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Wednesday, December 22, 2004

  • Director is named for LT3
  • Getting close to term's end
  • Funding for chiropractic visits
  • Ontario funds solar energy, IT projects
Editor:
Chris Redmond
credmond@uwaterloo.ca

Asarah B'Tevet


[Bringelson in doorway of LT3]

Director is named for LT3

Liwana Bringelson, who has been acting director of the Centre for Learning and Teaching Through Technology (LT3) for the past year, has been named to a five-year term as its director.

Bringelson (left), who is also a research faculty member in systems design engineering, has been with LT3 from its beginnings, and has headed the unit since its first director, Tom Carey, moved to a broader job as associate vice-president (learning resources and innovation) last year.

Her five-year term began October 1, an announcement says.

Says a profile posted on the LT3 web site: "She has managed externally funded LT3 projects investigating career-long learning and virtual community building, taught LT3's Arts 303 course, and directed LT3 Faculty Liaisons. . . .

"Liwana sees LT3's greatest resource as 'the LT3 Team -- and that their greatest resource (along with their knowledge and expertise) is their relationships with other people in faculties and departments across campus. It is this network which provides the foundation for future opportunities and successes.'" She says that as LT3 director, "I feel well positioned to continue our service to the UW community and to explore the boundaries of knowledge and practice in learning and teaching through technology."

Bringelson speaks of wanting to increase the understanding of LT3 with members of the UW community: "She spoke specifically of the need to communicate the dual LT3 mandate of service and innovation, and to develop new ways of achieving those goals with the UW community and external partners. The current focus areas of the Centre involve understanding new ways of supporting the learning and teaching enterprise through innovative instructional design and scholarly activities in teaching and learning, and through new technologies such as learning objects and design repositories."

She came to UW from Western Michigan University; her graduate degrees are from the school of industrial engineering at Purdue University, and she says it is the engineering problem solving approach that helps her through "the multiple issues faced every day, week, month and year at LT3".

POSITIONS AVAILABLE
On this week's list from the human resources department:

  • Lab technician, chemistry, USG 6.
  • Financial aid customer service assistant, office of the registrar, USG 5.
  • LT3 faculty liaison: special services, Centre for Learning and Teaching Through Technology, USG 8
  • Tutor, writing clinic, USG 7.

    Longer descriptions are available on the HR web site.

  • Getting close to term's end

    Today is the final day of fall term exams, with the very last exams starting at 7 p.m. -- English 330A, Philosophy 220 and a very few others. Unofficial marks will start appearing on Quest tomorrow, with the "fully graded date" being January 4 for graduate students and January 21 for undergrads.

    Twenty-four-hour-a-day service in the Davis Centre library is over for the season; Davis will close at midnight tonight, and the Dana Porter Library at 11 p.m. Tomorrow both libraries are open from 8 to 6, after which they'll be closed until the new year.

    Just a few food services outlets are open today: Mudie's in Village I, Brubakers in the Student Life Centre, Bookends in South Campus Hall, and Browsers in the Dana Porter Library. Oh, and Tim Horton's in the SLC, which has been open 24 hours a day since September, but will close at 7:00 tonight, reopening tomorrow from 7 to 2 only.

    The Computing Help and Information Place will be open only until 3:00 today. Tomorrow, hours are 8:30 to noon and 2 to 3.

    With some exceptions, UW offices and services are open today and tomorrow, then closed December 24 through January 3 inclusive. Tomorrow's Daily Bulletin will have an extensive list of special arrangements and services for the holiday period.

    Frank Seglenieks, coordinator of the UW weather station, will be on television today "talking about the year just past and the forecasts for the upcoming winter". He'll be on "Daytime" on Rogers Cable 20 -- live at 11 a.m., then replayed at 2, 5 and 11 p.m.

    Funding for chiropractic visits

    UW's pension and benefits committee issued a memo yesterday about the funding of chiropractic treatment for faculty and staff members -- something that's been in doubt since the Ontario government announced in June that the provincial health plan would stop covering it.

