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Research Projects

Come and check out what other researchers at BVC have done. Click on the topic areas below to access information about research projects that have been conducted at Bow Valley College.

Feel free to contact the researcher directly to find out more about the research project or to access a copy of the final report.

Teaching and Learning

Applied research on teaching and learning helps to inform BVC instructor practice and creates a better learning environment for our learners.

Meeting the Needs of Diverse Students engaged in e-Learning: Phase II (Project Evaluation)

Researcher: Dr. Aggie Legaspi
Date: 2012
Project Summary: This study was a project evaluation of a policy development process, which stemmed from a study of the needs of diverse distributed students in Alberta colleges and technical institutes. The evaluation obtained feedback through survey and interviews with senior administrators at participating post-secondary institutions as well as others who were part of the policy development component of the project.

In Support of Expanding Educational Access – via e-Learning to Rural Aboriginal Communities

Researcher: Dr. Colleen Kawalilak
Date: 2011

Promising Approaches to Strategic planning that Promote Organizational Vitality

Researcher: Brett Bergie
Date: 2011
Project Summary: Increasingly, the post-secondary education sector is facing constraints in the form of unstable public funding, greater competition for fewer students, and greater competition for staff with the skill set required to achieve organizational objectives. This is not a temporary inconvenience but a new order. To survive and indeed thrive, institutions need to ensure a place for themselves within a rapidly changing post-secondary education landscape. Institutions need to engage a broad range of stakeholders yet design a cohesive narrative, that all can hold as their own, that establishes a destination to which the institution must move. In particular, institutions need to ensure their own vitality—that is, a capacity to evoke curiosity to attract and grow. More than an exercise of relative emphasis, doing so will depend to a great extent on adopting promising approaches to integrated strategic planning. In the context of various constraints facing the post-secondary education sector over the long term, how can institutions best tap the expertise of their communities through the most promising planning approaches to ensure organizational vitality? What is required is a culture of dialogue that is inclusive and in which the confrontation of ideas is comfortable, priorities can emerge, and bold ideas are nurtured. From this, a strong sense of community, satisfaction, and curiosity can emerge around the identification and application of the vital central role of the institution.

Current trends in co-designing successful post-secondary educational plans with adult learners living with FASD: A literature review

Researcher: Emily Gidden
Date: 2011

Valuing Contrary Opinions in the Classroom

Researcher: Dr. Aggie Legaspi & Trevor McIvor
Date: 2012
Project Summary: Sharing contrary opinions in a professional manner, with confidence and appropriate phrasing and tone, is an essential skill in the workplace. Within programs in the Business and Industry department, we identified several categories of learners needing additional training in this area. Learners are either unfamiliar with the cultural nuances, specific to Canada, about sharing a disagreement in the classroom or workplace; or may not have had appropriate modeling in how to disagree, while using appropriate phrasing, tone and body language; or simply don’t question authority figures, given their own cultural or personal disposition. In the contexts of a workplace and classroom, students who can think critically and can share contrary opinions in a constructive manner have a greater capacity for influence, and are more likely to be valuable contributing members of a team within the workplace. Hence, the primary focus of this pilot project was to teach learners the value and the skills in sharing contrary opinions in a respectful and constructive manner, focusing on the learner-facilitator and learner-learner relationships. Participants perceived an increase in knowledge in the importance of sharing contrary opinions and an increase in the skills involved, as demonstrated in our results. On the other hand, observations of participant performance showed similar skills from pre-test to post-test, probably because their skills were more developed than generally is the case among our student demographic.

Retaining Non-Native English Speaking Learners in Online Learning at Bow Valley College

Researcher: Karen Fiege
Date: 2011
Project Summary: Retention of learners is a trending topic and prioritized by higher education institutions in Canada. This study focused on online learning environments and garnered the experiences and perspectives of online instructors at Bow Valley College on how they facilitated the retention of learners in their online course, with a particular interest on the retention of Non-Native English Speaking (NNES) learners. The study found that online instructors felt that NNES learners face different challenges than their native English speaking counterparts, yet the retention strategies shared were for learners in a population with no distinctions. This study also found that the majority of instructors interviewed did not prioritize retention, which is surprising given institutional and provincial emphases. There was consensus in how retention was defined in that it concentrated on retaining learners in the online course being taught.

Meeting the Need: Student Success in the Online Environment

Researcher: Murray Ronoghan
Date: 2011
Project Summary: Beyond an attempt to isolate some of the factors that determine what constitutes effective online teaching practices, learner characteristics, course development challenges and online administrative concerns and opportunities, this review’s central objective is to come to some general conclusions about the current state of adult online learning and to offer some recommendations for future areas of investigation. This review can also be viewed as a collaborative starting point in many ways and one that may well assist other practitioners involved in adult education in Alberta to look more deeply into current and future best practices.

