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Top employers collaborate with Lassonde on new Markham program curriculum

A virtual Curriculum Designers’ Roundtable hosted by York University’s Lassonde School of Engineering on February 23 brought together experts and community stakeholders to engage in a discussion on the Computer Science for Software Development (CSSD) program coming to the new Markham Campus.

The event welcomed more than 40 attendees from sectors spanning a multitude of industries.

Gordon J Binsted, deputy provost, Markham, delivered the opening remarks to more than 40 attendees from a rich cross-section of industry collaborators, followed by a welcome from Alice Pitt, senior advisor, Markham academic strategic planning.

Participants were asked to share insight and input into the development of this new program.

“The success of Markham Campus depends on building strong partnerships with local employers and community members, that’s why we are focused on providing opportunities for community engagement,” said Gordon J Binsted. “This event was exemplary, with over 40 participants from companies and non-profits across the Markham area. Building these partnerships is crucial since this will provide opportunities for collaboration in research, special projects, and experiential education.”

Amir H Chinaei delivered a presentation to introduce the CSSD program at Markham, which led to discussions on the potential for innovative co-op and internship programs, the benefits of experiential learning and the optimal length of these programs. Discussions also centred around what courses should be covered in the CSSD program – based on current trends and projections about where organizations and industries are headed in the next four to five years – with a focus on topics like AI (artificial intelligence), machine learning, blockchain, quantum computing and security.

Attendees had an opportunity to share ideas on how their organizations can contribute to or engage with the program, including opportunities for future collaboration through course projects, guest lectures, co-ops and more.

Beyond curriculum, the importance of interpersonal ‘soft’ skills was discussed, with participants sharing notable things they learned, or wish they could have learned, when they were in university.

Attendees included representatives from large companies including IBM, AMD, Qualcomm and Rogers, Markham-based businesses such as Constellation HomeBuilder Systems, DecisivEdge, Hop In Technology, Iristel, and ISIGN Media, as well as the Regional Municipality of York, the City of Markham and Ontario Library Services Centre.

The CSSD program promises a strong emphasis on project-based, experiential learning through a self-paced, flexible schedule, coupled with the development of communication, interpersonal and other durable skills. In addition to in-depth technical knowledge and skills, students will learn about privacy, ethics, law and social and economic responsibilities and their application in computing. In-class and lab learning will be complemented through project-based pedagogy with exciting experiential education opportunities in Markham and York Region’s thriving technology industry.

The organization of the event was a joint effort by the Lassonde School of Engineering and the Experiential Education Office at York University. The members of the organizing committee included Melanie Belore, Amir H Chinaei, Alexandra M Demoe, Parag Jain, Jonatan Schroeder, Laksh Vig, Alexandra Yugbovwre and Larry Yueli Zhang.

Learn more about programs that will be offered by Lassonde at the new York Markham Campus by visiting the Markham Campus website.