annual ranking conducted by Re$earch Infosource Inc. that was released today.

“It’s fantastic to once again be recognized for our overall research efforts and successes in building research and innovation capacity for Manitoba,” says RRC President Paul Vogt. “Our research programming has never been more important as we work to support the increasingly sophisticated needs of current and future graduates, employers and industry.”

This has been a marquee year for the College, with major infrastructure announcements for both its Exchange District and Notre Dame campuses. Applied research has been the impetus for much of the recent growth.

“We now have so much research-related activity happening at the College – all in response to expressed needs by industry and our community,” says Ray Hoemsen, RRC’s Executive Director of Research Partnerships & Innovation. “Being recognized as the top Research College in Western Canada validates that we are not only playing a key role in economic development, but also that our knowledge, expertise and facilities are highly relevant.”

Visit our Research Partnerships & Innovation blog to read more about the top 10 research-related highlights from the past year.

Instructors showcase emerging classroom technology with 'early adopters' from across Manitoba

October 20, 2017

RRC's Jon Ferber (centre), showcases drone technologyWhiteboards and overhead projectors are some of the things that come to mind when the average person imagines a classroom — but that image is quickly changing. Today, educators from across Manitoba are at Red River College learning how they can incorporate new and emerging technologies — including drones, video games and virtual reality — in their classrooms.

“These are the early adopters,” says Dr. Eva Brown, Emerging Technology instructor for RRC’s Teacher Education department. “Our goal with this [workshop] is twofold: to prepare educators for the expectations and learning styles of their students, and to show how educators can prepare learners for what is in front of them.”

“Today’s learners are more familiar with technology than a pen and paper. Their pen and paper is a tablet or a computer. We need to embrace technology as a mechanism for engagement and 21st century learning.”

The workshop was developed by Brown and fellow instructor Daryl McRae — along with new media technician Jonathan Ferber, from the College’s eTV Learning Technologies media lab — in partnership with the Manitoba Association of Computer Educators, as part of a year-long project supported by RRC’s Program Innovation Fund.

Focusing on emerging drone technology, the team members have been researching feasibility, interest, regulations and legalities — while also becoming certified drone pilots themselves — to assist in the development of drone-based curriculum at the College.

Rounding out the roster are RRC media technicians Murray Toews and Dylan Smitzniuk, who’ll lead the virtual reality and games components of today’s workshop.

“Evolving education is about sharing knowledge,” says Norm Gould, President of the Manitoba Teacher's Society. “Today, teachers are attending different workshops across the province to learn new skills and will share that knowledge in their classrooms, at their schools and across their divisions.

“The fact is that most students in the K-12 system have grown up with technology in their hands. It's important for us as educators to understand technology and adapt it to our lessons to meet the needs of our students.” Read More →

College engineering team to watch sparks (and SpaRRCky) fly at international eco-marathon

October 4, 2017

RRC Shell Eco-Marathon teamA rush of electricity will race through Red River College’s Notre Dame Campus this winter.

For nearly two years, a team of students from the College’s Electrical Engineering Technology and Mechanical Engineering Technology programs have been meeting every Wednesday to design and build a battery-electric race car.

This April, the vehicle will make its raceway debut at the Shell Eco-Marathon in Sonoma, California, where it’ll compete against more than 1,000 student-made cars from high schools, colleges and universities across North and South America.

The RRC team’s goal? To build the car that can go the furthest distance while using the least amount of energy.

This morning, students offered a sneak peek of their work to RRC President Paul Vogt, while officially announcing the car’s name: SpaRRCky.

“This is one of the best examples of applied learning,” says Vogt. “When you combine industry-led training with highly motivated students and faculty expertise, you can achieve great things. I am very proud that our College is a place where we can turn vision into reality, and I can’t wait to see how our racer performs in California.”

Students can enter the competition in one of two vehicle categories: Prototype, which challenges teams to enter futuristic-looking vehicles with maximized efficiency, or UrbanConcept, which focuses on practical road designs.

For both categories, teams can use any of seven official energy sources, including conventional fuels such as gasoline and diesel, or alternative fuels such as hydrogen, ethanol, gas-to-liquid (GTL), compressed natural gas (CNG), and battery electric technologies. Read More →

Twist and shout: Paterson GlobalFoods Institute celebrates fifth anniversary with pretzel-making tutorial

September 22, 2017

Susanne Gessler, Paul Vogt and Brian Bowman, Paterson GlobalFoods Institute 5th anniversaryMayor Brian Bowman and Red River College President Paul Vogt joined students from RRC’s Professional Baking and Patisserie program this morning to mark the five-year anniversary of the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute with a friendly pretzel-making bake-off.

