Manitoba-based Brandon University (BU) is touting its new course on drones, Applied Topics in Geography: UAV Ground School, offered to both students and the public beginning this fall.
According to BU, the course will prepare drone pilots for stiff new Transport Canada regulations. Existing rules exempt people who fly drones recreationally, while the proposed new rules will require everyone at the controls of a drone to have completed a ground school course, like the one the university is offering.
The class will offer students a way to learn about drones, their applications, safety considerations, how they work, and the regulations and procedures to operate them.
“This course, and resulting Transport Canada certification, will provide students in a variety of college and university programs with a competitive edge in today’s job market by providing them with highly marketable skills and training,” says Dr. Dion Wiseman, a geography professor at BU.
The course will be fully available online. The first portion of the course is a self-directed online study that must be completed by Nov. 17, and the second portion includes three Saturday sessions that are offered either in class or through online videoconferencing.
The course cost will be approximately C$600 for visiting students and the general public; BU students will pay regular tuition fees. There is no prerequisite and no need to already own a drone, as the course is completely ground-based with no actual flying, the university notes.
“This is an industry that is getting huge. Real estate, photography and videography are some of the more obvious applications, but all of the major industries including mining, construction and agriculture are turning to drones, and they’re all around us here on the Prairies,” says Matthew Johnson, president of M3 Aerial Productions and the instructor of the course.
He adds, “It’s like driving a car. Driver’s ed is extremely valuable to public safety as a whole in the same way as UAV Ground School.”