Chemical Laboratory Technology Program Standard

The approved program standard for Chemical Laboratory Technology program of instruction leading to an Ontario College Advanced Diploma delivered by Ontario Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology (MTCU funding code 61302)

Ministry of Education and Training, August 2017


Permission to Reproduce

Acknowledgments

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction


  2. Vocational Standard


  3. Essential Employability Skills


  4. General Education Requirement


Permission to Reproduce

Permission is hereby granted to the following institutions to reproduce this document, in whole or in part, in print or by electronic means, for the following specific purposes, subject to the conditions that follow.

  1. By an Ontario college of applied arts and technology for the purposes of implementation of the program standard within a college program, including for the purpose of informing students, potential students, program advisory committees or others about programs of study.
  2. By an educational institution or school, for the purpose of informing prospective college students about programs of study at Ontario colleges of applied arts and technology.

Conditions:

  1. Every reproduction must be marked “© 2017, Queen’s Printer for Ontario” at the beginning of the document or any part of it that is reproduced.
  2. No other uses may be made of the document.
  3. The document may not be reproduced for sale.
  4. The Ministry may revoke the permission to reproduce at any time.

For permission to copy this document, in whole or in part, for other purposes or by other institutions, please contact
Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development
Programs Branch, Program Standards and Evaluation Unit
23rd floor, Mowat Block
900 Bay Street
Toronto, Ontario
M7A 1L2

Or by e mail:

Inquiries regarding specific Chemical Laboratory Technology programs offered by colleges of applied arts and technology in Ontario should be directed to the relevant college.

This publication is available on the Ministry’s Website.

© 2017, Queen’s Printer for Ontario

ISBN 978-1-4868-0588-4

Acknowledgments

The Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development acknowledges with thanks the significant contribution of the many individuals and organizations who participated in the development of this program standard. In particular, the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development would like to acknowledge the important roles of

  • all individuals and organizations who participated in the consultations;
  • the faculty, coordinators and deans of the Chemical Laboratory Technology (Ontario College Advanced Diploma) programs for their assistance throughout the project,
  • the project officers who led the development of the vocational standard, Christine Foster and Louise Campagna.

I. Introduction

This document is the Program Standard for the Chemical Laboratory Technology program of instruction leading to an Ontario College Advanced Diploma delivered by Ontario colleges of applied arts and technology (MTCU funding code 61302.

Development of System-Wide Program Standards

In 1993, the Government of Ontario initiated program standards development with the objectives of bringing a greater degree of consistency to college programming offered across the province, broadening the focus of college programs to ensure graduates have the skills to be flexible and to continue to learn and adapt, and providing public accountability for the quality and relevance of college programs.

The Program Standards and Evaluation Unit of the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development have responsibility for the development, review and approval of system-wide standards for programs of instruction at Ontario colleges of applied arts and technology.

Program Standards

Program standards apply to all similar programs of instruction offered by colleges across the province. Each program standard for a postsecondary program includes the following elements:

  • Vocational standard (the vocationally specific learning outcomes which apply to the program of instruction in question),
  • Essential employability skills (the essential employability skills learning outcomes which apply to all programs of instruction); and
  • General education requirement (the requirement for general education in postsecondary programs of instruction).

Collectively, these elements outline the essential skills and knowledge that a student must reliably demonstrate in order to graduate from the program.

Individual colleges of applied arts and technology offering the program of instruction determine the specific program structure, delivery methods and other curriculum matters to be used in assisting students to achieve the outcomes articulated in the standard. Individual colleges also determine whether additional local learning outcomes will be required to reflect specific local needs and/or interests. 

The Expression of Program Standards as Learning Outcomes

Vocational learning outcomes represent culminating demonstrations of learning and achievement. They are not simply a listing of discrete skills, nor broad statements of knowledge and comprehension. In addition, vocational learning outcomes are interrelated and cannot be viewed in isolation of one another. As such, they should be viewed as a comprehensive whole. They describe performances that demonstrate that significant integrated learning by graduates of the program has been achieved and verified.

Expressing standards as vocational learning outcomes ensures consistency in the outcomes for program graduates, while leaving to the discretion of individual colleges, curriculum matters such as the specific program structure and delivery methods.

The Presentation of the Learning Outcomes

The vocational learning outcome statements set out the culminating demonstration of learning and achievement that the student must reliably demonstrate before graduation.