The two were assisted by Suzanne Gessler, proud RRC graduate and owner of The Pennyloaf Bakery, a small-batch artisanal shop on Corydon. Gessler coached Bowman and Vogt while sharing her experiences as a baker and business owner — one who set aside her career as a civil servant to attend RRC’s Exchange District culinary school.

Gessler is one of more than 600 graduates who’ve passed through the doors of PGI since it became the new home to RRC’s School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts in 2012.

“Today we celebrate not only the tremendous impact the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute has had on education in our city, but also the positive impact of the College’s expansion into the Exchange District,” says Vogt.

“Restoring heritage buildings and bringing thousands of students and staff to the area has sparked new economic activity and helped revitalize this iconic community.”

Before its restoration, PGI was home to the Union Bank Tower, Winnipeg’s first and oldest skyscraper — and at one time, the tallest building in Canada. Today, the LEED Gold-certified building houses RRC’s culinary, hospitality and baking programs, as well as the College’s first-ever student residence, which is running at full capacity this year.

PGI is a key component of RRC’s Exchange District Campus, which also includes the nearby Roblin Centre on Princess Street. The campus will soon undergo a massive expansion with the construction of a 100,000-square foot Innovation Centre. Fundraising efforts supporting the new state-of-the-art facility are now underway.

“Red River College continues to be a strong anchor and foundation supporting the growth and revitalization of our downtown and the Exchange District,” says Bowman. “It’s great to celebrate the five-year anniversary of the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute, a building that continues to help foster round-the-clock activity, and it’s great to see people increasingly recognizing the Exchange as a place to visit, live and spend money.” Read More →

RRC partners with Cypher Environmental on new eco-friendly product launch

June 19, 2017

Product launch and ribbon-cutting, Cypher Environmental

Cypher Environmental and Red River College are marking the launch of a new product line developed by Cypher in collaboration with RRC students.

Cypher’s new Dust Stop Municipal Blend product is designed as a non-corrosive and environmentally friendly alternative to road salts such as magnesium chloride and calcium chloride, offering superior road dust control results.

“Cypher’s new product is a perfect example of how Red River College partners with industry to foster innovation right here in Manitoba,” says RRC President Paul Vogt. “It’s a real success story, as students and faculty worked on this project, our facilities were used, and both the Cypher president and company staff are College graduates.”

The product was launched today at an event attended by provincial Minister of Sustainable Development Cathy Cox, along with a delegation of political representatives from the Belarusian province of Mogilev, who’ve shown interest in the product.

Earlier in the day, RRC took the delegation on a tour of the campus facilities used to develop the Dust Stop Municipal Blend.

“We have been working hard on getting this new product up and running, and we’re very excited to be able to officially launch,” says Todd Burns, president of Cypher Environmental. “This product will create new jobs and revenue for the province of Manitoba and we have a growing international market to cater to.”

Cypher Environmental is a Winnipeg-based company that engineers environmentally friendly, high-quality dust control, soil stabilization, and water remediation solutions and now exports to over 30 countries.

Work on the new product was supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), and the National Research Council's Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP).

Gene Haas Foundation donates $500,000 to new Skilled Trades and Technology Centre

June 1, 2017

Haas Foundation donationThe Gene Haas Foundation has made a $500,000 donation to Red River College’s new Skilled Trades and Technology Centre (STTC), scheduled to open next year at the Notre Dame Campus.

The announcement was made at the RBC Convention Centre during the 2017 Skills Canada National Competition, taking place in Winnipeg until June 3.

“We are humbled by the generosity of the Gene Haas Foundation and their continued support of our College,” said RRC president Paul Vogt. “Not only will our Skilled Trades and Technology Centre expand our applied learning environment, it will foster a collaborative approach within our program areas that will have a positive impact on our pre-employment training, applied research projects, and overall student success. This gift from HAAS allows us to provide new and improved opportunities for our students and for that we are extremely grateful.”

With a footprint of approximately 100,000 square feet, the STTC will house new laboratory and shop space and classrooms for up to 1,000 students each year in high-demand trades and technologies. The building will be home to leading applied research, technology and innovation in the fields of robotics, automation, advanced manufacturing and more.

When operational, the STTC will boost RRC’s skilled trades training capacity by more than 30 per cent.

“Red River College has a reputation for producing high-quality and high-skilled students who turn into respected members of the workforce,” said Kathy Looman, Foundation Administrator for the Gene Haas Foundation. “We are thrilled to be a part of this state-of-the-art facility and to watch as it continues to provide RRC with the momentum it needs to continue to develop and grow to ensure student success.”