    Says the memo: "The provincial government eliminated chiropractic coverage from OHIP in its last budget, effective December 1, 2004. At its December meeting, the Pension & Benefits Committee discussed at length how to handle this development given that there is no funding available for additional benefits, and the cost of providing first-dollar coverage for chiropractic treatment would add 3.25% or $162,000 to the University's Extended Health Care premiums.

    "The Committee has determined that, on an interim basis, the Extended Health Care Plan will effectively pay for the amount previously covered by OHIP toward chiropractic services until a review of all paramedical coverage can be completed by the end of the winter term. At that time, the Committee hopes to be able to formulate a comprehensive paramedical package that will not add to the cost of the Plan but manage coverage for massage therapy, chiropractic and physiotherapy on an equitable basis.

    "Given the University's financial situation, it is not possible to pick up government downloads without affecting the overall benefit coverage of University employees. Consequently, some adjustments will need to be made and the Committee wants to take the time to find the right balance among coverage, cost effectiveness and fairness."

    Chiropractic visits in the month of December will be covered as follows, the committee said: "UW benefit will be 80% of the reasonable and customary cost of a visit (100% of the cost if the annual out-of-pocket maximum is reached). The current annual maximum benefit of $555 per covered person continues to apply."

    Starting in January, the coverage will be 80 per cent of $12 per visit for the first 15 visits ("this effectively replicates what OHIP had paid prior to December 1, 2004"). After 15 visits, the current benefit of 80% of the "reasonable and customary cost of a visit" (100% of the cost if the annual out-of-pocket maximum is reached) continues to apply The annual maximum of $555 per covered person continues to apply.

    Ontario funds solar energy, IT projects -- from the UW media relations office

    Turning solar radiation into electricity as well as improving collaborative information technology systems are two projects that will benefit from Ontario government funding announced last week. The Ministry of Economic Development and Trade (MEDT) and the Ontario Innovation Trust have provided the funds, a total of $4,589,873, matching previously announced funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation.

    One project is the Centre for Advanced Photovoltaic Devices and Systems, with lead researcher Siva Sivoththaman of electrical and computer engineering. Total funding of $11.4 million includes $4.4 million each from CFI and the province, with "partners" adding $2.5 million.

    The centre will provide "a comprehensive infrastructure facility for developing affordable technologies for Photovoltaic (PV) energy in Canada. PV technologies use semiconductor technology and materials to convert sunlight directly into electricity. The research to be undertaken is critical to develop photovoltaic technologies that are affordable in order to offer a viable, cost-competitive alternative to environmentally hazardous, fossil-fuel based technologies. The work is multi-disciplinary, drawing on chemistry, materials science, semiconductor physics and technology, electronic engineering, energy technology, and mechanical engineering..

    Other UW researchers collaborating in the project are. John Hamel, Raafat Mansour, Arokia Nathan, Andrei Sazonov, and Dennis Striakhilev of E&CE; Michael Collins, Roydon Fraser, Steve Lambert and John Wright of mechanical engineering; Pu Chen, chemical engineering; and Tong Leung, chemistry and physics. There are also ten collaborators from other institutions, and several from government and industry.

    The other project is headed by Mohamed Kamel, also of electrical and computer engineering, and is titled "Synchromedia: An Experimental and Distributed Laboratory to Sustain Collaborative Work." Total funding is $337,290 from CFI, the province, and partners.

    It's part of a larger project with a total cost of $3.7 million, led by Québec's École de technologie superieure. The Synchromedia lab involves the collaboration of five research groups, the expertise and experience of which provide synergy to address the research challenges.

    The research focus of the collaboration is in intelligent systems, pattern recognition, and perception with emphasis on cooperative and adaptive techniques. Better integrated solutions to collaborative information technology platforms and systems will become feasible thanks to research on cooperative and multi-sensor systems (UW), character and pattern recognition (Concordia University), collaborative work, networking and perception interfaces (Université de Québec), tele-operation (Télé-Université) and evaluation of innovative technology (U de Q).

    CAR


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