Successful Practices in Supporting Students in Distributed Learning

Researcher: Dr. Rena Shimoni, Dr. Gail Barrington, & Russ Wilde
Date: 2010
Project Summary: Most post-secondary institutions today have recognized the crucial role to be played by the integration of e-Learning and other forms of distributed learning into their core business. The purpose of this project was to provide the post-secondary system with a set of tools and strategies needed for the successful implementation and expansion of student services to support alternative delivery learners.

An Investigation of College Practices regarding the Reggio Emilia philosophy

Researcher: Linda O'Donoghue
Date: 2010
Project Summary: The Reggio Emilia philosophy of Early Childhood Education emerged from Reggio Emilia, Italy post WWII. The philosophy is one that is compatible with emergent curriculum and collaborative work between children and educators. Some of the key principles from the philosophy highlight the importance of teachers as researchers, documenters, observers and listeners, as well as, the environment as the third educator and the image of the child. This research was conducted to examine how the principles from the Reggio Emilia philosophy of Early Childhood Education appear present in college level Early Childhood programs. The question proposed was; “How have the principles from the Reggio philosophy been incorporated into Early Learning and Child Care curriculum delivery at other colleges and what aspects of this approach have been successful in benefiting their programs?” Two Early Childhood Education programs were identified in the research as drawing from the principles of the Reggio Emilia philosophy to inform their approach to teaching and learning. Personal interviews and observations were conducted in order to gather information. Themes and connective threads emerged from this research, which provided meaningful interpretations of how the principles of the Reggio philosophy have influenced these two programs. The research method applied was a qualitative design using a critical ethnographic approach.

Co-Creating a Culturally Meaningful Early Learning and Childcare Curriculum Model

Researcher: Becky Kelley
Date: 2009
Project Summary: This research project intentionally documented the process of co-creating culturally relevant early learning and child care curriculum with two Treaty 7 First Nations: the Piikani and Tsuu T'ina, in order to demonstrate a process that supports learner success. This will allow the researcher to develop a model of best practice in co-creating culturally meaningful curriculum that may be utilized in other programs.

Does the Use of Clickers enhance both Activity and Comprehension in the Classroom?

Researcher: Heather Thompson
Date: 2007
Project Summary: Does the use of clickers enhance both activity and comprehension in the classroom? This study found that retention increased with the sample groups that utilized clickers in the Blackboard sessions that were conducted. The quantitative data showed that overall quiz marks for students who used clickers were significantly higher than those for students who did not use clickers. The focus groups revealed that the majority of the students found the experience positive. The research suggests that implications for the utilization of clickers where appropriate may create a more engaging and active classroom environment. Ensuring strong technology infrastructure and effective training in the administration of clicker technology is essential.

An Alternative Delivery for Process and Practice Oriented Curriculum

Researcher: Bev Walters
Date: 2007
Project Summary: There is significant value to Bow Valley College in Calgary and the learner community if a greater number of individuals have the opportunity to gain access to programming that is currently offered only in a traditional classroom. Live instruction has been the norm for programs that were designed for experiential learning; however, accessibility to these programs would be greatly increased if they could be adapted to a blended delivery system. This study explores the principles of adult education and the practice of experiential learning, the fundamentals of a blended delivery system and the essential elements to be considered when re-designing traditional classroom models to blended learning models. The ethical approach taken in this framework follows the eight guiding principles of ethical research as identified by Bow Valley College.

Inclusive Practice: A Co-Creative Process for the Aboriginal Adult Learner Program Development in Healthcare Education

Researcher: Dr. Rena Shimoni & Gaul Thauberger
Date: 2006

Evaluation

Evaluation research helps to inform program development and evolution to ensure that we are meeting the needs of the BVC community.

Meeting the Needs of Diverse Students engaged in e-Learning: Phase II (Project Evaluation)

Researcher: Dr. Aggie Legaspi
Date: 2012
Project Summary: This study was a project evaluation of a policy development process, which stemmed from a study of the needs of diverse distributed students in Alberta colleges and technical institutes. The evaluation obtained feedback through survey and interviews with senior administrators at participating post-secondary institutions as well as others who were part of the policy development component of the project.

