You could say innovation is right up Haider Al-Saidi’s alley.
As chair of the Applied Computer Education (ACE) department at Red River College, Al-Saidi oversees the Business Information Technology (BIT) and Business Technology Management (BTM) programs. Both BIT and BTM make frequent use of the College’s new ACE Project Space, an interactive work hub located at 321 McDermot Ave., in Winnipeg’s Innovation Alley.
At the ACE Project Space, education and entrepreneurship co-exist. Students from the BIT and BTM programs work alongside industry leaders and entrepreneurs-in-residence to turn their enterprising ideas into realities.
“Educational institutions should lead,” says Al-Saidi, who has chaired the ACE department since late 2012, and previously chaired RRC’s Electrical Engineering Technology program.
“The model that colleges used to go by was to ask industry, ‘What do you want to do?’ and then do what they asked of us. The problem is industry will look at their immediate need, because what drives them is money. My philosophy is the opposite. I think that educational institutions should lead industry, and should provide them with new ideas to move forward. We still provide the support for industry, but also, at the same time, provide industry with new information.”
Having originated in a small room in RRC’s former Massey Building complex in 2015, the ACE Project Space moved to its new Innovation Alley digs one year ago, in January 2017.
It’s not the only aspect of the ACE department marking an anniversary this year. The BTM and BIT programs are also celebrating milestones, with BTM first being offered in January 2016 and BIT dating back a full 50 years. (In its infancy, it was known as the Computer Analyst/Programmer program; later the Information Systems Technology program was added, then the two merged into Business Information Technology.) Read More →
What began as a Red River College research project to bridge the knowledge gap in early child development — and to create educational resources to support frontline workers — has received a prestigious national award recognizing its global impact.
It was announced this week the College’s Science of Early Child Development resource is the inaugural recipient of the Canadian Association of Research Administrators’ (CARA) Public Engagement and Advocacy Award, which recognizes an individual, institution, team or project that established and maintained public engagement with research though an innovative approach.
“This award is particularly exciting as our primary goal in developing SECD is to make the rapidly expanding science engaging and accessible to those who make a real difference in children’s lives,” says Jan Sanderson, research chair at RRC’s School of Health Sciences and Community Services.
“Our team has had the opportunity to work with many amazing committed partners around the world who are now using SECD to develop the next generation of champions for young children.”
As part of their work, RRC researchers were able to point to significant and emerging scientific evidence that spoke to the benefits of creating experiences that would support brain development in children, starting in prenatal and carrying on into the first years of a child’s life.
Prior to the work undertaken at the College, this emerging knowledge was not being widely disseminated to caregivers and frontline workers, especially in remote and low-income regions around the world.
It’s this evidence — and lack of resources — that was the driving force behind SECD, which CARA selected for the award because of its tailor-made approach to addressing critical issues around early childhood development. Read More →
Students interested in the technical aspects of building design will soon be able to bring their ideas to life through a new full-time program at Red River College.
Beginning in September 2018, the College will offer a revamped Architectural Technology diploma program that prepares students for career success in the fields of architecture, engineering and construction.
The skills acquired through these programs are in high demand in sectors across the province. According to recent surveys, 98 per cent of RRC grads choose to stay and work in Manitoba, a trend that helps meet the needs of our province’s economy.
“As industry evolves in Manitoba, it’s important that we continue to redesign and create new programs that not only anticipate the changes that are emerging in industry, but allow our students to adapt to those changes as they enter into meaningful and rewarding careers,” says RRC President Paul Vogt.
“Staying ahead of the curve — and engaging with industry — ensures we can be agile in program development, while continuing to provide relevant training that ensures the success of our students and the many industries we support.”
The new program replaces the current Building Design Technology program, and was developed in consultation with representatives from a wide range of industry employers and partners. A new curriculum was created to address the current and future needs of the architectural, engineering and construction (AEC) sectors. Read More →
Would a text message from a local coffee shop offering a free espresso get you back in the door? With some help from Red River College students working out of the ACE Project Space in the Exchange District, a new Winnipeg-based service provider believes the answer is yes.
Chekkit Wifi Marketing and Analytics is the brainchild of Daniel Fayle, Myles Hiebert, Lee Klimpke and Emily Franz-Lien, whose aim is to help businesses build loyalty programs through Wi-Fi login pages and text messages.
The team members are currently Entrepreneurs in Residence at RRC’s new project space on McDermot Avenue, where they’ve been working with Business Information Technology students to develop their product.
“The knowledge and resources available at ACE and in the Exchange District is immense,” says Fayle. “When we started, we had nothing — and through ACE we have office space, networking opportunities, a boardroom to host meetings and demonstrations, and a lot of support.
“The students we worked with were a big asset and we’re grateful to have been able to provide them with an opportunity to share their skills.”
The Chekkit team’s goal is to create optimal first experiences for customers, and to generate repeat traffic for businesses that offer free Wi-Fi.
“In creating this product our question was, ‘If someone walks in the door, how do you get them back in?’ Most people, their eyes are on their phone, and they’re going to log in to Wi-Fi,” Fayle explains.
“When they log in or when they leave, they can opt in to receive great deals from the business they visited and the brand they love, so the business can send them an offer that will make them want to come back.” Read More →
A networking event that linked Red River College students with leaders in the business and technology sectors is drawing strong notices from participants and organizers, thanks largely to the connections made with local organizations who now have access to a new pool of innovators.
