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Wednesday, May 31, 2000

  • Showing off UW's online courses
  • Support group for web developers
  • What happens if UW turned me down?
  • Computing courses, and more

[Online course graphic]

Showing off UW's online courses

A "roundtable demo" tomorrow afternoon will show off some of UW's online courses and "assignment management tools" for students and instructors. The event will be held at the distance education office, as part of a Teaching and Learning Technology Roundtable series sponsored by the teaching resources and continuing education office.

"Two online courseware development models will be shown that guide the instructor through the design and content gathering process," says an announcement from TRACE.

The demonstration tomorrow runs from 1:00 to 1:30 in room 101 of 156 Phillip Street, also known as UW's Annex 2.

About 15 UW courses are currently being offered on the Internet, with more to come. A student in one of the existing on-line courses, Social Work 220R, is enthusiastic about it in a testimonial published in this year's distance education calendar: "I have done a number of distance education courses at Waterloo and other universities. Waterloo is by far the best -- very competent and understanding staff. I did 8 courses the traditional way and thoroughly enjoyed each of them. However, I missed the one-on-one contact with professors and classmates, so when Waterloo offered on-line courses I jumped at the chance. We have discussion groups and frequently interact with students. It's great! . . . The material is presented interactively on-line with video clips narrated by the professor. Two big thumbs up, Waterloo. I'd give it an A+."

More from the distance ed calendar:

Your course comes to you on a CD-ROM containing a guided tour, and easy-to-follow instructions. This allows the student to work off-line and only connect to the online version of the course when necessary. If you choose to work online rather than using the CD-ROM, all materials are available [on-line]."

The learning concepts of each course are presented through a series of illustrated lectures that you can progress through at your own pace. Virtual field trips are included in some of the courses showing how the learning concepts relate to real life situations. . . .

You can submit your assignments electronically. In a number of courses you are then able to track your assignment status and receive timely feedback from your instructor online. . . .

A support system is available for you to get help with any technical difficulties that you may encounter while taking the course.

A current list of online UW courses includes Accounting 131 (Management), Anthropology 311 (Magic, Witchcraft and Religion), Biology 447 (Environmental Microbiology), Canadian Studies 350 (Canada in the Global Village), Economics 101 (Introduction to Microeconomics), English 001 (A Framework for Writing English), English 109E (Introduction to Academic Writing), Environmental Studies 195 (Introduction to Environmental Studies), History 209 (Health, Disease and Medicine in Canadian History), Health/Kinesiology 407 (Physiology of Coronary Heart Disease), MathEl 305A (General Life Insurance), Psychology 212 (Educational Psychology), Religious Studies 214 (Buddhism), Social Work 220R (Social Work with Individuals:Theory and Practice 1), and Biology 239 (Genetics).

Coming in the winter term of 2001 are eight more courses, including nutrition, organizational behaviour, introductory philosophy and nuclear science.

Support group for web developers -- by Barbara Elve

The process of developing web pages for teaching could become easier with the formation of an instructional Web courseware developers' support group -- iWEB.

Learning and Teaching Through Technologies (LT3) advisors Les Richards and Andrea Chappell are launching the group in June as a forum for both novice Web developers and people who are more knowledgeable and experienced to share ideas, techniques and tools.

"We don't know how many individuals across campus are currently involved in the design, production, delivery and support of Web pages for teaching at UW," he says. "We do know through experience that most web developers struggle with similar issues."

He envisions the iWEB group meeting on a regular basis to exchange information on techniques that work -- and those that don't, what tools to use -- and avoid, instructional design issues, interface design solutions, course management systems, web application servers, new tools, streaming multimedia, the use of Flash software, and more. "We want to make Web design more interactive and user-friendly, to support instructional activity on campus," says Richards.

The first meeting is scheduled for June 27 at 1 p.m. as a planning session to assess needs, tour the LT3 centre's new facilities in the Dana Porter Library and look at organizational options, including offering a monthly drop-in day when web developers and LT3 staff offer their experience and expertise to others on campus who wish to explore what can be done on the Web.

Other possibilities include a common information area to post messages and information, discuss topics, and establish frequently asked questions. Some of those questions could be: What do you use for creating Web pages and does it do X? What do you use for chats or asynchronous discussion? Can students collaborate on a document via the Web? How are you posting marks on the Web? What do you use for 2-D animations? How can I put a whole bunch of slides on the Web and provide a thumbnail index?

