Students

The Great Escape: DMD coordinator blends cutting-edge curriculum with back-to-basics home life

February 26, 2018

Chris Brower, Red River College

He’s happy where he is, but that hasn’t stopped Chris Brower from planning an escape.

Brower is the coordinator of the Digital Media Design program at Red River College. Currently, he is leading a team of DMD and 3D Computer Graphics students and faculty that are creating the College’s first-ever escape room.

According to Brower, the adventure game will be time machine-themed, and will feature technology that could make even the esteemed Doc Brown utter a trademark “Great Scott!”

“It’s going to have virtual reality components,” says Brower, who’s also the instructor for the DMD program’s Video and Motion Graphics course.

“Literally, you’re going to go into this time machine, which is VR [virtual reality], and you’ll go into places in the past, like an old pirate ship and an alchemist lab, and also future places, like this dystopian future environment.

“Our students have built all the different game environments. The 3DCG faculty, Tom Lepp and Matt Broeska, have once again outdone themselves. We even have students and faculty from the Business Information Technology program helping. It’s really taken on a life of its own.”

Brower says the plan is to finish the escape room by May, then open it up to industry, and perhaps, permit the public to take a trip through time this summer.

In the fall, DMD will introduce cutting-edge courses in video game design and audio, as well as a 360 Video and Immersive Filmmaking course.

“What I love about DMD is we’re right at the crossroads of technology, art and design. We’re trying to be as cutting-edge as we can and 360-degree video is really taking off, so we want to push it as much as we can,” Brower says.

“We’re going to be training students to not only shoot and edit 360 videos, but also to add graphics and interactive components, where they can make an interactive film or game out of it.” Read More →

Cupcakes, condoms and consent: RRC students to explore healthy relationships

February 12, 2018

Cupcakes and Condoms graphicJust in time for Valentine’s Day, students at Red River College will have the opportunity to talk about intimate relationships and related issue — such as the importance of consent — in an interactive workshop aimed at promoting better health and well-being.

Taking place at noon on Tue., Feb. 13, the College’s first-ever Cupcakes and Condoms event was facilitated by Klinic Community Health and the Sexual Education Resource Centre (SERC), and delivered as part of RRC’s Healthy Minds Healthy College (HMHC) Initiative.

Breanna Sawatzky, Mental Health Coordinator at RRC, says it’s important for students to have access to workshops such as this one, so they can feel empowered to make healthy decisions.

“We know that strong, healthy relationships — whether intimate or platonic — are key to personal well-being,” Sawatzky says.

“The Public Health Agency of Canada found that adults with strong relationships are more likely to report high life satisfaction and good mental health. Conversely, experiencing disrespect, harassment, abuse and sexual assault take a toll on one’s mental health and well-being, and are risk factors for developing certain mental illnesses.”

Through the HMHC initiative, RRC hosts several events each year to help students, staff and faculty dealing with mental health problems, while promoting wellness, recovery and resilience for all. Read More →

Partnership to help students gain work experience through wage subsidy program

February 6, 2018

Students in Red River College’s Applied Computer Education (ACE) department will gain an important first step towards their careers, thanks to a new partnership with the Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC).

Through the ITAC Talent Career Ready program, eligible companies in the ACE Project Space, along with Co-operative Education and Work Integrated Learning (CEWIL) ACE Partners, will receive a wage subsidy for students’ work placements, which allows the companies to hire a driven employee who can apply cutting-edge knowledge and techniques learned at RRC.

The students will in turn gain valuable hands-on experience in the emerging digital economy.

ITAC’s Career Ready Program is currently providing paid placements to 30 students for the winter 2018 term (January to April), and will provide another 40 placements for the 2018-19 academic year. The program provides up to 50 per cent (to a maximum of $5,000) of a work term student’s pay in wage subsidies to employers.

Employers that hire students from underrepresented groups — including women in STEM, Indigenous students, recent immigrants, persons with disabilities, and first-year students — may also qualify for additional funding (up to 70 per cent or $7,000).

“The ITAC partnership will open doors for Red River College learners, and help employers secure the talent they need to compete in the digital economy,” say ACE chair Haider Al-Saidi.

In recent years, startups and entrepreneurs such as BIT Space Development, Consultica, Chekkit Geolocation Services and Cassidy e-Care Solutions have partnered with RRC students on their projects.

Work placement opportunities offered to students during the current term include stints at Wawanesa Insurance, Northfield IT and uniPoint Software.

College expands English language training to four regional sites in Manitoba

February 2, 2018

RRC Language Training CentreOver the last year, Red River College has opened four new Language Training Centres (LTCs) throughout Manitoba, providing access to critical language skills programming for an additional 250 students.

The College’s LTC in Winnipeg, which already trains more than 1,000 newcomers every year, has recently expanded programming to Arborg, Steinbach, Thompson and Selkirk. The five-month programs are provided at no charge to students, with costs covered by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

The LTC s offer English Language Learning programs as well as English for Specific Purposes programs. The former focuses on competency-based programs for students developing language proficiency for further education, employment, or settlement and daily life, while the latter focuses on learning English in a way that will further training opportunities, or employment in a specific job market.