Nursing Laboratory Evaluation

Researcher: Pam Lammiman
Date: 2007
Project Summary:The focus of this study is to identify best practices in the teaching/learning/assessment of nursing skills in the lab environment; to adapt a proposed best practice in assessment from its current use in RN education to PN education and to provide staff with professional development opportunities for utilization of this practice; to implement this assessment tool with a pilot group; and to evaluate its effectiveness from the instructor and student perspective.

Examine Course Evaluation Methods & Technology used by other similar institutions to improve the Evaluation Database Management Technology at Bow Valley College

Researcher: Sonja Quirouette & Peter Zuba
Date: 2007
Project Summary:The focus of this research was to prepare a comparison analysis of course evaluation practices at selected learning institutions of similar profile to Bow Valley College and examine the potential improvement or validation of current Bow Valley College course evaluation practices.

Foundational Learning

Researchers at Bow Valley College promote and conduct applied research activities in the field of foundational learning (adult literacy, basic education, upgrading and essential skills).

Answers May Vary: Literacy Strategies, Resources, and Effective Practices for Adult Learners with Developmental Disabilities

Researcher: Belle Auld
Date: 2013
Project Summary: Adults with developmental disabilities tend to have lower literacy skills than mainstream adults, yet there is little documented information about the specific literacy strategies and resources that can help these learners improve their reading and writing skills. Helping adults with developmental disabilities improve their reading and writing skills will further their capacities to be full participants in the community.This study assessed seventeen adult literacy learners in the Speech-Assisted Reading and Writing (SARAW) program at Bow Valley College in Calgary, using the new Readforward assessment tool. All SARAW learners were assessed with very poor reading skills. Fourteen tutors working with fifteen of these learners were interviewed about the literacy strategies, resources, and effective practices they use to help their learners improve their literacy skills to find out “what works.” Adults with developmental disabilities benefit from many of the same strategies that help most adult literacy learners. Many of the resources recommended by Canadian adult literacy experts for use with adults with very low literacy skills also work well with adults with disabilities and low literacy skills.

Numbers and Narratives: Adding up Stories of Success in Adult Literacy

Researcher: Audrey Gardner, Ian Kennedy, & Jeannie Finch
Date: 2010
Project Summary: The Alberta Action Research Team explored the concept of mutual accountability. We looked for characteristics of mutual accountability within an existing working relationship between a community-based funder and two adult literacy/basic education programs in a community college. Our research question was: "What characteristics of the relationship between Calgary Learns (funder) and two Bow Valley College adult literacy/basic education programs (service provider) support mutual accountability and how can these characteristics be strengthened or nurtured?"

Discovering the Benefits of a Reading Circle on ESL Literacy Instructors

Researcher: Val Millar
Date: 2010
Project Summary: Canada’s newest wave of refugees arrives here with little or no previous formal education. Because of this, they do not fit into the regular LINC classes and many schools have formed separate literacy classes for these learners. Since ESL certification involves little or no course work aimed at teaching adults to read and write for the first time, many instructors feel inadequately prepared to work with these learners. The literature confirms that there is little available and indicates that, because teaching ESL literacy is so different from teaching mainstream ESL, many ESL literacy instructors feel professionally isolated. The research further recommends that there be time provided for these instructors to interact with each other on a professional level to enable the sharing of classroom ideas. One way to address these issues is through a professional reading circle. This research project initiated the formation of a reading circle for Bow Valley College ESL literacy instructors. Ten practitioners formed the reading circle and the group met five times for 1.25 hours to discuss articles, reflect and shared ideas. At the end of the five months, each participant was interviewed. All participants stated that the reading circle was beneficial to their daily teaching and that it provided them with motivation to read relevant literature. Many also reflected that they now have a pool of other literacy practitioners they can turn to for sharing ideas. All agreed it was a positive experience and the discussions provided many concrete classroom ideas. Every member also stated that they wanted to continue being part of a reading circle. Another finding of this project is that many of the participants played a greater role in presenting workshops after being part of the reading circle. In addition to the stated research goals of resolving professional isolation and building a more reflective practice, the reading circle also built capacity evidenced by these practitioners attending and even presenting literacy related workshops at national and international conferences.

Bridging Literacy Events in Social and Academic Settings

Researcher: Brent Novodvorski & Wanda Becker
Date: 2010
Project Summary: Literacy events in social and academic settings, inside and outside of classrooms or educational institutions are uniquely characterized especially from the perspectives of Deaf Adult literacy learners. Deaf Adult literacy learners speak American Sign Language (ASL). However, Deaf Adult literacy learners live in a society where English is the dominant and required text which shapes the characteristics of the literacy events they participate in. Thus, the purpose of this literature review is to: examine the characteristics of social and academic settings and how they influence ASL and English literacy skill development; examine the resources and strategies in literacy events that bridge social and academic settings to facilitate the application of literacy skills; consider the literature about the subject to look into current teaching approaches and materials; and recommend future directions for Bow Valley College's Deaf and Hard of Hearing program.