The elements of the performance for each outcome define and clarify the level and quality of performance necessary to meet the requirements of the vocational learning outcome. However, it is the performance of the vocational learning outcome itself on which students are evaluated. The elements of performance are indicators of the means by which the student may proceed to satisfactory performance of the vocational learning outcome. The elements of performance do not stand alone but rather in reference to the vocational learning outcome of which they form a part.

The Development of a Program Standard

In establishing the standards development initiative, the Government determined that all postsecondary programs of instruction should include vocational skills coupled with a broader set of essential skills. This combination is considered critical to ensuring that college graduates have the skills required to be successful both upon graduation from the college program and throughout their working and personal lives.

A program standard is developed through a broad consultation process involving a range of stakeholders with a direct interest in the program area, including employers, professional associations, universities, secondary schools and program graduates working in the field, in addition to students, faculty and administrators at the colleges themselves. It represents a consensus of participating stakeholders on the essential learning that all program graduates should have achieved.

Updating the Program Standard

The Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development will undertake regular reviews of the vocational learning outcomes for this program to ensure that the Chemical Laboratory Technology Program Standard remains appropriate and relevant to the needs of students and employers across the Province of Ontario. To confirm that this document is the most up-to-date release, please contact the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development at the address or email address noted on the inside cover page.

Table of Contents


II. Vocational Standard

All graduates of Chemical Laboratory Technology programs have achieved the vocational learning outcomes (VLOs) listed in the following pages, in addition to achieving the essential employability outcomes and meeting the general education (GE) requirement.

Preamble

The Chemical Laboratory Technology program emphasizes advanced concepts in chemistry, biochemistry, biology, physics and mathematics applied to chemical analysis and complex problem-solving in a “hands-on” laboratory environment.

Graduates conduct tests and develop solutions to problems in analyses of raw materials, products or environmental samples, synthesize organic and inorganic compounds and prepare reports and technical documentation related to chemical analyses.

Graduates effectively manage equipment and computer/instrument interface to test, calibrate*, troubleshoot*, evaluate and maintain chemical analysis equipment to assure accurate sampling, analyses and results. Within the laboratory environment, graduates implement, coordinate and evaluate quality assurance and quality control procedures, including statistical analysis, in accordance with international and industry standards and government regulations.

As members of the chemical laboratory team, graduates collaborate with others and lead teams to achieve identified laboratory tasks and project goals. Graduates lead practices in the chemical laboratory that contribute to a healthy, safe and sustainable* environment for oneself and others. As professionals in the chemical laboratory field, graduates develop and implement strategies to enhance competence as a chemical laboratory technologist.

Graduates may find employment as chemical laboratory technologists in a range of settings including, research laboratories, government agencies, educational institutions and technical sales, and in industries such as pharmaceutical and biotechnology, cosmetics and consumer health products, petroleum, mining, water and wastewater, solid waste, environmental protection, energy and food science.

There may be opportunities for graduates to pursue further educational and professional qualifications through articulation agreements between the colleges, universities and professional associations. Graduates should contact individual colleges, universities and professional associations for further information.

In Canada, the national and provincial associations of professionals working in this field have created, published and endorsed educational standards that define learning outcomes for graduates at the technologist level who wish to enter this field. The program standard that follows is informed by those requirements as well as input from program stakeholders in a broad-based consultative process.

Please see the glossary of Terms

Endnote: The Ontario Council on Articulation and Transfer (ONCAT) maintains the provincial postsecondary credit transfer portal, ONTransfer.

Synopsis of the Vocational Learning Outcomes
Chemical Laboratory Technology (Ontario College Advanced Diploma)

The graduate has reliably demonstrated the ability to

  1. research, determine and perform procedures related to the purification, analysis and synthesis of chemical compounds and samples.
  2. perform, coordinate and implement laboratory procedures to conduct quantitative and qualitative analyses and tests.
  3. select, test, calibrate*, troubleshoot* and evaluate chemical analysis instruments and equipment to assure accurate results.
  4. implement, coordinate and evaluate quality assurance and quality control procedures, including statistical analysis, in accordance with international and industry standards and government regulations.
  5. complete, monitor and manage chemical laboratory tasks and projects using computer and information technologies.
  6. participate in health and safety practices and initiatives in the chemical laboratory to ensure a safe environment for oneself and others.
  7. promote the efficient, sustainable* and ethical use of chemical laboratory resources through the application and analysis of sustainability* practices.
  8. communicate laboratory data, results, analysis and recommendations through the preparation, interpretation and presentation of technical reports.
  9. collaborate with others and work in chemical laboratory teams to complete laboratory tasks and projects.
  10. develop strategies for ongoing professional development to enhance competence as a chemical laboratory technologist.