“We are proud that more than 60 per cent of our English as a Second Language and English for a Specific Purpose programs are linked to employment outcomes,” says Kerri Caldwell Korabelnikov, director of the Language Training Centre at RRC.

“What that means is that we’re helping our students achieve their goals and connecting them either directly with employers, or with the resources necessary to find work in their chosen careers. I know this success will continue with the expansion. The areas we have expanded in have shown they are in need of language training services for newcomers, and we’re happy to fill that need and help strengthen those communities.” Read More →

Paramedicine, Teacher Education grads earn Lieutenant-Governor's Medals for Proficiency

January 25, 2018

Congratulations to the most recent recipients of Red River College’s Lieutenant-Governor’s Medals for Proficiency, who’ll pick up their awards as part of our 2018 Winter Convocation ceremonies on Feb. 5 and 6.

Each year, a maximum of four medals are awarded to RRC students who best combine good character, academic and technical achievement, and involvement in College and/or community activities. This year’s winners are:

Taralynn Stephen with Lt.-Gov. Janice FilmonTaralynn Stephen – Primary Care Paramedicine

Taralynn Stephen always wanted a career where she could spend her day helping others. After graduating from RRC's Primary Care Paramedicine program, that goal has now become a full-time reality.

Taralynn grew up in the community of Swan River and graduated from Swan Valley Regional Secondary in 1994.

“From a young age I was always interested in a career working in health care,” she says. “Once my children grew older I began working as an emergency medical responder and a firefighter in Swan River. A friend suggested I should further pursue my profession and enrol in RRC’s Primary Care Paramedicine program.”

The timing worked out well, as she was able to pursue the intensive 11-month program within her community, through RRC’s remote campus in Swan River.

“The program is very intense, so being able to work towards my diploma while remaining in my community with my family and support system was really important to me,” she says. Read More →

Students to reach newly designed heights in architecture, engineering and technology

January 16, 2018

Architectural TechnologyStudents 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 →

Chekkit out: Wi-Fi logins leveraged to help businesses build customer bases

January 9, 2018

Lee Klimpke, Daniel Fayle and Emily Franz-Lien, Chekkit WiFi Marketing and AnalyticsWould 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 →

College to host top UX designer's tour stop in January

December 8, 2017

Willy Lai UX workshopLocal 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 →

Business concepts take flight at inaugural Dragonfly Den pitch event

December 6, 2017

Dragonfly Den 2017Business students from Red River College let their creative concepts take flight this afternoon, at the first-ever Dragonfly Den event showcasing social innovation in entrepreneurship.

Held as part of the College’s annual Social Innovation and Applied Business Research Competition, the Dragonfly Den session saw student teams making presentations informed by research they’d conducted on successful business concepts from around the world.

Appearing before a panel of six industry judges, students were asked to pitch out-of-the-box solutions to existing social problems — starting with a budget of just $500 — and to demonstrate how they’d adapted the models to make them sustainable here in Canada.

Judges then provided feedback and advice, and selected a winner who best exemplified principles of social innovation.

"Today we celebrate these young entrepreneurs and problem solvers who are using their global connections, experience and passion to address social issues here at home and around the world," says Christine Watson, RRC's Vice-President, Academic. "This event is an example of how industry, education ad community are working together to prepare and inspire our future leaders."

The concepts pitched by students included: Read More →

First-ever SECD International course: Featured fellows share their experiences

December 5, 2017

Science of Early Child Development: Kenya/TanzaniaThe first-ever 16-week Science of Early Child Development (SECD) International Course, co-facilitated by Red River College and Aga Khan University in Nairobi, recently came to an end this fall.

The course was a key component of the year-long World Bank Africa Early Years Fellowship, created for the purpose of assembling a select group of African professionals to work at capacity-building in their home countries, in support of governments and World Bank teams as they ramp up investments in early years resources.

Currently, 80% of children under five in sub-Saharan Africa are not enrolled in pre-primary programs and malnutrition is a persistent reality.

A bit of background

The SECD resource, developed by a small team at Red River College, began 16 years ago as a local initiative to create an accessible resource that could mobilize the possibilities of early brain development science to better equip early child educators in Canada.

Today, it’s a comprehensive, continually updated collection of on- and offline multi-media educational tools that incorporate research from around the world, providing cutting-edge resources to more than 40 countries. Readings, questions and interactive activities bring concepts to life, while captioned videos showcase the latest research, highlighting real-life examples.

The initiative wouldn’t have been possible without funding and collaboration from several key partners, including the World Bank, the University of Toronto, the Lawson Foundation, and the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), which works to improve living conditions and create opportunities in Asia and Africa. The World Bank and the AKDN took notice of SECD in 2007, effectively setting the wheels in motion to make it international.

A decade later, the World Bank Early Learning Partnership selected the SECD International resource as a foundation for the course that would become a key component of their Fellowship.

The Africa Early Years Fellowship

The 2017 Fellowship, now in its third year, began in January, and offers fellows the option of applying to extend their fellowship for a second year. A total of 20 fellows were drawn from a wide range of backgrounds, including economics, education, ECD, medicine/health, and international development. High-priority countries include Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi and Mali, among others.

Featured Fellows Read More →

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