A Literacy Survey of Disability Serving Agencies

Researcher: Belle Auld, Bill Holbrow, & Tenzin Kabar
Date: 2009
Project Summary: Researchers analysed the literacy survey data (community input regarding inclusive adult literacy programming) in order to apply the findings directly to literacy programming for adults with disabilities at Bow Valley College.

Effective Tools and Techniques for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Adult Immigrants in ASL and English Bilingual and Bicultural college programs

Researcher: Brent Novodvorski
Date: 2009
Project Summary: The Bow Valley College Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) adult learners program aims to improve best practices for DHH adult immigrants who are developing American Sign Language and English literacy skills. The question of this research was was: "What are the effective teaching approaches and tools for immigrant deaf and hard of hearing adults in bilingual and bicultural programs?"

A Literacy Survey of Disability Serving Agencies

Researcher: Belle Auld, Bill Holbrow, & Tenzin Kabar
Date: 2009
Project Summary: Researchers analysed the literacy survey data (community input regarding inclusive adult literacy programming) in order to apply the findings directly to literacy programming for adults with disabilities at Bow Valley College.

Effective Tools and Techniques in Literacy and Learning programs for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Adults

Researcher: Audrey Gardner & Brent Novodvorski
Date: 2007
Project Summary:A number of colleges in Canada provide adult literacy programs to Deaf and Hard of Hearing immigrants from various places of the world. Literacy practitioners with have experience in addressing their unique and complex language needs. This report reveals the views of participants about some of the effective teaching approaches and tools used to address the complexity of learner needs. The following elements were used in this research: qualitative multiple case studies collected and analyzed, descriptions and explanations about bilingual and bicultural components in Deaf adult literacy, teaching approaches, and the tools used to support Deaf and Hard of Hearing Immigrant learners. Recommendations were made to improve literacy practices.

Health

Applied research in the area of health gives new information to improve practice for the faculty and students in the School of Health, Justice, and Human Services.

Creating a positive clinical experience: A literature review

Researcher: Abbie Lovatt
Date: 2013
Project Summary:The ultimate goal of any nursing program should be to provide all students with a positive learning experience. While there are many factors that contribute to a learning experience, individual qualities which clinical instructors possess seem to have heavy bearing on nursing students’ perceptions of a positive experience. This literature review seeks to identify what students perceived to be the qualities of an effective clinical instructor. The review found that clinical competency, interpersonal and teaching skills, as well as fairness of evaluation to be consistent themes in the literature. The findings of this review have significant implications for postsecondary institutions as they should not only look to recruit nurses who display these qualities, but also support the development of these traits.

Understanding Licensed Practical Nurses’ Full Scope of Practice

Researcher: Dr. Rena Shimoni & Dr. Gail Barrington
Date: 2012
Project Summary:The goal of this study was to provide evidence related to the individual, team, organization, and system factors that facilitate and impede the utilization of Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) to full scope, and the impact of LPN utilization on perceived patient care quality. This comprehensive research involved an in-depth literature review, followed by a provincial survey of LPNs. On the basis of the survey, statistical analyses led to the selection of six sites for in-depth case studies. These included interviews and focus group discussions with administrators and healthcare providers. This study also included an examination of related policies through document analysis and interviews with key provincial decision makers.

Nursing Laboratory Evaluation

Researcher: Pam Lammiman
Date: 2007
Project Summary:The focus of this study is to identify best practices in the teaching/learning/assessment of nursing skills in the lab environment; to adapt a proposed best practice in assessment from its current use in RN education to PN education and to provide staff with professional development opportunities for utilization of this practice; to implement this assessment tool with a pilot group; and to evaluate its effectiveness from the instructor and student perspective.

A Benchmarking Report: Health Care Aide Program

Researcher: Hana Taleb Imai & Shelley McConnell
Date: 2007
Project Summary:The primary purpose of the project was to use the framework of Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLB) to determine the English Language proficiencies required of second language (L2) students for entry into the Health Care Aide (HCA) program at Bow Valley College (BVC).

Health Literacy for Culturally Diverse College Students

Researcher: Audrey Gardner
Date: 2006
Project Summary:The purpose of this research was to support the pre-project phase to build partnerships with Alberta colleges to collaboratively plan the potential project, write, and submit a proposal, ethics review application, prepare data collection tools, determine a data analysis method, conduct a literature review, and evaluation plan for the potential project. In this pre-project development phase, the aim is to build partnerships among participating colleges/institutes to design a participatory action research proposal for the potential project.