* See glossary

Note: The learning outcomes have been numbered as a point of reference; numbering does not imply prioritization, sequencing, nor weighting of significance.

The Vocational Learning Outcomes

1. The graduate has reliably demonstrated the ability to

research, determine and perform procedures related to the purification, analysis and synthesis of chemical compounds and samples.

Elements of the Performance

  • use mathematical skills such as algebraic equations, functions, factors, ratios, conversions and linear regressions to perform complex analytical lab-based tasks and to propose solutions.
  • apply knowledge of the principles of physics such as heat, sound, light, electricity and mechanics in the performance of chemical analysis.
  • apply knowledge of the principles of general chemistry such as nomenclature, acid/base theory, stoichiometric calculations and redox reactions.
  • apply knowledge of organic, inorganic, analytical and physical chemistry to adapt chemical laboratory tasks and processes where necessary.
  • implement standard synthetic procedures.
  • use standard separation and purification methods, including distillation, crystallization, preparatory chromatography and extraction.
  • validate purity and identity of products using established procedures.
  • calculate yield of process.
  • conduct basic environmental lab techniques, such as dissolved oxygen, turbidity measurement and biological oxygen demand.

* See glossary

2. The graduate has reliably demonstrated the ability to

perform, coordinate and implement laboratory procedures to conduct quantitative and qualitative analyses and tests.

Elements of the Performance

  • set up and conduct valid chemical experiments, tests and analysis.
  • coordinate the collection, handling, logging, preservation, tracking, preparation and analysis of samples using appropriate techniques.
  • coordinate the sampling processes that ensure appropriate techniques are used and quality controls are respected.
  • use, or organize and monitor the proper use of, laboratory equipment and/or performance of chemical techniques to identify the quality and quantity of analyte (e.g., titration, mass spectroscopy, spectrometric, electrometric and chromatographic instrumental techniques and their associated data reduction systems).
  • analyze the physical properties of chemicals and materials. efficiently, using standard operating procedures (SOP)*.
  • prepare solutions and dilutions using established protocols and determine appropriate concentration units and conversions.
  • predict the outcomes of a chemical reaction and recognize and interpret unexpected results.
  • perform pipetting to transfer exact quantities of a liquid during chemical sampling, tests and processes.
  • use analytical balances and weighing techniques to measure mass accurately and precisely.
  • perform procedural and analytical calculations and interpret the results.
  • document, interpret and report quantitative and qualitative experimental results in the required format and noting traceability.

* See glossary

3. The graduate has reliably demonstrated the ability to

select, test, calibrate*, troubleshoot* and evaluate chemical analysis instruments and equipment to assure accurate results.

Elements of the Performance

  • interpret and perform analysis using instruments common to the chemical laboratory environment, e.g., spectrophotometers (infrared, ultraviolet, visible light) and gas and liquid chromatography and relate the underlying theory and science associated with their use.
  • discuss the use of advanced chemical analysis, e.g., high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), gas chromatography (GC), mass spectrometry (MS), atomic absorption spectroscopy (AAS) and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR).
  • interpret and perform analysis using electromechanical methods, including titrations and ion selective electrodes.
  • create calibration standards and samples for analytical instrumental analysis.
  • use computer/instrument interface.
  • recognize when troubleshooting* is necessary.
  • use standard testing equipment to support troubleshooting* activities.
  • use a variety of references to complete troubleshooting*.
  • recommend preventive maintenance protocols and maintain equipment.
  • evaluate performance of equipment by applying mathematical and scientific principles.
  • take a scientific approach to solving non-routine problems related to chemical analysis equipment, by identifying the problem, determining the problem-solving sequence, searching for relevant information, recognizing limitations, troubleshooting* and recommending appropriate actions.

