UTM has revealed more details about its plans for a possible facility in Brampton. According to UTM principal Deep Saini, the Brampton presence, if selected, would use virtual technology to deliver content along with some physical facilities for teaching.
“We are certainly not looking at setting up a whole UTM-style campus in Brampton,” said Saini in an interview with The Medium, who explained that the facility would use virtual interactive technology as part of the method to educate students.
“We have a rich experience of delivering education through interactive videos, like we do for our Mississauga Academy of Medicine,” said Saini. “Now we have common classes where students would be sitting at the UTM campus and downtown Toronto and they are taught as a common group through very powerful video linkages that are interactive.”
The virtually interactive facility would allow U of T to provide services to students in Brampton at a fraction of the cost related to establishing a campus. According to Saini, however, the virtual interactive features would not be used as the sole teaching method.
“I am certain that there would be physical teaching facilities in the Brampton facility too,” said Saini. “You can’t do everything through interactive videos.”
On March 3, the Blue Ribbon Panel was appointed under Brampton mayor Linda Jeffrey to address increasing demand for a university in the City of Brampton. In an online FAQ, the City of Brampton announced that a Brampton university could help ease access to local students who have to burden themselves with the cost of travel and housing at distant universities.
The Blue Ribbon Panel is expected to recommend which postsecondary institution will best serve Brampton’s needs by December 2015. If U of T is selected, the university must formally apply to the Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities for consideration next year.
Former Ontario premier William G. Davis will chair the panel and Jaipaul Massey Singh, chairman of the board for the Brampton Board of Trade, will vice-chair. Along with other members of the Blue Ribbon Panel, they are responsible for presenting the project plan to the mayor and City Council after a few months-long procedure of speaking with interested institutions.
Saini also commented on the issue, stating, “It’s really strange that somebody from Brampton should be able to get to downtown Toronto more easily than to get to UTM, where the distance is much smaller. The transportation is not very efficient. We simply want to offer [students] more choices and this may increase the enrollment of Brampton students and make it easier for those who are enrolled today to receive that education.”
Although a location within the Peel region has yet to be decided, various land options will be considered after finalizing the university. Accessibility for students and commuters is said to be a priority in deciding the location by the City of Brampton.
This article has been corrected from the print edition. It originally said that the City of Brampton said in a letter to the media that they hoped to ease access for students who face travel and housing costs at distant universities. It was in fact an online FAQ by the City of Brampton which said that a Brampton university could help address this issue. A notice will be printed in the October 19, 2015 issue.