Inclusive Practice: A Co-Creative Process for the Aboriginal Adult Learner Program Development in Healthcare Education

Researcher: Dr. Rena Shimoni & Gaul Thauberger
Date: 2006

Early Learning & Child Care

Applied research in Early Learning & Child Care helps to continually bring the best information to improve practice for faculty and learners, ultimately benefiting the future generation of learners.

An Investigation of College Practices regarding the Reggio Emilia philosophy

Researcher: Linda O'Donoghue
Date: 2010
Project Summary: The Reggio Emilia philosophy of Early Childhood Education emerged from Reggio Emilia, Italy post WWII. The philosophy is one that is compatible with emergent curriculum and collaborative work between children and educators. Some of the key principles from the philosophy highlight the importance of teachers as researchers, documenters, observers and listeners, as well as, the environment as the third educator and the image of the child. This research was conducted to examine how the principles from the Reggio Emilia philosophy of Early Childhood Education appear present in college level Early Childhood programs. The question proposed was; “How have the principles from the Reggio philosophy been incorporated into Early Learning and Child Care curriculum delivery at other colleges and what aspects of this approach have been successful in benefiting their programs?” Two Early Childhood Education programs were identified in the research as drawing from the principles of the Reggio Emilia philosophy to inform their approach to teaching and learning. Personal interviews and observations were conducted in order to gather information. Themes and connective threads emerged from this research, which provided meaningful interpretations of how the principles of the Reggio philosophy have influenced these two programs. The research method applied was a qualitative design using a critical ethnographic approach.

The role of grandparents in the lives of their grandchildren

Researcher: Samantha Lenci
Date: 2007
Project Summary:This qualitative research study explores the roles of grandparents in the lives of their grandchildren.

Seeds of a Dream: Explorations of the hopes of newly developing caregivers

Researcher: Corinne Bergstrom
Date: 2006
Project Summary:The original purpose of the research was to explore what draws students into the fields of caregiving and what can be done to sustain and rejuvenate them, once there. The research was to identify the motivations and dreams of students who make the choice and the investment to enter the field of caregiving as a means to further understand and support this unique field of helpers. Newly developing caregivers (no experience in the field) as well as seasoned caregivers (those who are in school AND working as caregivers) were invited to participate in this research. Inclusion of both groups ensured a more adequate and holistic picture of the motivations of helpers and helped illustrate any variances between seasoned and newly developing helpers.

Research with Aboriginals

Bow Valley College is committed to supporting Aboriginal learners throughout their programs and conducts applied research to help improve on Aboriginal learners’ experiences and supports at the College.

Promising practices for Learner Success in the Bow Valley College Aboriginal Upgrading Program: A literature review

Researcher: Karen Mercer, April Bellegarde, & Alice Charland
Date: 2012
Project Summary:Anecdotal information and observations by faculty and staff at Bow Valley College Aboriginal campus suggest that there are some Aboriginal learners who, in the last semester of their upgrading program, require increased support and interventions in order to complete the program. This trend was the impetus for this literature review, with its purpose being two-fold. First, emergent themes from the literature are described, particularly as they relate to learners at the Bow Valley College Aboriginal campus. Secondly, promising practices are extrapolated. The application of these promising practices is then considered for implementation into the Aboriginal Upgrading program.

Inclusive Practice: A Co-Creative Process for the Aboriginal Adult Learner Program Development in Healthcare Education

Researcher: Dr. Rena Shimoni & Gaul Thauberger
Date: 2006

Learner Success

Bow Valley College is committed to investing in the success of their learners through applied research projects that investigate the best practices and techniques of promoting success – any path, any pace, any time, any place.

Understanding Student Retention Practices and Impacts at Bow Valley College

Researcher: Julie Cook
Date: 2013
Project Summary:Understanding Student Retention Practices and Impacts at Bow Valley College (BVC) research project assesses the current practices being conducted at BVC to retain students from day one to graduation. The project strives to answer the following three questions; 1) Which retention practices do BVC students engage in; 2) How effective are the retention strategies currently offered at BVC? And 3) Do these retention practices have an impact on learner graduation rates, specifically do students who attend New Student Orientation have lower withdrawal rates than students who do not attend?

