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Wednesday, June 2, 2004

  • Baja team leaves for competition
  • 'Learning objects' and teaching talk
  • President promotes Keystone event
Chris Redmond

100 years of Johnny Weissmuller

Baja team leaves for competition

A UW student team leaves for Wisconsin today to take part in the Midwest Mini Baja car competition sponsored by the Society of Automotive Engineers.

UW is taking two cars -- Alpha Wombat and Omega Wombat, where the critter name stands for Waterloo Off-Road Mini-Baja Team. More than 120 vehicles are expected for the four-day event, coming from as far afield as Alberta and Brazil to compete. Safety inspections and "static judging" are the order of the day [Getting airborne] Thursday and Friday, with "dynamic events" on Friday and serious racing Saturday at the Aztalan Motocross Track at Lake Mills near Milwaukee.

"Mini-Baja consists of three regional competitions that simulate real-world engineering design projects and their related challenges," the SAE web site explains. "Engineering students are tasked to design and build an off-road vehicle that will survive the severe punishment of the rough terrain, in addition to meeting cost targets, designing for manufacturability, service, and comfort, while still excelling in a variety of dynamic events.

"The object of the competition is to provide SAE members with a challenging project that involves the planning and manufacturing tasks found when introducing a new product to the consumer industrial market. Teams compete against one another to have their design accepted for manufacture by a fictitious firm. Students must function as a team to not only design, build, test, promote, and race a vehicle within the limits of the rules, but also to generate financial support for the project, while still managing their educational priorities."

All the cars are powered by the same 20-cubic-inch engine.

"Our team is looking forward to an exciting weekend!" writes mechanical engineering professor Duane Cronin, who's guided the Wombat group in building and testing its two cars. "The 2004 team consists of over 20 mechanical engineering students who have spent the last year building and testing the two vehicles to be raced at this year's competition. The competition includes design evaluation and individual events including handling, tractor pull, acceleration and top speed. The main event is a gruelling four-hour endurance race on the last day."

Pictured taking one of the Wombats over a jump is fourth-year mech eng student Joe Brown.

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  • Positions available

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

  • Information systems specialist, information systems and technology, applications technology, USG 9-12
  • Development officer (faculty of mathematics), office of development, USG 9-11
  • Customer service representative, co-operative education and career services, USG 4
  • Graduate studies coordinator, school of accountancy, USG 5
  • Director, Master of Accounting, school of accountancy, USG 10
  • Shift sergeant, security, USG 7
  • Managing director, Waterloo Institute for Health Informatics Research, faculty of science, USG 14

    Longer descriptions are available on the HR web site.

  • 'Learning objects' and teaching talk

    The president of the higher education division at McGraw-Hill Ryerson, Petra Cooper, will speak this morning about "Academe and the three C's': Collaboration, Copyright and Commerce", and in particular about how her company -- a giant in textbooks and teaching materials -- is looking at the new genre of electronic "learning objects".

    "This talk looks quite topical considering how much time is spent on the ubiquitous learning object these days," says Peter Goldsworthy of UW's Centre for Learning and Teaching Through Technology (LT3), which is sponsoring Cooper's visit. Craig Beytein, a learning object expert from McGraw-Hill in New York, will also be at the session.

    Time for a definition of the LO word again: various sources call it "a unit of educational content" or "a section of a course". In one of UW's best-known examples, the simulated frog heart developed by Norm Scott of UW's biology department is a learning object that can be used in a number of different courses.

    Cooper will talk about "the publishing industry's definition" of a learning object, as well as her company's plans for collecting such material in a "repository" -- something that's also being done by non-profit institutions such as the UW-based Co-operative Learning Object Exchange, or CLOE. She'll then go on to talk about marketing issues, copyright law, and "partnership opportunities".

    Her seminar starts at 11 a.m. in the Flex lab, Dana Porter Library room 329.

    Other developments about teaching these days on the Waterloo campus:

  • An "informal discussion group examining issues pertaining to teaching and learning" is being organized in the engineering faculty, says a note in the electronic newsletter Eng-E-News. Faculty members who might be interested are invited to get in touch with Jeremy Steffler in the LT3 centre for more information.

