Thursday, December 11, 2003
The project started with a grant last year from the Canadian Bureau for International Education, administered by UW's teaching resource office. Elise Ho, a graduate student in environment and resource studies, worked for TRACE for two terms, and now the project is being carried on by Candace Newman (right), a PhD student in geography, TRACE says.
Two $1,500 grants were handed out in October, "designed to encourage faculty members to put into practice some of the internationalization ideas developed through the CBIE project," Newman explains. They went to Brent Doberstein in the geography department and Judie Cukier, director of the tourism policy and planning program in environmental studies.
Says Newman: "Doberstein, who teaches Resource Management this term, has employed several activities in his classroom. One involved dividing students into 7 groups with each group being given the name of a fictitious actor who would be responsible for organizing the planning of a new National Park in Bali, Indonesia. The objective of the activity was to bring students with different perspectives together and have them visualize the role and responsibility of planners in a developing country."
There was also a guest speaker: "Doberstein selected the student from a list of volunteers involved in the Student-Speakers Roster program developed through TRACE. The program provides faculty members with a list of current international students or domestic students with international experiences who are willing to discuss their area of expertise in a classroom setting. Students in the class learn about an aspect of the course material first-hand from a student and the guest speaker gains presentation and communication experience. The topic for the presentation was 'Mapping and Management of Tropical Coral Reef Environments using Remote Sensing Techniques'.
"Despite receiving an unfavourable response from students to one of the internationalization activities, Dr. Doberstein observed that in general 'the activities have increased the students' international awareness of similarities and differences between resource management in Canada and other countries'."
The least successful part of the program, Newman says, has been an attempt to get students in a course to speak up about their own international experiences.
Among the questions that lie ahead: "How would one 'internationalize' a calculus or a physics course? It is clear that curriculum internationalization lends itself nicely to many courses, but requires a greater sense of inventiveness in areas such as Mathematics. Nevertheless, students in Mathematics who were interviewed in the focus groups were keen on the idea of multicultural group work. Another challenge involves the ever-changing student population and the need to keep the Student Speakers Roster current."
She maintains: "Notwithstanding the challenges, course internationalization brings with it a host of benefits to both the students and the institution. For many students -- those who have not had the opportunity to travel abroad -- the learning environment is diversified and enhanced. Students increase their awareness of other ways of thinking and their knowledge of and information about other countries and cultures. Ideally, by the time students graduate, they will have more highly developed intercultural communication skills and will have learned how to work with people from different cultural regions, and widened their appreciation of different points of view. In an increasingly global and interdependent society these are key elements that employers are looking for in student resumés."
Professors are being encouraged to apply for Course Internationalization Grants for the winter term. "In addition," says Newman, "international students and domestic students with international experiences who are enthusiastic and interested in sharing their experiences with others are encouraged to sign up for the Student Speakers Roster." For more information, she can be reached at email@example.com, phone ext. 7084.
Pictured is Diana Denton of the drama and speech communication department, one of the faculty members involved in the new centre, intimately tangled in UW's web home page thanks to a data projector at the opening ceremonies.
The new centre will be a home for research on "how people interact with digital technologies", a UW news release explained. Here's more of what it said:
"Drawing on its long-standing strengths in the study of images, text, sound and video, UW's Faculty of Arts established CCAT in order to attract top researchers and students to an innovative centre that integrates artistic, cultural and technological literacy. CCAT currently supports interesting research projects, which explore emerging possibilities for people-centred digital design.
"Projects include the creation of a publicly accessible digital archive of cultural materials, research that will be led by Philip Graham, Canada Research Chair in Communication and Technology. Graham comes to UW from the University of Queensland in Australia.
"Other projects involve leading researchers from the departments of Drama and Speech Communication and of English (Rhetoric and Professional Writing) who will study how people interact with each other, both in face-to-face and in technologically mediated environments.
"CCAT calls for a cross-disciplinary research approach that will nurture teams of researchers within and across the 16 disciplines in the Faculty of Arts, UW's largest faculty.
"With the approval of CCAT by the UW senate in June, the university has shown its continuing commitment to innovation by upholding the promise of technological research, innovation and application across the campus, as well as embracing new disciplines that will put into context and enrich the pursuit of technological innovation.
"Researchers involved with CCAT have received funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation, Canada Research Chairs and the Ontario Innovation Trust. As well, CCAT is seeking additional funding of $3 million from Campaign Waterloo -- UW's fund-raising drive -- to support laboratory and classroom space, hire technical support staff and maintain technological leadership in this emerging field."
Payday information for the holidaysThere are some changes to pay dates this month because of the Christmas and New Year's holidays, says Sandie Hurlburt of the human resources department:
"Monthly paid employees will be paid on Tuesday, December 23. Biweekly paid employees will have their pay deposited on Wednesday, December 24, due to the bank holiday on Friday, December 26.
"One-time payment cheques for casual employees will be available for pickup in Human Resources on December 22 and 23 with an issue date of December 24. Please note that the University is closed on December 24.
"The next biweekly paydate will be January 10, 2004. The January 2004 paydate for monthly-paid employees is Friday, January 23, 2004."
As instructors, we often think about what constitutes effective teaching. But let's put ourselves in our students' shoes for a moment. What constitutes effective learning? How does learning occur and what individual differences affect the teaching and learning process? These are just a few of the questions that will be explored in this TRACE event on Understanding the Learner. In this half-day workshop, key theories of learning and a variety of learning styles will be presented and discussed. Participants will identify their own unique learning styles and explore how these characteristics affect their approaches to teaching. The goal of this workshop is to prepare instructors for designing and implementing instructional activities that will maximize student learning.The event runs from 1:30 to 4:30 in Math and Computer room 4063.
Also this afternoon, there's an information session about job descriptions, aimed at managers and supervisors. There's a project under way to standardize staff job descriptions across campus, so they can be put online, and a session to help the people who write those descriptions was held in mid-November. "In response to those who could not attend at noon," says Neil Murray of HR, "we have scheduled this one for the afternoon," namely today at 2:30 in Davis Centre room 1302.
Tomorrow brings a morning-long orientation session for staff, particularly those who have started at UW in the past nine months; it runs from 8:30 to noon in Rod Coutts Hall room 307. Last-minute information: call ext. 2078.
Among the things in yesterday's Gazette issue was a list, as produced by the athletics department, of Warrior athletes who received various awards, including all-star status, during the fall term. Among them: John Sullivan of the football squad, chosen as Standup Defensive Player of the Year in the OUA league, and Payman Charkhzarin, national rookie of the year in men's soccer. The full list is also on the athletics web site.
There's a vacancy on UW's joint health and safety committee, because of the resignation of one of the staff representatives. Applications for the position are due by December 19 to the chair of the staff association nominating committee, Steve Breen in information systems and technology (srbreen@ist).
Says Fran Gris in the department of French studies: "Official Language Monitor Program applications are available for full-time francophone students who wish to work part-time in a teaching environment. Check out the web site or pick up an application in French studies, Modern Languages."
A tryout camp for young volleyball players, hoping to make the Youth Women's National Team, will be held at UW December 28 and 29. . . . The long-awaited new fitness centre in the Columbia Icefield will open for business on January 5, the first day of the winter term. . . . Fall term marks for undergraduates will start appearing on Quest on December 22, right after the end of exams, and official grades will be there on January 21. . . .