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November matchmaking events connect Concordia courses to industry and community

Professors meet with industry leaders to organize student experiential learning opportunities
November 3, 2020
Photo by Headway on Unsplash

In 2018 Concordia began collaborating with Riipen, an organization and online platform that puts professors in touch with industry and community partners. Through university-community collaborations, established organizations can benefit from Concordia expertise while providing experiential learning opportunities for students.

Collaborations are carried out online through the Riipen platform. Businesses and organizations provide data and work with professors to develop curriculum-aligned assignments for students. Students can complete their work online and professors can monitor their progress through the platform.

Danielle Morin, professor of Supply Chain and Business Technology Management, for example, wanted to give her students practice with real data analytics exercises. She collaborated with the Toronto Police Service using Riipen. They provided data and statistics which Morin’s students then interpreted; and finally her students consulted the TPS and suggested ways to improve safety and law enforcement policy.

Marketing professor Bonnie Feigenbaum likewise uses Riipen to deliver real-world work experience to her students. Feigenbaum divides her classes into teams to work on marketing research projects. Interested organizations present their projects which she assigns to student teams. The students produce marketing research proposals and surveys for the organizations, giving the students experience working on real marketing projects.

“I function as the project manager,” Feigenbaum explains. “I review the students’ submissions and prepare them for the final presentations where they share what they’ve developed over the course of the semester with their client. This class goes beyond the mid-term and final exam format to give students a real world experience that is challenging and fun.”

Some of Feigenbaum’s students recently had the opportunity to work with Global News Montreal, among other organizations.

November Riipen matchmaking events

A series of three matchmaking events — the first to be held at Concordia — will be offered in November. The events will help link Concordia instructors with industry, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), startups, and other community partners that can provide a project for students to work on in the Winter 2021 semester or beyond.

During each hour-long event, an overview of the Riipen platform and examples of potential matches will be presented. Smaller groups will then be organized according to fields of interest, and educators will have a chance to speak to partners in more depth about possible collaborations.

Instructors from all four faculties are invited to participate. The events will take place on the following dates:

  • Thursday, November 12, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.
  • Friday, November 13, 2 to 3 p.m.
  • Tuesday, November 17, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.

More details about the event can be found in the university calendar, and interested instructors and organizations can register online.

Career prep and university-community collaboration

One of Concordia’s main goals as an educational institution is to prepare students for entry into the workforce after their studies. The university does this in part by helping students develop meaningful relationships with the broader community.

There are many ways in which professors can take advantage of the Riipen platform to offer students a real-world learning opportunity from home in 2021.

Daria Terekhov, associate professor in the Department of Mechanical, Industrial and Aerospace Engineering plans to find an organization in need of engineering simulations. “As part of my master’s level simulation course, students create full simulations for organizations, systems or departments in order to identify inefficiencies and propose effective solutions.”

In the past Terekhov’s students have done simulations for Le Gym at Concordia to help determine whether new equipment should be purchased, and if so, which items. They've also done simulations for the Concordia Library to assess whether new photocopiers were required.

Students have worked with several manufacturing companies as well as non-profit organizations such as BIXI and the SPCA. Another unique project they worked on was the simulation of flood-evacuation procedures in Montreal to inform policies for reducing the total evacuation time.

“However, finding these organizations has always been a challenge: the students had to spend a lot of time and effort on reaching out to organizations at the start of the term. Having a pool of appropriate organizations through Riipen ready at the start of term would allow the students to spend more time on the projects rather than the search.” says Terekhov.

Maude Lecourt is organizer and senior lead at Concordia's Experiential Learning Office. “Riipen is a great platform and has proven to be an asset for successful collaborations with organizations outside the university," she says.

"It’s a great way to offer students experiential learning opportunities. The matchmaking event will be a great opportunity for our partners to see the talent of our professors and students. And we’re excited to see the interesting projects on which our students will soon embark.” 

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