Business intelligence degrees are not entirely available in Canadian colleges as ‘Business Intelligence’. For example, a private university like University of British Columbia has the Business and Computer Science Bachelor’s degree. It combines a typical business degree with background and experience in computer science. “The Business and Computer Science combined major will give you the technical background and understanding to apply IT solutions in a business context and use them to develop opportunities for growth” (UBC, 2018). Each semester, students take a combination of commerce and computer science-related courses. The official degree name is Bachelor of Commerce and takes on average, 4 years to complete.
This kind of BI program is located mainly in the computer science department with year 1 courses consisting of computation, programs, and programing, models of computation, and integral calculus. Although commerce essentials are part of the program as well, like managerial accounting, course offering consisting of data structures and software construction are the focus for the first two years. Then for years 3 and 4, students learn software engineering, artificial intelligence, and management of information systems. The degree has a core of basic business courses with heavy emphasis on computer science principles.
Stephen J.R. Smith School of Business at Queen’s University
The next school to examine is the Stephen J.R. Smith School of Business at Queen’s University. This is a business school within a university that aims to encourage students interested in business to pursue other avenues within the field related to data management and analysis. While the school mainly does graduate programs, they have an undergraduate business program. For example, in the first and second year, they offer again, a computer science related, mathematical course load. An example of this is Introduction to Mathematical Analysis for Management and Enabling Business with Information Systems (Queens University, 2018). Although the fourth and third year are a mix of elective courses, the school places emphasis on commerce and science related courses. Overall, the business school has more focus on mathematics and commerce related subjects, although it does include the computer science consideration/aspect. This kind of movement demonstrates the growing future trends of integrating business with computer science/mathematics. Mainly because of the need for big data and analysis within the field of business. However, that trend is within the master’s degree aspect more so than undergraduate. “Big data as a means to solve business problems has been rapidly infiltrating graduate business education for years now. Many graduate B-schools across the world offer courses, concentrations, and master’s degrees in business analytics” (Allen, 2018).
Business analytics is more of the main term for business intelligence in Canada. Conestoga College is a public college located in Ontario that has a part-time business analysis program. The program can be completed online and allows students to understand and facilitate data analysis within a business setting. “This online program is designed for business analysts, project managers, operations managers, systems analysts, quality assurance analysts, marketing professionals and anyone whose role is about defining, and analyzing or solving business problems” (Conestoga, 2018). Computer science is a strong part of the core requirements for this program with course offerings such as Software Testing, Introduction to Analytics and Big Data, and Business Process Modeling and Improvement. Unlike the other two schools that are private, this public college allows the convenience of taking the entire program online. The school offers distance learning for a variety of fields. Although the program does not offer a thorough understand of business intelligence, it does offer a particularly varied and robust course load for anyone looking to secure a better understanding of business analysis.
The school is convenient in that it places emphasis more on distance learning than other schools with similar programs. Business analysis involves analysis of big data. Because higher learning can be costly, especially for international students or students wishing to learn through long distance learning, online courses like the program offered at Conestoga are not only cost-efficient but may be a future trend set to replace traditional learning environments. “Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) potentially challenge the traditional dominance of brick and mortar institutions as providers of quality higher education. The benefits for students include reduced education costs and global access to exclusive institution courses and instructors” (Burd, Smith, & Reisman, 2015, p. 37). Students do not have that option for schools like Queens University and University of BC. Even for their master’s programs, they typically do not offer online courses for many courses. The schools that offer these online programs tend to be public colleges and especially, community colleges. This could be due to lower costs for both the school and the student, and because of the increase in distance learning options within Canada.
Centennial College is a community college that operates with distance learning in mind. They offer a business program called: Marketing Research & Analytics. The program gears towards future needs within the business field such as marketing research as well as big data analytics. The school acknowledges the growing demand for business-trained individuals who also need a background in research and analysis. Broken up by semesters, students can learn in the first semester Computer Applications for Marketing Analytics and Applied Quantitative and Qualitative Research in the second semester (Centennial, 2018). These options are offered for online as well, although not all the courses are part of the distance learning aspect.
Centennial offers a look into what kind of business intelligence training can be offered for those looking to have less expensive options for higher education. While the focus is more on research rather than computer science or mathematics, there is some outline of computer science within the course load of both semesters. Therefore, the overall impression for the courses regarding future trends in business is that research is important regarding big data analysis and the use of research garnered from online and through computer use. Overall, there is a lack of robust options for those aiming to receive more for their planned degree.