Promising practices for Learner Success in the Bow Valley College Aboriginal Upgrading Program: A literature review

Researcher: Karen Mercer, April Bellegarde, & Alice Charland
Date: 2012
Project Summary:Anecdotal information and observations by faculty and staff at Bow Valley College Aboriginal campus suggest that there are some Aboriginal learners who, in the last semester of their upgrading program, require increased support and interventions in order to complete the program. This trend was the impetus for this literature review, with its purpose being two-fold. First, emergent themes from the literature are described, particularly as they relate to learners at the Bow Valley College Aboriginal campus. Secondly, promising practices are extrapolated. The application of these promising practices is then considered for implementation into the Aboriginal Upgrading program.

Building Social Capital: Community Arts Projects

Researcher: Noel Price & Lynn Thorimbert
Date: 2011
Project Summary: A community arts project is the collaborative creation of a work of art by community members. Arts projects have been used as a tool to develop civic engagement, creativity, and build social capital. Although community arts projects are not a new phenomenon, little research exists on community arts projects in the context of post-secondary institutions. We argue that it is appropriate and timely for Bow Valley College (BVC) to consider organizing a community arts project. A community arts project would reflect some of the priorities established in Bow Valley College’s 2010-2014 Business Plan and during Vision 2020, such as building strong communities, collaboration, innovation, and contributing to a resilient workforce. To support our argument, examples of existing community arts projects as well as the challenges with public art and community arts projects are analyzed and discussed. Seven Calgary area post-secondary institutions are surveyed to provide a comparative starting point for public art and community arts projects in relation to Bow Valley College. Three emergent themes are explored: the role of art in the formation of community identity, skill building and the educational outcomes of arts projects, and the potential impact of public art on economic development. The research provides a framework for Bow Valley College to use in decision-making related to new arts projects or initiatives, including potential obstacles, evaluation, identifying funding sources and pursuing new partnerships.

Meeting the Need: Student Success in the Online Environment

Researcher: Murray Ronoghan
Date: 2011
Project Summary: Beyond an attempt to isolate some of the factors that determine what constitutes effective online teaching practices, learner characteristics, course development challenges and online administrative concerns and opportunities, this review’s central objective is to come to some general conclusions about the current state of adult online learning and to offer some recommendations for future areas of investigation. This review can also be viewed as a collaborative starting point in many ways and one that may well assist other practitioners involved in adult education in Alberta to look more deeply into current and future best practices.

Retaining Non-Native English Speaking Learners in Online Learning at Bow Valley College

Researcher: Karen Fiege
Date: 2011
Project Summary: Retention of learners is a trending topic and prioritized by higher education institutions in Canada. This study focused on online learning environments and garnered the experiences and perspectives of online instructors at Bow Valley College on how they facilitated the retention of learners in their online course, with a particular interest on the retention of Non-Native English Speaking (NNES) learners. The study found that online instructors felt that NNES learners face different challenges than their native English speaking counterparts, yet the retention strategies shared were for learners in a population with no distinctions. This study also found that the majority of instructors interviewed did not prioritize retention, which is surprising given institutional and provincial emphases. There was consensus in how retention was defined in that it concentrated on retaining learners in the online course being taught.

Bridging the Technology Gap: A cross-generational mentoring study

Researcher: Charissa Braun & Karen Thomas
Date: 2010
Project Summary: The basis of this research project was to put a twist on the traditional mentoring arrangement (of pairing an older, more senior employee with a younger, less experienced employee) by pairing younger Millennial or Gen X mentors with older Baby Boomer mentees. The focus for the mentoring was to increase the Baby Boomers' knowledge and use of new technologies. This could be either for personal use or work related. The intent behind the research was to evaluate: the acquisition of new skills; the change in employee job satisfaction; and the change in perception of one generation to another. This was with a view to determining whether offering such a program could help to bridge the generation gap in the workplace and have a significant enough benefit to be included as part of a broader mentoring program.

Effective Tools and Techniques in Literacy and Learning programs for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Adults

Researcher: Audrey Gardner & Brent Novodvorski
Date: 2007
Project Summary:A number of colleges in Canada provide adult literacy programs to Deaf and Hard of Hearing immigrants from various places of the world. Literacy practitioners with have experience in addressing their unique and complex language needs. This report reveals the views of participants about some of the effective teaching approaches and tools used to address the complexity of learner needs. The following elements were used in this research: qualitative multiple case studies collected and analyzed, descriptions and explanations about bilingual and bicultural components in Deaf adult literacy, teaching approaches, and the tools used to support Deaf and Hard of Hearing Immigrant learners. Recommendations were made to improve literacy practices.

English Language Learning

BVC’s English Language Learning programs are an important part of our Centre for Excellence in Immigrant & Intercultural Advancement. Applied research in this area allows instructors to utilize the best strategies for improving the learning experience and success of their students.