A web site will offer more information and a chance to sign up for the group.

What happens if UW turned me down?

There's life after being turned down for university admission, says a letter that several thousand Ontario high school students are reading this week. Signed by Peter Burroughs, UW's director of admissions, it was sent to students who aren't being offered a spot in UW's first-year class -- about a third of all those who applied.

Some students receiving the letter will be coming to UW anyway, because they applied to more than one Waterloo program and were admitted to one of their choices while being turned down for another one. Others, who were turned down for all their UW choices, were automatically considered for other programs in the faculty they applied to. And some may have had better success with an application to some other university.

The letter notes that although 70 is the minimum average for anyone wanting admission to UW, cutoffs in many programs were much higher than that. It tells students where to phone if they think a mistake has been made. Then Burroughs tells students what their other options are:

If you received an offer of admission to another university or college that is acceptable to you. I urge you to confirm your acceptance of the offer by the specified deadline. Keep in mind that if the University of Waterloo continues to be your preferred choice, you may apply to transfer to Waterloo at the conclusion of a successful first year of studies elsewhere.

If you didn't receive an acceptance from any of your application choices. or aren't satisfied with the offers you've received, there are a number of possible actions for you to consider:

1. You could contact the Admissions office at your preferred university for advice regarding possible options.

2. If you meet the minimum requirements for consideration, you could be reconsidered for admission to Honours Arts Regular, Environmental Studies Regular and Kinesiology Regular programs. If you're interested in any of these programs, you should contact the appropriate Assistant Registrar as soon as possible.

3. If you upgrade your academic record next fall at a semestered high school, you may be considered for admission for the winter term 2001 in Arts programs at the University of Waterloo and other semestered universities if your fall marks are received at the University by December 14th.

4. If your OSS average is very low, you should consider repeating your year at high school and then reapplying for fall 2001.

5. If you're firm in your desire to attend an Ontario university this fall, beginning June 7th, you may contact the Ontario Universities' Application Centre Referral Service. . . . This service will provide you with a list of universities and programs which are continuing to consider applicants and will give you an indication of minimum admission averages required.

Computing courses, and more

The Information Systems and Technology department (IST) is offering several computing courses in June to UW faculty, staff and students. There is no charge for these courses. What's on offer: More information, and a registration form, can be found on the IST web site.

In other matters . . . today is "the absolute last day to pay fees" for the spring term, the registrar's office notes.

And today is German Day, bringing some 500 high school students from Waterloo Region to visit UW's department of Germanic and Slavic languages and literatures. The program includes "Preisverleihung für Deutschwettbewerb" (that's prize-giving for a German contest, I think), "Theaterstückchen" (theatre pieces) from several schools, and even a "Trivialitätenquiz" (trivia contest).

The personal safety advisory committee will meet at 9:10 this morning in Needles Hall room 3043. Among the agenda items: alcohol, "Single and Sandy", doors that bang in people's faces, and the new soccer field by the Columbia Lake Townhouses. (I drove past there on Columbia Street a couple of days ago and noticed that there are now several places open for business in the brand new, still muddy Laurelwood Plaza at the corner of Columbia and Fischer-Hallman Road.)

The UW bookstore, the UW Shop, and Techworx in South Campus Hall will be closing early today, at 3:00. The previous announcement that Techworx in the Student Life Centre would close early is now inoperative; it'll stay open for its usual hours.

UW alumni in the Hamilton area are getting together tonight (7:00, Berkshire Securities downtown) for a seminar on business: "Can You Afford Financial Independence?" and "How to Start a Business". The alumni office at ext. 4973 has been accepting registrations.

The water will be shut off in Carl Pollock Hall tomorrow from 8 a.m. to noon so the plant operations department can do some work on the pipes. "Use washroom facilities in Engineering 2," a memo suggests.

Here's a reminder that the staff association will hold its annual general meeting tomorrow at noontime in Davis Centre room 1302. Refreshments will be provided starting at 11:30, and the meeting begins at 11:45. "The AGM," writes association president Paul McKone, "marks the changeover of one Staff Association Executive Committee to the next, and is a chance for everyone to see the faces that go with the names you've heard all year, and will hear in the future." UW provost Jim Kalbfleisch has been asked to speak at the meeting, McKone adds.

And, as announced earlier this week, a memorial service for Aileen Proudfoot, who died in an accident on the north campus May 12, will be held Friday at 2:30 p.m. in Siegfried Hall, St. Jerome's University.


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