* See glossary

4. The graduate has reliably demonstrated the ability to

implement, coordinate and evaluate quality assurance and quality control procedures, including statistical analysis, in accordance with international and industry standards and government regulations.

Elements of the Performance

  • construct, use and interpret quality control charts.
  • respond to test results by following appropriate corrective protocols.
  • outline the importance of quality assurance and quality control programs for the industry and accredited laboratories.
  • use quality assurance and quality control terminology effectively in written and oral communications.
  • assess accuracy and precision of statistical data.
  • use statistical calculations to meet quality assurance and quality control requirements and criteria.
  • evaluate analytical data and inter-laboratory proficiency results.
  • assess legal and professional ramifications of reporting inaccurate results from analytical data analysis.
  • comply with quality assurance procedures.
  • programs of sampling and analysis to maintain quality standards of raw materials and chemical intermediates.
  • coordinate quality assurance inspections, sampling, testing or audits that ensure chemical analysis procedures are conducted according to required specifications.
  • determine measurable standards to assess quality assurance sampling and testing.
  • coordinate the implementation of quality control systems e.g., International Organization for Standardization (ISO) series systems.
  • inspect, sample, test and evaluate for quality control against established standards to uncover anomalies.
  • identify root causes of quality problems and recommend or carry out the needed corrective measures.
  • prepare, interpret, manage and present reports on quality assurance and quality control data for established statistical process control and planning purpose.
  • determine method detection limits and system suitability for analytical procedures in accordance with current organizational practices.
  • prepare, maintain and manage clear and accurate standard operating procedures (SOP)* and other process documents in accordance with current laboratory practices.
  • ensure good laboratory practices (GLP)* are followed regarding quality assurance and quality control processes.

* See glossary

5. The graduate has reliably demonstrated the ability to

complete, monitor and manage chemical laboratory tasks and projects using computer and information technologies.

Elements of the Performance

  • select and use computers and information technologies to perform, analyze and solve complex technical problems related to the chemical laboratory field.
  • set up and use computers associated with monitoring of laboratory automation.
  • use specialized laboratory related software to solve complex problems in chemical laboratory analysis, e.g., Agilent, Chemstation, Waters Empower.
  • select and use current technologies to compile, manage, process, interpret, report and present data, e.g., word processors, spreadsheets, databases and presentation software.
  • create and use collaborative documents, e.g., Google docs, Excel worksheets.
  • use current software to acquire, store, retrieve, process and present data.
  • monitor the use of a laboratory information management system (LIMS) to ensure effective management of laboratory data.
  • ensure proper storage, backup and naming of digital laboratory files in accordance with laboratory filing conventions.
  • use electronic communication systems to communicate laboratory data and results, e.g., file transfer.
  • maintain and monitor the security of electronic chemical laboratory data.

* See glossary

6. The graduate has reliably demonstrated the ability to

participate in health and safety practices and initiatives in the chemical laboratory to ensure a safe environment for oneself and others.

Elements of the Performance

  • follow safety-related practices in keeping with the current Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA),1990, regulations, standards and organizational policies.
  • maintain a safe working environment for self and others by applying safety principles and by using protective devices and risk reduction strategies.
  • supervise the proper care, handling, segmentation and disposal procedures for organic and inorganic waste.
  • monitor the safe handling and disposal of dangerous substances and materials in accordance with the current Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS).
  • monitor that all laboratory procedures are performed in accordance with established workplace safety policies, practices and accident prevention procedures.
  • identify, report and where appropriate, intervene in situations which are potentially unsafe.
  • modify the environment to reduce or eliminate hazards.
  • lead the development, evaluation and adaptation of safety protocols in the chemical laboratory environment.
  • respond appropriately to emergency situations according to organizational practices and standard operating procedures (SOP)*.
  • prepare required health and safety documentation reports.
  • advocate for the reduction and elimination of hazards in the chemical laboratory environment.

* See glossary

7. The graduate has reliably demonstrated the ability to

promote the efficient, sustainable* and ethical use of chemical laboratory resources through the application and analysis of sustainability* practices.