Vocabulary Acquisition

Researcher: Glenda Kittler
Date: 2010
Project Summary: This study looks at strategies to address the issue of teaching vocabulary development and reading comprehension.

Discovering the Benefits of a Reading Circle on ESL Literacy Instructors

Researcher: Val Millar
Date: 2010
Project Summary: Canada’s newest wave of refugees arrives here with little or no previous formal education. Because of this, they do not fit into the regular LINC classes and many schools have formed separate literacy classes for these learners. Since ESL certification involves little or no course work aimed at teaching adults to read and write for the first time, many instructors feel inadequately prepared to work with these learners. The literature confirms that there is little available and indicates that, because teaching ESL literacy is so different from teaching mainstream ESL, many ESL literacy instructors feel professionally isolated. The research further recommends that there be time provided for these instructors to interact with each other on a professional level to enable the sharing of classroom ideas. One way to address these issues is through a professional reading circle. This research project initiated the formation of a reading circle for Bow Valley College ESL literacy instructors. Ten practitioners formed the reading circle and the group met five times for 1.25 hours to discuss articles, reflect and shared ideas. At the end of the five months, each participant was interviewed. All participants stated that the reading circle was beneficial to their daily teaching and that it provided them with motivation to read relevant literature. Many also reflected that they now have a pool of other literacy practitioners they can turn to for sharing ideas. All agreed it was a positive experience and the discussions provided many concrete classroom ideas. Every member also stated that they wanted to continue being part of a reading circle. Another finding of this project is that many of the participants played a greater role in presenting workshops after being part of the reading circle. In addition to the stated research goals of resolving professional isolation and building a more reflective practice, the reading circle also built capacity evidenced by these practitioners attending and even presenting literacy related workshops at national and international conferences.

Effective Tools and Techniques for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Adult Immigrants in ASL and English Bilingual and Bicultural college programs

Researcher: Brent Novodvorski
Date: 2009
Project Summary: The Bow Valley College Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) adult learners program aims to improve best practices for DHH adult immigrants who are developing American Sign Language and English literacy skills. The question of this research was was: "What are the effective teaching approaches and tools for immigrant deaf and hard of hearing adults in bilingual and bicultural programs?"

Research with Immigrants

Bow Valley College strives to provide the necessary and appropriate supports for immigrants to Canada and to create an environment for their learning and employment success. Applied research on immigrant education and employment helps to inform these efforts.

Understanding LINC Learners’ Experiences in College Settings

This applied research project explores the experiences of adult immigrants enrolled in LINC programs at Bow Valley College and NorQuest College. In particular, the research focuses on students’ perceptions of a college learning environment, utilization of learner support services and campus activities, informal and formal engagement with college community, and perceptions of their college experiences in relation to settlement and integration. Findings and recommendations highlight the contribution Colleges make to integration and settlement of newcomers, and suggest further activities and approaches that colleges can undertake to increase newcomer integration.

To view the report of this study, please visit the Centre for Excellence in Immigrant and Intercultural Advancement website.

Internationally-Trained Professionals in CMA Programs

Researcher: Dr. Augusto Legaspi, Scott Henwood
Date: 2013
Project Summary: This study was undertaken to explore the experiences of Internationally-Trained Professionals who had been enrolled in CMA programs toward a Canadian accounting designation. The project was based on a survey of ITPs who had been enrolled in a CMA program over the previous five years, which informed later focus groups with CMA students and employers of CMAs. The research identified factors as supports and/or challenges for ITPs, and summarizes strategies to ensure success in obtaining the CMA designation.

TOWES, Internationally-Educated Professionals, and Workplace Success

Researcher: Laurel Madro
Date: 2012
Project Summary: What is the relationship between the Test of Workplace Essential Skills (TOWES) scores of Internationally Educated Professionals (IEP) and employer reported workplace performance? Are IEPs with higher TOWES scores better performers at work? This study is to show that Essential Skills and literacy levels have an effect on workplace performance for IEPs. The purpose of this project will be to determine the correlation between literacy and performance. For the purpose of this study, other factors such as attitude, cultural awareness, and English language skills will also be referred to. The significance of this is study is that it will add to the body of knowledge around Essential Skills and employment.

