Project-based learning to gives students hands-on experience
George Brown College (GBC) will be implementing a more in-depth alternative to case studies this coming winter semester, in the form of a new experiential learning platform called Riipen.
Riipen was created in 2013 as a student project at the University of Victoria, according to Rebecca Tapiero, the project co-ordinator of work integrated learning.
Tapiero simplifies Riipen as “an online platform where faculty, industry, and students can collaborate on real-time applied projects.”
Unlike case studies, which are often dated, Riipen projects are in alignment with the real-life needs of an organization or company.
A collaboration forms after an organization reviews the GBC course outcomes on the platform where needs between the organization and course align.
“Once there’s a good match, that company is added to the portfolio for that particular faculty’s course,” the co-ordinator explained.
There are currently about 10 departments at GBC working on implementing Riipen into their program.
These include the culinary school, mechanical engineering, and hospitality & tourism management, among others.
The program is a “win-win,” according to Tapiero, who explains that there are benefits for the students, the company, and for GBC as a whole.
“It’s an advantage for the students because they’re getting real-time, applied experience. So they can now add these skills to their resume.” The college will benefit as well, as it allows GBC to “expand our network of partnerships that we have,” she said.
The project coordinator is excited to see Riipen implemented at GBC.
“We’re very optimistic and we have a lot of positive feelings about Riipen. We think it would be a great opportunity for everyone,” she said.
According to Abiella Schneider-Friedman, Riipen’s academic relationship manager for GBC, the introduction of this platform is beneficial to students, educators, and employers.
“As a student, when you graduate and you’re applying for even entry level positions, they typically require that you have work experience, so it’s really important for students to gain work experience before they graduate,” she said.
While she noted that co-op programs are one way to gain such experience, Schneider-Friedman indicated that there are limitations with co-ops.
It is therefore advantageous to introduce a more flexible alternative.
“We want to just increase access to work-integrated learning to as many students as we can, so the Riipen model is more scale-able to a co-op or an internship,” she added.
With faculty currently being trained on the program, students can expect to see Riipen being integrated into their programs this coming January, however there are many open challenges available now. GBC students can create an account and view challenges at riipen.com.