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University of Waterloo -- Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
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Monday, April 21, 1997

Fog lifts, exams continue

[Ma nishtanah]

Pesach begins

Tonight will be the first night of Passover, the Jewish festival of liberation and the law, which runs for eight days beginning at the spring full moon.

It's unusual for Passover to fall this late in the spring, overlapping exam season. I asked the associate dean of one faculty this morning whether there has been an unusual spate of student requests for rescheduled exams because of the religious holiday. No, there hasn't, the reply came -- but most such requests are handled by individual instructors, and the associate dean wouldn't hear about them unless there was a problem of some kind.

Happy Monday morning, and I hear it was a very bad weekend for vandalism on the central campus, with windows broken in the Biology greenhouses and other bad things done. Details are still being put together.

Meanwhile, winter term exams continue. "While I was writing an exam in the PAC," a math student reported Friday night, "one of the proctors (a TA) walked by with a shirt, one of the ones with the fuzzy text, that said, 'Excessive studying will damage your vision.' And I thought I hadn't studied enough."

Today's a special day for a great many people, one way and another. Besides Passover, as noted in the box at right, it's the Queen's birthday (she's 71); for followers of the Baha'i faith, it's the first day of the festival of Ridvan; and for people in Massachusetts, it's the Patriots Day holiday, meaning that the Boston Marathon will be run today starting at 12 noon. I have no doubt there are some UW people in the race, although so far I have no information about them. Looking ahead: tomorrow will be Earth Day. Exams are putting a damper on events, of course -- there has been no announcement of any Earth Day activities at UW.

Meetings today and tonight

The pension and benefits committee will meet this afternoon (1 p.m., Needles Hall room 3004) to continue talking about UW's sick leave and long-term disability programs, and about possible enhancements to the pension plan -- not to mention fund investments and the other business that makes P&B's frequent meetings three or four hours long.

The university senate meets tonight (7:30, NH room 3001) with what looks like a light agenda: routine reports from the faculties, a report on the latest meeting of the Council of Ontario Universities, appointments to senate committees and the board of governors. The president and provost will no doubt say something in their reports about progress on UW's budget, and other major topics of the day.

Progress on the Virtual U

An expert on teaching over the Internet will give a talk at UW tomorrow about the Virtual University, launched a year ago at Simon Fraser University and involving 15 organizations across Canada.

Virtual-U is described as a server based software system that enables customized design, delivery and enhancement of education and training courses delivered over the World Wide Web. Based on more than a decade of research in network learning and human-computer interaction, the technology provides "a user-friendly, dynamic learning environment for students and instructors". Virtual-U's teaching methods are said to be based on principles of active learning, collaboration, and knowledge building.

The 15 universities and other agencies currently involved in Virtual-U are field testing a beta-release of software that includes the "Vgroups conferencing system", a "Course Structuring Tool", a "Gradebook manager" and system administration tools. The target for Virtual-U is "organizations which require a flexible and integrated framework for delivering educational or training courses online".

Tomorrow's speaker is Denise Stockley, of Simon Fraser's faculty of education, who will speak at 11:00 in Math and Computer room 5158. Her visit is sponsored by the teaching resource office.

Also today and tomorrow

UW graduate Timothy Collings, inventor of the V-chip to block "unacceptable" TV programming, will speak at an alumni luncheon today in the Laurel Room, South Campus Hall.

The local branch of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers presents a talk tonight by Linda Weaver of Tecknowledge Healthcare Systems, who is also this year's president of IEEE Canada. She'll speak on "telemedicine", remote diagnosis using cameras and computers. Weaver's talk begins at 7 p.m. in Davis Centre room 2577.

Graduate students have their third and last opportunity tomorrow to attend an open meeting with the dean of graduate studies, to hear about the coming changes in the grad tuition fee structure. Tomorrow's meeting runs from 10:30 a.m. to noon in Needles Hall room 3001.

Computing courses are listed

The May and June schedule of short courses offered by the information systems and technology department is now available on-line. Paper copies of the list are available at computing consulting offices across campus. Registration for these courses is done on the Web.

May and June offerings range from "Configuring Windows 95 for Connecting to UW Computers from Home" to "New Features in PowerPoint 97" and "Introduction to JavaScript" (hey, maybe I should take that one).

Progress in the computing world is constant, for sure. Roger Watt of IST has announced that the new link between UW and the rest of the computing world ("ONet Networking's Kitchener-Waterloo router") was put into operation early Friday morning. As previously announced, it has a (theoretical) capacity of 5 megabits per second, compared to the previous line's capacity of 1.5 Mbps.


April 19, 1976: John Wainwright, David Davies and Horst Leipholz are announced as the first winners of UW's Distinguished Teacher Awards.

April 20, 1939: James Downey is born in Winterton, Newfoundland.

April 21, 1988: Local Croatian leaders present the first half of a million-dollar gift to UW to support courses in the Croatian language.

Editor of the Daily Bulletin: Chris Redmond
Information and Public Affairs, University of Waterloo
credmond@watserv1.uwaterloo.ca -- (519) 888-4567 ext. 3004
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