Retaining Non-Native English Speaking Learners in Online Learning at Bow Valley College

Researcher: Karen Fiege
Date: 2011
Project Summary: Retention of learners is a trending topic and prioritized by higher education institutions in Canada. This study focused on online learning environments and garnered the experiences and perspectives of online instructors at Bow Valley College on how they facilitated the retention of learners in their online course, with a particular interest on the retention of Non-Native English Speaking (NNES) learners. The study found that online instructors felt that NNES learners face different challenges than their native English speaking counterparts, yet the retention strategies shared were for learners in a population with no distinctions. This study also found that the majority of instructors interviewed did not prioritize retention, which is surprising given institutional and provincial emphases. There was consensus in how retention was defined in that it concentrated on retaining learners in the online course being taught.

Trends in employment of highly educated immigrant women in Alberta: Calgary and Edmonton

Researcher: Kakoli Mitra
Date: 2010
Project Summary: This paper examines the trends in employment for Highly Educated Canadian Immigrant Women in the two major metropolitan cities of Alberta, Calgary and Edmonton, as revealed in the current literature. Literature on national data reveals that there is a significant trend of ‘underemployment’ and ‘underutilization of skills’ among educated and skilled immigrant women. The intent of this paper is to do a review of the literature on the scenario for Calgary and Edmonton and determine whether the employment trends follow the national findings. The objective of the review is to recommend priority areas of further research on identifying culturally appropriate, gender sensitive programs and policies that would facilitate their entry into the Canadian Labour market at a level commensurate with their skills, education and experience.

Effective Tools and Techniques for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Adult Immigrants in ASL and English Bilingual and Bicultural college programs

Researcher: Brent Novodvorski
Date: 2009
Project Summary: The Bow Valley College Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) adult learners program aims to improve best practices for DHH adult immigrants who are developing American Sign Language and English literacy skills. The question of this research was was: "What are the effective teaching approaches and tools for immigrant deaf and hard of hearing adults in bilingual and bicultural programs?"

Employment

Applied research allows Bow Valley College to support learners throughout their learning, from programs at BVC to practicums to employment.

Internationally-Trained Professionals in CMA Programs

Researcher: Dr. Augusto Legaspi, Scott Henwood
Date: 2013
Project Summary: This study was undertaken to explore the experiences of Internationally-Trained Professionals who had been enrolled in CMA programs toward a Canadian accounting designation. The project was based on a survey of ITPs who had been enrolled in a CMA program over the previous five years, which informed later focus groups with CMA students and employers of CMAs. The research identified factors as supports and/or challenges for ITPs, and summarizes strategies to ensure success in obtaining the CMA designation.

TOWES, Internationally-Educated Professionals, and Workplace Success

Researcher: Laurel Madro
Date: 2012
Project Summary: What is the relationship between the Test of Workplace Essential Skills (TOWES) scores of Internationally Educated Professionals (IEP) and employer reported workplace performance? Are IEPs with higher TOWES scores better performers at work? This study is to show that Essential Skills and literacy levels have an effect on workplace performance for IEPs. The purpose of this project will be to determine the correlation between literacy and performance. For the purpose of this study, other factors such as attitude, cultural awareness, and English language skills will also be referred to. The significance of this is study is that it will add to the body of knowledge around Essential Skills and employment.

Trends in employment of highly educated immigrant women in Alberta: Calgary and Edmonton

Researcher: Kakoli Mitra
Date: 2010
Project Summary: This paper examines the trends in employment for Highly Educated Canadian Immigrant Women in the two major metropolitan cities of Alberta, Calgary and Edmonton, as revealed in the current literature. Literature on national data reveals that there is a significant trend of ‘underemployment’ and ‘underutilization of skills’ among educated and skilled immigrant women. The intent of this paper is to do a review of the literature on the scenario for Calgary and Edmonton and determine whether the employment trends follow the national findings. The objective of the review is to recommend priority areas of further research on identifying culturally appropriate, gender sensitive programs and policies that would facilitate their entry into the Canadian Labour market at a level commensurate with their skills, education and experience.

Essential Skills

Essential skills are an important aspect of training for future employment. Applied research on essential skills training at Bow Valley College helps to prepare learners to be successful in their future careers.

YWCA & TOWES Case Study

Researcher: Alisa Foreman
Date: 2010

TOWES, Internationally-Educated Professionals, and Workplace Success

Researcher: Laurel Madro
Date: 2012
Project Summary: What is the relationship between the Test of Workplace Essential Skills (TOWES) scores of Internationally Educated Professionals (IEP) and employer reported workplace performance? Are IEPs with higher TOWES scores better performers at work? This study is to show that Essential Skills and literacy levels have an effect on workplace performance for IEPs. The purpose of this project will be to determine the correlation between literacy and performance. For the purpose of this study, other factors such as attitude, cultural awareness, and English language skills will also be referred to. The significance of this is study is that it will add to the body of knowledge around Essential Skills and employment.