The Provincial PAREA Grants and Their Relation to IT Integration in Collegial Teaching
This text was written in collaboration with Lynn Lapostolle, director general, and Sylvie Charbonneau both of l'Association pour la recherche au collégial (ARC).
La Direction du soutien aux établissements of the Ministère formed the study group among several partners within the collegial network. The group included the following members: Benoit Bolduc, director general of the Association québécoise de pédagogie collégiale (AQPC), Isabelle Laplante, staffmember of the Centre de documentation collégiale (CDC), Lynn Lapostolle, director general of the Association pour la recherche au collégial (ARC), Hélène Martineau, vice president of the Association pour les applications de l’ordinateur au postsecondaire (APOP), Jean-Denis Moffet, coordinator of the Commission de l’enseignement collégial du Conseil supérieur de l’éducation (CSÉ), Jeason Morin, research officer at the Ministère and Hélène Tardif, researcher at Campus Notre-Dame-de-Foy.
This year then, one could have imagined that there would be at least two or three projects dealings with APOs or TICs! The sad reality is that since the year 2000 there had been only 10 projects funded in this category. That low number is certainly not a reflection of the energy being put into IT and pedagogical computer applications within the college system.
Year in, year out, for the last few years, the Ministère de l’Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport du Québec has financially supported around ten projects as part of its program to fund research into teaching and learning. The program carries the acronym PAREA from its French name Programme d’aide à la recherche sur l’enseignement et l’apprentissage. Projects used to fall into one of four fields of application - teaching, learning, the academic environment as well as the field of pedagogical computer applications (APO) and communication and information technology (IT). This year then, one could have imagined that there would be at least two or three projects dealing with APOs or IT! The sad reality is that since the year 2000 there had been only 10 projects funded in this field. That low number is certainly not a reflection of the energy being put into IT and pedagogical computer applications within the college system.
PAREA funds two categories of research - research grants and strategic research grants (supporting targeted research on pressing issues). The first includes projects proposed by collegial teaching and non-teaching staff. The second is open to research projects responding to current needs and concerns at the collegial level. Research into the field of pedagogical computer applications (APO) and communication and information technology (IT) at both is eligible for funding under the program. As the Ministère had not reviewed the categories for submission in awhile, they were updated to take current pedagogical research, concerns and developments into account. As a result of this review, the Ministère is proposing four new headings for the current call for projects. They are the teaching institution as an organizational system; differentiated education; individual factors affecting student retention; reading and writing, in all programs and in all subjects. None of these topics specifically encompass IT, but all of these topics make references to it.
The task force that formulated these new issues felt that the nature of Quebec's collegial IT integration was such that research possibilities into each of them would afford pertinent opportunities for IT research. Additionally, research into technopedagogical approaches or strategies and scenarios integrating IT could be considered in all four issues that were targeted by PAREA. What cultural and organizational conditions using IT favour the success of academic innovation? What is the effect of IT on differentiated education? What are the effects of IT integration on motivation and academic experimentation? What effect will the integration of APOs and IT have on reading and writing within all programs and disciplines?
The study group firmly believed that the state of Quebec's collegial IT integration makes PAREA subsidies for aspects of IT within research more valid than treating these elements in isolation. Are they right? If not, what measures must the Ministère take within the PAREA program to promote research into APOs and IT? If their idea has merit, does one of the four issues interest you enough to propose a project? Check out the on-line version of the new edition of the subsidy guide (in French).