Elements of the Performance

  • explain and assess the principles of sustainability* in a chemical laboratory environment.
  • explain the relevance of environmental legislation and regulations to the chemical laboratory field, e.g., Canadian Environmental Protection Act (1999), Ontario Environmental Assessment Act (1990), Environmental Bill of Rights (1993).
  • apply best practices for reducing waste, conserving energy and water consumption and reducing emissions to bring about effective and efficient use of resources.
  • apply sustainability* practices when selecting and using materials, e.g., life cycle analysis*.
  • make decisions based on ethical principles.
  • gather and analyze pertinent information to assess the business rationale behind organizational sustainability* initiatives.
  • describe the potential impact of sustainability* indicators (SDI) on chemical laboratory practices.
  • identify and resolve social and environmental project issues applying ethical reasoning.

* See glossary

8. The graduate has reliably demonstrated the ability to

communicate laboratory data, results, analysis and recommendations through the preparation, interpretation and presentation of technical reports.

Elements of the Performance

  • compile, organize, prepare and present scientific and technical data and results.
  • research, gather and use information from appropriate chemical and related literature.
  • organize and write letters, memos and scientific technical and business documents and reports.
  • prepare and organize technical data, materials and documents in accordance with recognized standards, e.g., International Standards Organization (ISO) and the Canadian Standards Association (CSA).
  • plan, organize and deliver oral presentations of technical information using appropriate terminology and visuals.

* See glossary

9. The graduate has reliably demonstrated the ability to

collaborate with others and work in chemical laboratory teams to complete laboratory tasks and projects.

Elements of the Performance

  • plan and coordinate activities of the chemical laboratory team with clear, precise communication.
  • establish group norms for maintaining equality and unity within diverse working teams in the chemical laboratory environments.
  • establish group goals and support and monitor progress towards achieving goals.
  • collaborate and liaise with a range of professionals in the chemical laboratory field, including chemists, chemical engineers, chemical and environmental technologists and technicians and regulatory authorities.
  • use conflict resolution strategies to bring about mutually agreeable resolution of conflicts in the laboratory workplace.
  • contribute to the development of organizational policies that strengthen an inclusive, equitable, respectful, safe and co-operative laboratory workplace.

* See glossary

10. The graduate has reliably demonstrated the ability to

develop strategies for ongoing professional development to enhance competence as a chemical laboratory technologist.

Elements of the Performance

  • seek out and act upon constructive feedback to enhance work performance.
  • develop a plan to keep pace with and adapt to changing workforce demands and trends, as well as technological advances in the chemical laboratory field.
  • take responsibility for one’s own job related performance, as an individual and as a member of a multidisciplinary team.
  • identify training courses, workshops and programs to enhance employment opportunities in the chemical laboratory field.
  • develop a plan that identifies one’s strengths and weaknesses and proposes a strategy for improved skills to meet future goals.
  • identify the roles and benefits of professional organizations and certification, e.g., Ontario Association of Certified Engineering Technicians and Technologists (OACETT), Association of the Chemical Profession of Ontario (ACPO), Canadian Society for Chemical Technology (CSCT), ECO Canada and Ontario Water Wastewater Certification (OWWCO).
  • develop a plan for building a professional network and for participating in chemical laboratory professional associations and activities.
  • identify workplace opportunities and challenges in the chemical laboratory field.

* See glossary

Glossary of Terms

Calibrate (calibration) - To use a device to measure a sample, or samples, with precisely known properties ("standard(s)") and then to use the measurements produced by the device and the known values of the property together to either a) create a relationship between the measurements produced by the device and the true values of the property being measured or b) to adjust the device to obtain a direct reading of the true value of the property.

Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) - A quality system concerned with the organizational process and the conditions under which laboratory studies and activities are planned, performed, monitored, recorded, archived and reported.

Life Cycle Analysis - Analysis of the environmental impact of a product during the entirety of its life-cycle, from resource extraction to post-consumer waste disposal. It is a comprehensive approach to examining the environmental impacts of a product.

Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) - A set of step-by-step instructions compiled by an organization to direct the completion of routine and/or hazardous operations. The goals of SOPs are to achieve efficiency, quality and safe output and uniformity of performance while reducing miscommunication, risks and\or failure to comply with industry regulations.

Sustainable (Sustainability) - Sustainability encompasses the ethical ideal that calls for optimizing the long-term carrying capacity and vitality of three interdependent systems – environmental, social and economic. In a chemical laboratory environment, sustainability aims to improve the quality of human life, while protecting nature, by engaging in chemical processes that are non-polluting, conserve energy and resources and protect ecosystems, that benefit employees, consumers and communities and that strengthen enterprises that foster economic growth and prosperity.