The Gene Haas Foundation also presented RRC with a $30,000 (USD) gift for the Gene Haas Awards at RRC and a $60,000 (USD) gift to Skills Canada for the Skills Canada Financial Sponsorship that awards medalists in CNC Machining and Precision Metal and Manufacturing.

Shown above, from left: Kathy Looman, Foundation Administrator, Gene Haas Foundation; Joanne Haas, representative, Gene Haas Foundation; Paul Krainer, President, Thomas Skinner & Son Ltd.; Paul Vogt, President and CEO, Red River College.

Business instructor’s social innovation work leads to prestigious CICan recognition

May 2, 2017

Tatjana Brkic, CICan Awards of Excellence 2017A Red River College instructor’s commitment to classroom innovation has earned her a prestigious honour from Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan).

Tatjana Brkic (shown above, second from left), an instructor for RRC’s Business programs, received a silver CICan Award of Excellence last night in the category of Leadership Excellence for Faculty. Held in Ottawa, the CICan ceremony recognizes best practices from post-secondary institutions across the country.

“The recipients of our awards of excellence embody the best that colleges and institutes have to offer in a variety of sectors and disciplines,” says CiCan President Denis Amyot. “They are examples of innovation and dedication that make our institutions proud and contribute to the vibrant and welcoming culture found on campuses across Canada.”

In a news release showcasing all 24 recipients, CICan described Brkic as “a leading force in the design of innovative, experience-based learning methods, [who draws] on applied research, business research and social innovation, as well as curriculum development.”

In recent years, Brkic has helped raise the profile of RRC’s Business Administration and International Business programs, through an annual showcase of social innovation-related research work conducted in partnership with local businesses and organizations.

She’ll be sharing details of the ongoing initiative — and other ideas for implementing social innovation in business — at this year’s TEDxWinnipeg conference, taking place Tue., June 6, at the RBC Convention Centre Winnipeg.

College awarded nearly $2 million in funding for industry and university partnerships

May 2, 2017

Red River College has received nearly $2 million in federal funding for applied research in aerospace, manufacturing and sustainable building technology, including a milestone for RRC in the form of its first College-University partnership grant.

“This is great news not only for the College but for aerospace, manufacturing and sustainable building technology,” says RRC President Paul Vogt. “We are placing a strong emphasis on collaboration, bridging a critical gap between colleges, industry and universities by working directly with the University of Manitoba.”

Federal Minister of Science Kirsty Duncan announced the grants during an industry breakfast at the Colleges and Institutes Canada Conference in Ottawa.

“I’m so pleased that the government of Canada was involved in such a valuable funding opportunity,” says Duncan. “Uniting Red River College with these sustainable industries will allow for brilliant minds to work towards a bright future for Canada; complete with a vibrant middle class, quality jobs and an innovative economy.”

Both grants were awarded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). The first, worth $113,000, is for a partnership with the University of Manitoba to develop a cost-effective thermally broken concrete balcony. This marks the first time RRC has received one of NSERC’s College-University Idea to Innovation Grants, signalling an ongoing commitment to collaborate with other post-secondary institutions. Read More →

College opens new project space in Innovation Alley

April 7, 2017

Red River College’s ACE Project Space and North Forge Technology Exchange today celebrated the grand opening of their new Innovation Alley locations, by officially launching several new initiatives aimed at helping startup businesses innovate and grow.

In RRC’s ACE Project Space — part of the College’s thriving Exchange District Campus — Business Information Technology and Business Technology Management students work with entrepreneurs-in-residence on new technologies, product development, and pushing innovation to the edge.

The new space has allowed the program to grow rapidly and more than double its partnerships — to 16 successful projects to date. As well, the space allows students to work closely with non-profit organizations to provide IT solutions for them and the community.

“This is about students working hand-in-hand with private industry on real-world projects in real time,” says RRC President Paul Vogt. “It provides our students with leading-edge, hands-on training and experience, while providing startups with much-needed technical support. This kind of partnership is essential to business growth and job creation in our province.”

Vogt says RRC is thrilled to partner with North Forge Technology Exchange and, together, anchor Winnipeg’s growing Innovation Alley.

“We are constantly working to support innovation on the ground floor and create critical mass for Manitoba’s startup community,” says North Forge President Jeff Ryzner. “The development of our new building at 321 McDermot advances our goals and provides entrepreneurs with a place to work together. It’s about fostering innovation, creating jobs and driving economic growth.” Read More →

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