Joining the ivy league

A new collaboration between CPA Canada and Cornell University gives members access to some 120 online courses and close to 30 certificate programs – all via the CPA website.

There’s something satisfying about being able to sip wine in your pajamas while partaking in courses at one of the world’s top-ranked Ivy League institutes. Indeed, a new collaboration between CPA Canada and Cornell University gives 24-hour access to some 120 online courses and close to 30 certificate programs ranging from executive leadership to healthcare and hospitality leadership.

The eCornell suite of professional development courses has been a hit with CMA members for the past five years. But starting early this year, all CPA Canada members will have access to these courses at a discounted rate through the CPA Canada website, and the courses will count toward CPD hours.

Frank Colantonio, director of professional learning and development at CPA Canada, says the connection with Cornell will be an ideal way to provide resources and training for accountants who come from many different work environments and professional backgrounds. “We will be serving a much more diverse membership as we move toward unification, and this is one good example of how we are going to achieve that goal,” he says. “We have partnerships with Canadian universities but this is our first expansion into the international scene."

Developed by Cornell faculty and led by subject matter experts with at least 10 years’ experience in the field, courses feature multimedia elements such as videos and discussion boards, and start on specific days of the month. The cap per class is 32 international participants and they don’t have to be online at the same time. “Sometimes you learn as much from discussion boards as you do from lectures and in this case, you get perspectives you may never have thought about from people in the same jobs around the world,” says Colantonio.

Each course requires six to eight hours of participation over a two-week period (including readings, videos and assignments) and operates on a pass/fail concept. Although there may be quizzes throughout, there is no formal exam because the emphasis is on demonstrating a student’s practical application of the concepts learned along the way. “The instructors will respond to queries within 24 hours and are there to ensure people are meeting the [course] milestones,” says Bob Delaney, president of Aurora, Ont.-based Earning Through Learning, the sole licenser of eCornell programs in Canada. “The uptake with CMA members was great right from the start.”

Todd Scaletta, a Winnipeg-based FCMA who has taken a series of project management courses through eCornell, says he found many advantages in the process. “The courses were very condensed, available on short notice and had good content,” he says.

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