Troubleshoot (troubleshooting) – To diagnose laboratory equipment and process problems and to propose solutions.

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III. Essential Employability Skills

All graduates of the Chemical Laboratory Technology program of instruction must have reliably demonstrated the essential employability skills learning outcomes listed on the following pages, in addition to achieving the vocational learning outcomes and meeting the general education requirement.

Context

Essential Employability Skills (EES) are skills that, regardless of a student’s program or discipline, are critical for success in the workplace, in day-to-day living and for lifelong learning.

The teaching and attainment of these EES for students in, and graduates from, Ontario’s colleges of applied arts and technology are anchored in a set of three fundamental assumptions:

  • these skills are important for every adult to function successfully in society today;
  • our colleges are well equipped and well positioned to prepare graduates with these skills;
  • these skills are equally valuable for all graduates, regardless of the level of their credential, whether they pursue a career path, or they pursue further education.

Skill Categories

To capture these skills, the following six categories define the essential areas where graduates must demonstrate skills and knowledge.

  • Communication
  • Numeracy
  • Critical Thinking & Problem Solving
  • Information Management
  • Interpersonal
  • Personal 

Application and Implementation

In each of the six skill categories, there are a number of defining skills, or sub skills, identified to further articulate the requisite skills identified in the main skill categories. The following chart illustrates the relationship between the skill categories, the defining skills within the categories and learning outcomes to be achieved by graduates from all postsecondary programs of instruction that lead to an Ontario College credential.

EES may be embedded in General Education or vocational courses, or developed through discrete courses. However these skills are developed, all graduates with Ontario College credentials must be able to reliably demonstrate the essential skills required in each of the six categories.

Skill Category

Defining Skills:
Skill areas to be demonstrated by graduates:

Learning Outcomes: The levels of achievement required by graduates.
The graduate has reliably demonstrated the ability to:

Communication

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Speaking
  • Listening
  • Presenting
  • Visual literacy
  • communicate clearly, concisely and correctly in the written, spoken and visual form that fulfills the purpose and meets the needs of the audience.
  • respond to written, spoken or visual messages in a manner that ensures effective communication.

Numeracy

  • Understanding and applying mathematical concepts and reasoning
  • Analyzing and using numerical data
  • Conceptualizing
  • execute mathematical operations accurately.

Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

  • Analyzing
  • Synthesizing
  • Evaluating
  • Decision making
  • Creative and innovative thinking
  • apply a systematic approach to solve problems.
  • use a variety of thinking skills to anticipate and solve problems.

Information Management

  • Gathering and managing information
  • Selecting and using appropriate tools and technology for a task or a project
  • Computer literacy
  • Internet skills
  • locate, select, organize and document information using appropriate technology and information systems.
  • analyze, evaluate and apply relevant information from a variety of sources.

Interpersonal

  • Teamwork
  • Relationship management
  • Conflict resolution
  • Leadership
  • Networking
  • show respect for the diverse opinions, values, belief systems and contributions of others.
  • interact with others in groups or teams in ways that contribute to effective working relationships and the achievement of goals.

Personal

  • Managing self
  • Managing change and being flexible and adaptable
  • Engaging in reflective practices
  • Demonstrating personal responsibility
  • manage the use of time and other resources to complete projects.
  • take responsibility for one’s own actions, decisions and their consequences.

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IV. General Education Requirement

All graduates of the Chemical Laboratory Technology program must have met the general education requirement described on the following pages, in addition to achieving the vocational and essential employability skills learning outcomes.

Requirement

The General Education Requirement for programs of instruction is stipulated in the Credentials Framework (Appendix A in the Minister’s Binding Policy Directive Framework for Programs of Instruction).

In programs of instruction leading to either an Ontario College Diploma or an Ontario College Advanced Diploma, it is required that graduates have been engaged in learning that exposes them to at least one discipline outside their main field of study and increases their awareness of the society and culture in which they live and work. This will typically be accomplished by students taking 3 to 5 courses (or the equivalent) designed discretely and separately from vocational learning opportunities.

This general education learning would normally be delivered using a combination of required and elective processes.

