Jess Adamo, Cassie MajorJess Adamo and Cassie Major discuss their placement with the Therapeutic Learning Centre during a poster presentation April 11 in the CAW Student Centre.

Students share experiences gained through practicum placements

When disabilities studies student Cassie Major started her practicum placement at the beginning of the semester, little did she know it would lead to a full-time job in a field she loves.

Major started her new position last week with the Therapeutic Learning Centre, an education intervention clinic for children with autism. Her hiring came after spending two days a week for a total of 168 hours in a placement at the private service.

“It’s eye-opening to see how the children interact in that environment,” Major said. “The learning is different than in a typical classroom.”

Major and classmate Jess Adamo on April 11 presented posters documenting their placement experiences at the service. It was part of a display in the CAW Student Centre put on by students in disability studies and psychology.

Professor Mary Harper said the placements help the 19 students in her class make real-world connections to what they learn in the classroom.

“How do we deliver services to people with disabilities?” Harper said. “It’s all about letting people live the lives they want to live.”

Fourth-year students in psychology and disability studies are placed with organizations in the community during their final semester of school. Harper said it equates to thousands of volunteer hours for the organizations and invaluable experience for the students.

─ Sarah Sacheli

interior of self-driving carSafety demands that drivers educate themselves on automated technologies before they get behind the wheel, writes kinesiology professor Francesco Biondi.

Public needs education on vehicle automation: professor

Before operating a car equipped with autonomous or self-driving features, drivers should familiarize themselves with its capabilities and limitations, says kinesiology professor Francesco Biondi.

“Today’s cars offer a vast selection of driving aids available,” Dr. Biondi writes in an article published Friday in the Conversation, which shares news and views from the academic and research community. But the public is on the fence when it comes to fully relying on them.

He criticizes advertising that exaggerates or overstates the abilities of autonomous technologies.

“Providing inaccurate, or even wrongful, information on how automation works has direct safety consequences,” Biondi says.

“When I buy a dishwasher, what I want is a machine that automates the manual task of washing dishes. What I need to do is just push a button and the machine will do its thing with no additional command or intervention.

“Now, believe it or not, a similar logic applies to automated driving systems. If I am told — or shown or suggested or hinted — that the car might in fact drive itself, what do you expect I, as a human, will do?”

He calls on drivers to learn about a car’s features and how they work while it’s parked.

Read Biondi’s entire piece, “A user’s guide to self-driving cars,” in the Conversation.

Queen's Park, the seat of the Ontario legislatureThe Council of Ontario Universities has released a response to last week’s provincial budget.

Ontario universities respond to provincial budget

A healthy, financially sustainable university system is vital to Ontario’s economic and social well-being, David Lindsay, president of the Council of Ontario Universities, said in response to the provincial budget released Thursday.

“With a shared goal to make Ontario competitive and open for business, Ontario’s universities appreciate the government’s acknowledgment of the role that talent and innovation can play in driving economic growth,” Lindsay said in a statement issued April 11.

“Our institutions continue to leverage bold ideas to achieve financial sustainability and to help Ontario remain globally competitive.”

In a section titled “Building an Innovative and Sustainable Postsecondary Sector,” the budget laid out a vision of restoring accountability to Ontario’s postsecondary education system to ensure that publicly assisted postsecondary institutions are providing the positive economic outcomes the students and people of Ontario need, as well as training people for the jobs of the future.

Read the entire statement from the Council of Ontario Universities.

students and faculty discuss externship experiencesWindsor Law students held a poster presentation April 3 to discuss their externship placements in the community.

Windsor Law showcases externship learning

Poster presentations showcased the community experiences of Windsor Law externship students on April 3.

With experiential education an increasingly important part of higher education, the externship program has allowed students to practise their legal and professional skills through feedback sessions, readings, and self-critique activities.

“Externships provide students the chance to apply what they learn in the classroom to a real-life context,” said professor Tess Sheldon, the program’s director. “Although externship students have regular appointments on campus, most of their learning occurs in the workplace, under the support and supervision of an on-site supervisor.”

The externship program launched in Fall 2018, placing students in law-related community organizations, clinics, or not-for-profit agencies for one term, where the contribute meaningfully to the organization’s work. After an initial intensive training, students work for 12 hours per week.

“The externship experience changed me as a law student and as a person really,” said participant Matt Jantzi, who held a placement in the Six Nations Justice Department. “The relationships I built pushed me to critically reflect on law, justice, and my role in the mix of it all. I didn’t just learn the law, I learned how to interact with it.”

Since its launch, the externship program has grown to include 23 partnerships with legal clinics, legal aid offices, government offices, and NGOs, in a variety of practice areas including immigration, health, criminal, family, elder, child, municipal, and environmental law.

—Rachelle Prince