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Aligning Academics: Learner Mobility from a Canadian Perspective. Dr. Griff Richards Thompson Rivers University- Open Learning CANADA. Invited Talk, TransBorder Accreditation, Moscow, 30 March 2012. Knowledge Capital . Which has the most value?. Knowledge capital . $38.93. $150.14.

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aligning academics learner mobility from a canadian perspective

Aligning Academics:Learner Mobility from a Canadian Perspective

Dr. Griff Richards

Thompson Rivers University-

Open Learning


Invited Talk, TransBorder Accreditation, Moscow,

30 March 2012

knowledge capital
Knowledge Capital

Which has the most value?

knowledge capital1
Knowledge capital




They all have value, but I can’t use them in Canada.


Canada has no federal education system.

It has 13 regional education authorities.



Kamloops, British Columbia

mobility in canada
Mobility in Canada

Is a fact of life.

  • Students often travel and change universities.
  • Canadians are free to move and work anywhere in Canada.
  • New Canadians arrive daily bringing skills from all parts of the world.
student mobility in bc 22 000 changes each year
Student Mobility in BC22,000 changes each year

worker mobility
Worker mobility

When the fishing

ended 20,000

people went west

to Alberta to

fish for oil.

Percent of Oil Sands workers from Eastern Canada

from fishing to oil sands
From Fishing to Oil Sands

4000 km

by air

6500 km

by road

immigration of skills
Immigration of skills
  • Canada welcomes about 80,000 foreign students, 200 000 temporary workers and 250 000 immigrants each year

transfer systems in canada
Transfer Systems in Canada
  • Within the province
    • e.g. BC Council of Admissions and Transfers ( (4,000 students in 2011)
  • Between provinces (in progress)
    • Pan-Canadian Consortium on Admissions and Transfers (
  • International
    • International Credential Evaluation Services


academic credit transfer
Academic Credit Transfer

Initially block transfer for “laddering” of diplomas and degrees

  • 4 year universities “receive” students from 2 yr colleges
  • 2 year colleges “send” students to 4 year universities
  • Transfer weighs “academic credibility” of sender + “course outcomes”
from ladder to network
From ladder to network
  • Today many colleges also offer degrees, and students from universities also transfer to colleges or take open courses.
  • “Senders” are also “receivers” in a network of academic nodes, each with capability to send or receive students.
  • General principles for fair assessment process.
  • Each “node” still determines its local acceptance rules. (about 85% success!)
private career trainers
Private Career Trainers
  • Non-accredited private colleges (language schools, hairdressers, secretarial, health assistants…) have limited transfer options
  • Private Career Training Institutions Agency ( regulates standards
  • 50,000 students per year!!!
the learning triangle
The learning triangle






a question of equivalence
A question of equivalence

1. How reputable is the Academy?

Public / Private?



2. What has been studied for credit?




3. Standing articulation agreements

3 outcomes of education
3 outcomes of education
  • Course content skills and knowledge
  • Social skills and professional network
  • Building confidence in new roles
alternate credit methods
Alternate credit methods
  • Challenge exams
  • Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition
  • Open Education Resource University

The transfer system is slowly evolving to meet the evolving needs of learners.

what makes transfer work
What makes transfer work?
  • Shared philosophy – transfer is in the best interests of both students and institutions
  • Shared principles - transfer guidelines are the same for all members of the network
  • Local autonomy – each institution has the final say on its student requirements

1. Transfer gives students mobility

2. Receiving institutions win when they accept good students with skills & knowledge

3. Sending institutions win when their credits are widely accepted and ladder elsewhere

4. Students who study abroad bring home valuable skills

5. Transfer agreements take time to evolve