Teaching Essentials

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have questions about course-based registration that aren’t answered below, email us at cbr@rrc.ca.

What is CBR Academic Conversion?

CBR Academic Conversion is a project that renews the College’s programs to align to the broader goals of Academic Transformation. 

In the past, this was referred to as Course Based Registration (CBR). Today, we focus more on the term “conversion” because it emphasizes the process of aligning programs through a set of guidelines. These guidelines can be found here.

How does CBR Academic Conversion relate to Academic Transformation?

Academic Conversion is now one project among many in the broader Academic Transformation (AT) program. The AT model was established in Fall 2021. More information about Academic Transformation and its projects can be found here

Why are we converting our programs?

There are a few reasons. First, we need to introduce greater consistency among program design elements including credit units and term lengths. This allows courses to move more freely within our delivery and payment platforms which in turn, will allow students to experience more flexibility in their timetabling, payment, and pace of education. 

Second, this conversion also introduces new curriculum features to each program that students and industry require in order to remain competitive in our rapidly changing environment. 

These features include expertly designed Human Skills courses that provide communication, self-management, critical thinking and cultural and organizational literacy skills. They also include meaningful work-integrated learning experiences embedded directly into curriculum to ensure that graduates are job ready. 

Finally, Academic Conversion is one part of the broader vision of Academic Transformation. Combined with several other project including a new Fee model, new Curriculum and Catalog Management System, new Data Model, and updated Timetabling Strategy, this project will dramatically enable a new learning model and student experience over the next several years.

What does a converted program look like for a student, in practical terms?

Check out the Features of a CBR Converted Program page.

Are converted programs available for international students?

Yes. International students, like other students, will experience many of the benefits of academic conversion including standardized credit units, common Human Skills courses and work-integrated learning.

In regard to registration, each International student will be manually registered by a Student Records Officer for Term 1. This will provide them with a complete, full-time course load schedule. 

In many cases, self-serve registration will then open up for Term 2 and beyond. This ensures that students’ full-time course load is protected, which is required for a student study permit.

The College is continuing to explore additional capabilities of the Student Planning tool and related business processes to identify possible alternatives to this approach for the future.

Payment approaches for international-student-specific programs involve unique complexities. As a result, the pay-as-you-go component of CBR does not always apply for international-student-specific programs.

Will this mean that tuition will increase for students?

RRC Polytech is committed to being one of the most affordable College’s in Western Canada while delivering long-term financial stability for the College. Financial Services is currently reviewing the costs of our program elements, including work-integrated learning, to determine a sustainable and understandable costing framework.

Will all the programs change?

Most programs will convert over time. There are a few programs such as aviation-related and apprenticeship programs that may be restricted significantly by external accreditation and safety boards.

What role do faculty members have in Academic Conversion? What changes should they expect to see?

Faculty are subject matter experts and crucial contributors to the success of this project. They have the expertise needed to help shape new curriculum content as well as delivery methods and instructional approaches. Faculty may be asked specifically to participate in course re-design.

There will be more standardization of processes which will include a greater number of automated communications to support students. This may result in a decrease to the type and volume of manual communications for some faculty.

Finally, some faculty will start to see more “out of program” students in a course that is shared with other programs, which may impact teaching styles and classroom management techniques. There will be opportunity to foster greater interdisciplinary and intercultural discussions and learning.

What are the benefits to faculty?

Here are a few of the benefits of CBR converted programs for faculty:

  • The ability to access high quality, commonly delivered courses in communications and other Human Skills subjects, through the department of Math, Science and Communication, which will allow you to focus on your areas of specialization.
  • For some, the ability to teach at new times of the day, week or year that were previously unavailable to you, thereby providing more flexibility as to when you will have time off to meet individualized needs.
  • Seeing your students’ barriers lessened and student success enhanced through a more flexible and affordable model of education.
  • Updates to many courses as part of program renewal leading to refreshed course design and content.