From the results gathered on a variety of schools in Canada, BI related degrees and programs are in business schools within UBC leaning more towards computer science and mathematics departments. The private institutions regard future trends in business are a hybrid of mathematics, computer science, and business. Whereas the public school and community college emphasize research and analytics. Some of the advanced courses overall pertained to computer science and design structure. Being able to analyze big data involves enough understanding of programming and computer language since coding is a big part of data analysis of software use.
Additionally, mathematics is a crucial element to any business intelligence degree/program as it involves a great effort in calculations and mathematical analysis of figures. For example, for the pre-requisite for the UBC Business and Computer Science degree, students must take physics and pre-calculus in High School. Furthermore, the course catalog for the other institutions involves other mathematical-themed courses. Even the community college, Centennial, had programs within each semester with some background in mathematics. A firm understanding of math and computer science go hand in hand regarding business intelligence.
Regarding specific examples or instances of how instructors used innovative methods, the online distance learning for the public school and the community college provide portals where students can access online resources for their coursework and discuss assignments in chat or forum. The online courses are part of a greater online network that provides students access to their email, to their course listings, and a means of communicating with instructors and submitting their assignments that lends credence to the theory of connectivism (Goldie, 2016). Similar to online schools, programs, or courses in the United States, these online resources have evolved in just a few short years to provide convenience and options to students (Braverman, 2017). Even a 2013 article noted how the growth of online learning has continued and will continue in the future. Having a distance learning option is crucial for many pursuing higher education goals. “As Babson’s research shows, total enrollment in online courses has consistently increased since 2002. Growth did decline over the past two years, but the proportion of students taking at least one class online continued to rise to 32.1 percent in 2011” (Huffington Post, 2017).
University of British Columbia
The heavier emphasis on Computer Science and Mathematics may take away from the Business aspect like Marketing, Business Case understanding, etc.
Robust Catalog of courses
Lack of Online Learning Options for degrees and programs
Stephen J.R. Smith School of Business at Queen’s University
Does not provide options that provide adequate training in computer science
Greater emphasis on mathematics
Lack of variety and emphasis on Computer Science courses
The school has options for business and analytics, but not necessarily enough of a business intelligence background in the courses.
Provides online options which are convenient for students.
Lack of mathematic and Computer Science integration
Centennial Community College
Overall does not have enough courses available.
Has many online programs and provides a reasonable cost for students regarding business programs.
Lack of variety in coursework
Allen, N. (2018, January 17). 4 Key Trends Happening Now In Biz Ed – Poets&Quants for Undergrads. Retrieved from https://poetsandquantsforundergrads.com/2018/01/10/four-important-trends-happening-now-business-education/
Braverman, L. (2017). Improving U.S. College Graduation Rates with Quality Online and Blended Degree Completion Programs. Handbook of Research on Building, Growing, and Sustaining Quality E-Learning Programs, 40-59. doi:10.4018/978-1-5225-0877-9.ch003
Burd, E. L., Smith, S. P., & Reisman, S. (2015). Exploring Business Models for MOOCs in Higher Education. Innovative Higher Education, 40(1), 37-49. doi:10.1007/s10755-014-9297-0
Centennial. (2018). Marketing – Research & Analytics (Optional Co-op). Retrieved from https://www.centennialcollege.ca/programs-courses/full-time/marketing-research-analytics/
Conestoga. (2018). Part Time Business Analysis Continuing Education Program & Courses | Conestoga College. Retrieved from https://www.conestogac.on.ca/parttime/business-analysis
Goldie, J. G. (2016). Connectivism: A knowledge learning theory for the digital age? Medical Teacher, 38(10), 1064-1069. doi:10.3109/0142159x.2016.1173661
Huffington Post. (2017, December 6). INFOGRAPHICS: The Growth Of Online Education. Retrieved from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/12/growth-online-education-moocs_n_3041529.html
Queens University. (2018, September 27). Queen’s Commerce – Academics – Program Fees Curriculum. Retrieved from https://smith.queensu.ca/bcom/academics/index.php
Sharda, R., Delen, D., & Turban, E. (2017). Business Intelligence. Pearson Australia Pty Ltd.
UBC. (2018). Business and Computer Science. Retrieved from https://you.ubc.ca/ubc_programs/business-computer-science/
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