The province’s first-ever BTM (Business Technology Management) TalentMash, presented by RRC and the Information Technology Association of Canada, provided a day-long forum in which industry reps met with students and instructors from the College’s new BTM program, to discuss how future graduates can help bridge the gap between organizations’ business and technology functions.
“It went exceptionally well,” says program coordinator David Jones of the event.
“The feedback from both students and the industry people who attended was positive on both sides. The industry reps appreciated being able to find out what we were up to with the BTM program — because they’ve heard of it, but didn’t know really know what it was.
“And [the event] introduced students to business and to business contacts, which they found particularly helpful — being able to talk to potential employers about what they’re looking for, and what they’d be doing.”
Held Oct. 28 at the Exchange District Campus, the event also gave students a chance to showcase their career competencies to potential employers, in particular the communication, interpersonal and analytical skills now considered critical for industry success. Read More →
Local entrepreneurs, developers and tech-curious laypeople will have the opportunity to learn from one of Silicon Valley’s top User Experience (UX) designers next month.
Red River College and North Forge Technology Exchange are proud to host Willy Lai — an industry leader with over 20 years experience at top tech companies including Apple, Samsung and eBay — for a two-day workshop at RRC’s ACE Project Space on Jan. 18 and 19, 2018.
Lai will lead hands-on exercises, lectures and discussions focused on developing a strong UX across multiple platforms. The visit will mark Lai’s first time hosting a workshop in Canada and is currently the only Canadian stop on his world tour.
“It’s a little known fact that I was born in Canada (in Halifax, Nova Scotia), so I’m excited to have the opportunity to share my expertise and what I’ve learned in Silicon Valley with Canadian businesses, entrepreneurs and developers for the first time,” says Lai, who currently serves as Chief Design Officer for e-commerce site Haggleland.
“I’m looking forward to meeting with the tech and business community in Winnipeg, and to help facilitate connections that could continue to grow long after the workshop ends.”
UX design is the process of creating products that provide meaningful and personally relevant experiences across different platforms. This involves the design of both a product’s usability and the pleasure consumers will derive from using it. Lai’s workshop will cover: Read More →
Red River College will again operate on restricted holiday hours, effective 4:00 p.m., Friday, Dec. 22, 2017.
During the break, general access to the Notre Dame and Exchange District Campuses will be limited to the following hours:
- Dec. 23, 2017: Regular hours until 4:00 p.m.
- Dec. 24-26, 2017: Closed (no access)
- Dec. 27-31, 2017: 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
- Jan. 1, 2018: Closed (no access)
- Jan. 2, 2018: Resume regular hours, effective 7:00 a.m.
Lab access at the Notre Dame and Exchange District Campuses during the above hours will be limited to the classroom labs listed below. Students who are in one of the designated labs prior to closure will be given a four-hour grace period (until 8:00 p.m.) to complete their studies or project before being asked to leave. Read More →
A trio of Red River College initiatives focused on staff positivity have helped land RRC on Manitoba’s Top Employer list for the eighth year in a row.
Those initiatives include the College-wide wellness strategy known as Healthy Minds, Healthy College; Cheers for Peers, an ongoing peer-to-peer recognition program; and a day-long professional development event called RED Forum.
“These are the kinds of programs that can engage staff, help them interact with each other and dedicate time to growing themselves. It’s important for us to provide these types of resources on top of things like a solid health benefits plan, pension, and vacation to ensure staff are motivated and feel proud to work at the College,” says Lindsay Allen, Acting Director, Human Resource Services at RRC.
“These initiatives are positive incentives for self-improvement and peer recognition.”
Over the past year, major investments in the wellness and mental health of RRC employees have resulted in the hiring of a new, full-time Mental Health Coordinator responsible for the Healthy Minds, Healthy College Initiative, and for ensuring that RRC is a mentally healthy place to work and learn. Read More →
Today, Red River College opened registration for two new Anishinaabemowin language and culture courses, created to support Indigenous language revitalization in Manitoba schools.
“As a College, we are taking the lead to provide more opportunities for educators to gain a deeper understanding of Indigenous language and identity, and to continue to strengthen partnerships with Indigenous learners in our community,” says Rebecca Chartrand, RRC’s Executive Director, Indigenous Strategy.
The new courses are the first of their kind to be offered by RRC, and will be delivered through a partnership between its Schools of Indigenous Education and Continuing Education.
As a key signatory to the Manitoba Collaborative Indigenous Education Blueprint, RRC has responded to an identified need to fill the gap in opportunities for educators to learn to speak, read and write in traditional Anishinaabemowin languages. In doing so, the College will also help support and enhance Indigenous academic success.
“The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada has called for action to protect the right to Indigenous languages, including the teaching of Aboriginal languages as credit courses,” says Chartrand. “As a learning institution, it is critical for RRC to incorporate Indigenous knowledge, perspective and content to create innovative and relevant programming in order to achieve this.”
Curriculum was developed by a working group comprised of representatives from RRC and the Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Centre, as well as the Winnipeg, Seven Oaks, and Louis Riel School Divisions. The group’s priority was to ensure RRC could create programming that provides students with a deeper knowledge and understanding of Indigenous culture and language history. Read More →
It’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 →