Challenging Trends in PSE and Three Examples of Pedagogical Response, 16 March 2018

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Presentation for an Academic Session of OLIP, the Ontario Legislature Internship Programme

1 – Outline

  • Some challenging trends in postsecondary education – highlights from Academic Transformation and Academic Reform
  • Examples of pedagogical responses to three challenges in postsecondary education:
    1. harnessing web technology – the Atlas of Public Management
    2. offering experiential learning – adapting a course to use live cases and real clients
    3. assessing learning outcomes – specifying core concepts and assigning concept comprehension quizzes
  • Question for discussion – Would Atlas concepts and quizzes be useful in orientation training for a program like OLIP?

2 – The Academic Reform analysis (storyboard from a 2012 discussion with Academic Vice-Presidents; see also Selected Slides from Universities, Competition and Elitism, PPG2008 lecture, 17 March 2014)

3 – The challenge of exploiting web technology in postsecondary education

4 – The Atlas of Public Management

5 – The challenge of Experiential Learning (including Problem-Based, Project-Based, and Team-Based Learning)

6 – Toronto PPG1007 Putting Policy into Action – Strategic Implementation of Public Objectives … Section I is experimenting with live cases and real clients

Click for 10-slide Quiz demo

7 – The challenge of specifying learning outcomes and assessing them

8 – Core concepts, pre-class readings, and learning assessment in Toronto PPG1007 Putting Policy into Action – Strategic Implementation of Public Objectives

9 – Would the OLIP be a good place to experiment with online learning, perhaps by assigning to the newly selected candidates in May some or all of the 314 concepts and questions in Atlas206 Internship Reading as orientation training to be completed before work formally starts in September?

10 – Concluding thoughts



Academic Transformation: The Forces Reshaping Higher Education in Ontario, Ian D. Clark, Greg Moran, Michael L. Skolnik, and David Trick: Queen’s Policy Studies, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 244 pages, 2009.

Academic Reform: Policy Options for Improving the Quality and Cost-Effectiveness of Undergraduate Education in Ontario, Ian D. Clark, David Trick and Richard Van Loon, Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2011, 300 pages.

Ontario Legislature Internship Programme (OLIP)

OLIP is describe on its website ( as follows:

“The Ontario Legislature Internship Programme (OLIP) was established in 1975 and is administered by the Canadian Political Science Association and supported by a financial grant from the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. OLIP is a non-partisan organization and is not associated with the Government of Ontario nor with any political party.

“The Programme is designed to provide backbench Members of Provincial Parliament with highly qualified assistants. In addition to providing practical experience with the daily workings of the Ontario Legislature, OLIP provides Interns the opportunity to supplement their university training through regular academic discussions and by writing an academic paper on a topic of their choice. Interns also visit other legislatures to ensure a comprehensive knowledge of the legislative process through a comparative lens.

“Each year, eight to ten interns are selected from across Canada through a highly competitive process. Internships are based in Toronto, begin each September and last for 10 months. The Programme is open to recent graduates of a  Canadian university. Prospective interns should also demonstrate an interest in and a knowledge of the legislative process. While many applicants have a background in political science, we welcome and encourage applicants from all academic backgrounds.”

2017-18 OLIP Interns – Click for bios

Successful candidates come to OLIP with strong but varied academic preparation as illustrated by the short-form bios of the 2017-18 class (see link on right). The candidates are selected in April and start when the Legislature convenes in September. The current OLIP Academic Director is Dr. Peter P. Constantinou.

Atlas206 Internship Reading

This online resource, Atlas206 Internship Reading, was designed as a voluntary reading course for University of Toronto MPP students during their summer internships between their first and second years. The Atlas206 syllabus has weekly readings and core concept pages spread over 15 weeks, with 3-10 hours per week of reading. Each of the 314 concepts has associated with it a multiple-choice, concept comprehension question. These questions (numbers in parenthesis in the table below) are grouped into weekly concept quizzes listed at Concept Quizzes for Atlas206 Internship Reading.

Page created by: Ian Clark, last modified 16 March 2018.