Purpose

The purpose of General Education in the Ontario college system is to contribute to the development of citizens who are conscious of the diversity, complexity and richness of the human experience; who are able to establish meaning through this consciousness; and who, as a result, are able to contribute thoughtfully, creatively and positively to the society in which they live and work.

General Education strengthens students’ essential employability skills, such as critical analysis, problem solving and communication, in the context of an exploration of topics with broad-based personal and/or societal importance.

Themes

The themes listed below will be used to provide direction to colleges in the development and identification of courses that are designed to fulfil the General Education Requirement for programs of instructions.

Each theme provides a statement of Rationale and offers suggestions related to more specific topic areas that could be explored within each area. These suggestions are neither prescriptive nor exhaustive. They are included to provide guidance regarding the nature and scope of content that would be judged as meeting the intent and overall goals of General Education.

1. Arts in Society:

Rationale:

The capacity of a person to recognize and evaluate artistic and creative achievements is useful in many aspects of his/her life. Since artistic expression is a fundamentally human activity, which both reflects and anticipates developments in the larger culture, its study will enhance the student’s cultural and self-awareness.

Content:

Courses in this area should provide students with an understanding of the importance of visual and creative arts in human affairs, of the artist’s and writer’s perceptions of the world and the means by which those perceptions are translated into the language of literature and artistic expression. They will also provide an appreciation of the aesthetic values used in examining works of art and possibly, a direct experience in expressing perceptions in an artistic medium.

2. Civic Life:

Rationale:

In order for individuals to live responsibly and to reach their potential as individuals and as citizens of society, they need to understand the patterns of human relationships that underlie the orderly interactions of a society’s various structural units. Informed people will have knowledge of the meaning of civic life in relation to diverse communities at the local, national and global level and an awareness of international issues and the effects of these on Canada, as well as Canada’s place in the international community.

Content:

Courses in this area should provide students with an understanding of the meaning of freedoms, rights and participation in community and public life, in addition to a working knowledge of the structure and function of various levels of government (municipal, provincial, national) in a Canadian and/or in an international context. They may also provide an historical understanding of major political issues affecting relations between the various levels of government in Canada and their constituents.

3. Social and Cultural Understanding:

Rationale:

Knowledge of the patterns and precedents of the past provide the means for a person to gain an awareness of his or her place in contemporary culture and society. In addition to this awareness, students will acquire a sense of the main currents of their culture and that of other cultures over an extended period of time in order to link personal history to the broader study of culture.

Content:

Courses in this area are those that deal broadly with major social and cultural themes. These courses may also stress the nature and validity of historical evidence and the variety of historical interpretation of events. Courses will provide the students with a view and understanding of the impact of cultural, social, ethnic or linguistic characteristics.

4. Personal Understanding:

Rationale:

Educated people are equipped for life-long understanding and development of themselves as integrated physiological and psychological entities. They are aware of the ideal need to be fully functioning persons: mentally, physically, emotionally, socially, spiritually and vocationally.

Content:

Courses in this area will focus on understanding the individual: his or her evolution; situation; relationship with others; place in the environment and universe; achievements and problems; and his or her meaning and purpose. They will also allow students the opportunity to study institutionalized human social behaviour in a systematic way. Courses fulfilling this requirement may be oriented to the study of the individual within a variety of contexts.

5. Science and Technology:

Rationale:

Matter and energy are universal concepts in science, forming a basis for understanding the interactions that occur in living and non-living systems in our universe. Study in this area provides an understanding of the behaviour of matter that provides a foundation for further scientific study and the creation of broader understanding about natural phenomena. Similarly, the various applications and developments in the area of technology have an increasing impact on all aspects of human endeavour and have numerous social, economic and philosophical implications. For example, the operation of computers to process data at high speed has invoked an interaction between machines and the human mind that is unique in human history. This and other technological developments have a powerful impact on how we deal with many of the complex questions in our society.

Content:

Courses in this area should stress scientific inquiry and deal with basic or fundamental questions of science rather than applied ones. They may be formulated from traditional basic courses in such areas of study as biology, chemistry, physics, astronomy, geology or agriculture. As well, courses related to understanding the role and functions of computers (e.g., data management and information processing) and assorted computer-related technologies should be offered in a non-applied manner to provide students with an opportunity to explore the impact of these concepts and practices on their lives.

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