  • The latest Teaching Matters newsletter from the teaching resource office includes a report on "The Interactive Oral Midterm" as tried in two courses by geography teaching assistant Hannah Wilson. "The students found the immediate feedback more effective than a written exam," the article reports, summarizing research Wilson did for the Certificate in University Teaching Program.

  • The next workshop from the teaching resource office is "Assessment Questions", on Tuesday, June 15, at noon. "In this workshop," organizers say, "we will explore the range of assessment options and the relationship between assessment goals and course goals." Details are on the web.

  • And here's a reminder that applications for the next round of Learning Initiatives Fund grants are due June 18. The grants are for projects that will revise and improve teaching in the context of curriculum change.

    Teaching option job match results for fall term co-op jobs available today. Meeting for students without employment, 4:30, Tatham Centre room 1208.

    Interaction 2004 conflict resolution conference, sponsored by Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, today through Saturday, details online.

    Business etiquette career workshop, 2:30, Tatham Centre room 1208.

    James Kay, professor of environment and resource studies who died Sunday, visitation today 2 to 4 and 7 to 9, Schreiter-Sandrock Funeral Home; funeral Thursday 10 a.m., Siegfried Hall, St. Jerome's University, reception to follow.

    Simplicity Circle discussion group, first meeting for this season, 4 p.m., Student Life Centre room 2139, information simplicity-admin@pirg.uwaterloo.ca.

    Renison College alumni after-work reception at Moose Winooski's restaurant, Kitchener, 5:30 to 7:00.

    LabVIEW Advanced Virtual Architects monthly meting, 6 p.m., Carl Pollock Hall room 1346.

    Perimeter Institute lecture, Scott Tremaine, Princeton University, "The Stability of the Solar System", 7 p.m., Waterloo Collegiate Institute, Hazel Street.

    Technical speaker competition for engineering students, sponsored by Sandford Fleming Foundation, faculty-wide competition, Thursday 10 a.m., Doug Wright Engineering room 2534.

    Cancer Society fund-raiser and head-shaving event, Thursday 6 p.m., Carl Pollock Hall foyer.

    Arriscraft architecture lectures begin for this term with Konrad Frey, Graz, Austria, "Usefulness and Delight in Architecture", Thursday, 7 p.m. (not Friday as erroneously listed yesterday), Environmental Studies II room 286.

    Online enrolment appointments for fall term courses begin June 7 on Quest.

    President promotes Keystone event

    A letter from UW president David Johnston has added his endorsement to the "Ulympics" event that will be held June 9 to build spirit for the on-campus Keystone Campaign.

    [Torch] In a memo circulated across campus, Johnston points out that it's the second anniversary of Keystone as the staff, faculty and retiree section of Campaign Waterloo. "This year's event," he writes, "promises to build on the momentum of the last two years festivities that many of you will remember well. Organizers are planning an extraordinary Ulympic (themed after the Olympics) celebration."

    Says Johnston's letter: "The 2004 Keystone Campaign celebration of this special fundraising effort among UW faculty, staff, and retirees is scheduled for Wednesday, June 9, 2004. 1 encourage all members of the UW campus community to attend. Recognizing the importance of this initiative, we have designated the 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. period as paid work time for all UW staff and faculty to participate in the annual event.

    "For those departments providing essential services and thus obligated to remain open during this 2 hour period, please try to make arrangements so that everyone has an opportunity to participate.

    "Organizers have sent invitations to everyone that outlines highlights and activities at the Ulympics. The event begins at 11:30 a.m. with a parade along ring road to the Columbia Icefield. At the event, UW staff, faculty, and retirees will enjoy a free lunch, a variety of games, guest speakers, door prizes and more. I hope you will join the parade and participate in this fun campus-wide activity!

    "As well, June 9 has been designated as a Keystone Campaign Casual Dress-Down Day and everyone is encouraged to wear gold clothing (a UW colour) to show our spirit. Please contact your Keystone Campaign Departmental Rep to learn where you should join the parade. And, if you want to win a prize, please remember to bring your invitation (with door prize coupon and games passport) to the event.

    "It's our Waterloo -- I hope to see you there!"


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