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Teaching Essentials

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have questions about course-based registration that aren’t answered below, email us at

Why are we changing to course-based registration?

Education is becoming increasingly portable. Students want more control and flexibility in the way they learn, so we also need to evolve to stay ahead of the changing landscape in post-secondary education.

In the next 10 years more than 50% of existing jobs will be disrupted by technology. Some of these jobs will change dramatically, while others will be replaced by jobs that haven’t even been invented. Employers’ needs are changing rapidly and we have to adapt.

Students’ needs are also changing. Students can’t always take a year or two out of their lives; they sometimes want courses in smaller chunks. They also want the flexibility to take courses from other programs to adapt their education to meet their specific needs and interests.

Finally, currently students must pay for an entire program even if they are not taking all the courses in the program. Many students lack opportunities to take courses part time or pay for courses as they take them. This creates financial barriers.

Why not keep the status quo?

The greatest risk is falling behind the trend in post-secondary education and failing to meet the needs of an educational landscape that is demanding more flexibility. We risk losing students.

This move enables our learners to develop more skill and become even more employable, and it also allows us to be more agile in meeting the demands of business and industry.

We’re seeing more people from the workforce looking to re-skill or upgrade their current skill set. Being able to offer a pathway that can be customized and accessible for either full or part-time will drive enrolments and keep the College responsive and competitive.

Is course-based registration available for international students?

While Phase I was only available to domestic students in four programs, Phase II is expanding to include international students. The Project Team is currently exploring a model to best support the permit and visa requirements for international students. This may include enrolling international students in the current registration model for term 1 and then opening up course-based registration in term 2 and beyond.

Will this mean that tuition will increase for students?

No. RRC 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.

How many people are involved with course-based registration Phase II?

Over 580 faculty, staff and leaders are directly involved and impacted by the changes in Phase II.

Will all the programs change?

While our desired outcome is that many, if not the majority, of programs will transition to a course-based format, we’re very aware that some programs, like apprenticeship and other programs will not change.

What will things look like as more programs transition?

We will see an increased focus on program re-design, an increased opportunity for students to take courses across programs, and an increase in enrolment.

We will see more blended and online course offerings as well as a full adoption of LEARN for all instructors.

By moving to a common term, we hope to see better space utilization and more efficient classroom scheduling, which generates new opportunities.

How will this change affect other projects underway?

This project is a key priority for the College. Other projects may be affected, but there is no anticipated negative impact to other active projects.

Are people going to lose their jobs as a result of this shift to CBR?

No. There are no anticipated job losses, but there may be opportunities where roles are changed/expanded or additional resources are required to support this change.

Will this change affect the budgeting process or impact any existing budgets?

This work is still underway, so it is too early to speculate on how existing budgets may change.

What role will faculty members have in this process?

Faculty will be involved in program/course re-design, including converting programs to the new credential framework, adapting courses to common terms and the potential for greater blended/online options.

There will be more standardization of processes which will include a greater number of automated communications to support students.

Faculty may begin instructing students outside their programs. In some instances, faculty may be invited to consider teaching evenings, weekends, and during the summer.

Faculty will start to see more “out of program” students in a course which may impact teaching styles and classroom management techniques.

There will be some updates to course content as part of the program renewals taking place.

For those new to it, the use of LEARN for all courses at a minimum level. The description of that minimum level will be posted on the CBR site along with other CBR guidelines shortly.

What are the benefits to faculty?

  1. The ability to access high quality, commonly delivered courses in communications, math and science as part of the CBR program renewal, which will allow you to focus on your areas of specialization.
  2. 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.
  3. Seeing your students’ barriers lessened and student success enhanced through a more flexible and affordable model of education.
  4. Updates to some courses as part of CBR program renewal leading to refreshed course design and content.

Is the length of the term changing?

The calendar will remain at a 16-week term overall and the start date for the term will still be one week prior to the Labour Day long weekend. That said, some programs will begin to run with a shorter 15 week term. In those instances, the students and staff in those programs will be informed. Diploma programs that introduce CBR in Fall of 2020 who will be transitioning to a 15 week term will need to run both the current and new term lengths until the CBR conversion is complete.  This will grandfather current students and allow them to continue the old program and graduate in a timely and effective manner.

What will be the credit length for courses in CBR?

Starting in Fall 2020, most CBR courses will be either three or six credit hours. This is equal to forty-five hours (three credit hours) of contact time and ninety hours (six credit hours) of contact time across the term.

How many terms will we be offering to students?

RRC wishes to have three terms, Sep – Dec, Jan – Apr and May – Aug.  Some programs will eventually be looking at utilizing the term of May – Aug to offer additional courses (intersession or distance) for students looking to make-up credit hours or take additional courses to lighten their regular term.

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.

Will instructors need to learn new software?

RRC is requesting all courses utilize LEARN going forward.  While many programs have already implemented this standard for most courses, it will become mandatory that all courses be available on Learn. The expectation is that courses will have a basic Learn presence to a minimum standard that will be defined in the weeks ahead.

RRC will be also be replacing Web Advisor with Student Planning for students. Student Planning offers a significantly more interactive and proactive planning element that supports students in their course selections as well as assists Advisors in supporting students. Instructors will need to become familiar with this new software. The introduction of Student Planning is expected to be implemented June of 2020. Training has been discussed and will be provided by the College.

What role will Student Services play going forward?

As the project evolves, students will have more choices and, therefore, there will be a greater emphasis on advising. Students will need help with academic planning and course choices to ensure they have the correct courses and timing to achieve  their credentials. They will also need support to creatively connect the dots when interested in interdisciplinary courses. Student Services will also play an important role in using the Student Planning tool, which will replace Web Advisor, to help students plan and select courses.

What role will Finance play going forward?

Finance will play an important part in creating a new financial model and ensuring all courses capture direct/indirect costs. Forecasting revenue may be challenging as we are unsure how student behaviour may change when given the opportunity to take programs through a less-than full course load or outside the cohort model.

What long-term changes will Enrolment Services and Registrar experience?

Beyond the transition period, we anticipate Enrolment Services and Registrar will experience greater efficiencies through the elimination of time-consuming tasks and increased ability to dedicate more time to quality service enabling student success.

Who is making the major decisions for the project?

The Course-Based Registration Steering Committee is comprised of members of the Senior Leadership Team that is overseeing the project:

  • Christine E. Watson, VP Academic
  • RaeAnn Thibeault, Interim ED Academic
  • Aileen Najduch, ED Community & Student Services
  • Derek Kochenash, Dean, Skilled Trades & Technologies
  • Kirk Johnson, Dean, Business & Applied Arts; Hospitality & Culinary Arts
  • Eddy Lau, Director, International Education
  • Kathy Kerr, Dean, Continuing Education
  • Kerri Caldwell, Dean, School of Education, Arts and Sciences
  • Nadine Ogborn, Director, Centre for Learning and Program Excellence
  • Craig MacDonald, Director, Information Technology Solutions
  • Michael D Krywy, Research Manager, Institutional Analysis & Planning
  • Anna Hughes, Director, Enrolment Services & Registrar
  • Ryan Todd Green, Director, Financial Services
  • Jacqueline Wood, Organizational Development Consultant, Change Practioner for CBR
  • Nigel Louis, Quality Assurance Manager, Change Practitioner for CBR
  • Sandy Rozecki, Project Manager, Academic