What is the length of a CBR term?

It is 15 weeks, inclusive of exams.

What is the credit unit length for CBR courses?

All CBR courses are either 3 Credit Units or 6 Credit Units.

How many semesters will we be offering to students in a year?

There are three standardized semesters for CBR.

Fall, which runs from late August to December end; Winter, which runs from January to April; and Spring/Summer, which runs from May to late August.

What is a credit unit?

A credit unit is 15 contact hours. A contact hour is one hour of scheduled learning activity with a group of students, led by an instructor, and usually in a classroom, laboratory, shop or clinical setting.

How many credit hours will a diploma or certificate student need to graduate?

Diploma students will have to achieve a minimum of one hundred credit hours (1500 contact hours) and certificate students will have to achieve a minimum of forty-five credit hours (660 contact hours). All other credentials have been defined in the Academic Framework.

Who is leading CBR Academic Conversion?

Please visit the Projects page of Academic Transformation for information on the Project Board.

What if the common communication courses don’t meet the competency requirements of the credential? Can we customize a common communications course?

The Human Skills project provides communications courses that are broad and competency-based. The courses have been designed to address employers’ calls for active listening, collaborative work habits, and self-aware advocacy skills.

  • The C-skills suite of courses opens with the foundational learning of Communication Strategies (COMM-1173), then offers a sector-level course that addresses broad learning outcomes within the context of the core program’s industry or area of study (ex. Communication for Business/COMM-2174 or Communication for the Life Sciences/COMM-2171).
  • A program-specific course is an option for programs that require specific learnings not covered in the foundational or sector-level courses. In addition, a course that focuses on workplace readiness has been designed for use by any program: Communication for the Workplace/COMM-2172.
  • Should your program have unique or particular learning needs to meet accreditation requirements that the current version of a C-skills course does not address, please reach out to the Human Skills Initiative team within Math, Sciences and Communication via their web page, or contact the Chair.

What happens with “scaffolded” multi-year programs where learning outcomes and skills are graduated and assessed over time?

CBR-converted programs are no different than other programs in this respect. Where students can take the courses in any order, then they are free to do so. Courses that require prior knowledge gained in previous courses will be identified with pre-requisites. Programs that go through conversion clearly identify pre-requisites and co-requisites to allow for scaffolding of knowledge and ability as the student progresses through the program.

Are we considering the ability of students to “chart their own course” and whether they have these skills? What supports are being provided?

CBR Academic Conversion provides students with greater autonomy to select their course section times and pace of learning. They will also have a greater ability to determine their course load. This level of autonomy is similar to many student experiences already taking across Canada and we know from both students and industry that this is what they want.

However, we know it can be hard to make decisions about the future. To the extent that incoming students will need additional help with their path, pace, planning and registration, they will benefit from the support of newly developed Advisor roles to help them achieve their goals, along with the continued support and expertise of our academic coordinators who are most familiar with the program and courses.

I have heard from students that they are having a hard time building their schedule with their preferred instructors. Do you have any thoughts or suggestions?

Academic Conversion is intended to provide students with greater accessibility and flexibility in their educational pace and course schedule. It does not aim to provide greater accessibility to a preferred instructor. Students can be encouraged to register in a timely fashion in order to maximize their preferred schedule but that there are other factors that may impact their options. This includes our Priority Registration Policy, a common feature among post-secondary institutions, which assigns registration time slots based on a variety of factors.

When not enough students register for a scheduled course, what happens then?

The number of sections offered for each course is generally matched to program enrolment numbers. The key difference with converted programs is that the sections may be offered at a wider range of times. There is a minimum enrolment number that must be met in order for any section to proceed; if the enrolment number is not met, there is a chance that the course section may be cancelled. We will be determining this on a case-by-case basis over the next years and closely watching student registration behaviour so that we can respond. In many cases, there will be other sections available for the student to select.