[University of Waterloo]

Past days


About the Bulletin

Friday, April 22, 2005

  • Keeping 200 students interested
  • University moves against Marketscore
  • Robots rule tomorrow

Chris Redmond

E-mail announcements to bulletin@uwaterloo.ca

Carey Bissonnette

Distinguished teacher Carey Bissonnette of chemistry -- photo by Barbara Elve

Keeping 200 students interested

One of the winners of this year's Distinguished Teacher Awards is Carey Bissonnette of the UW chemistry department. This citation is provided by the teaching resource office, which helps to administer the awards.

Carey Bissonnette has been a lecturer in the Chemistry Department for the past 10 years. His students say he is "fair, approachable, and an excellent public speaker," "a remarkable professor and an excellent academic advisor" and "very approachable for questions and help." He has the challenging task of maintaining student interest in classes that can exceed 200 people.

Professor Bissonnette deals with complex and abstract chemistry concepts by connecting all the concepts so that students can see the larger picture. He also memorizes the names of his students, even in classes of more than 100 people. A student commented that, "even though Chemistry was one of my largest classes, I felt a personal connection with Professor Bissonnette which is usually found only in much smaller classes."

Carey also has a tremendous ability to read the class, knowing what teaching methods are necessary to help the class learn successfully. For his upper year course, he developed his own typed course notes instead of requiring students to purchase a textbook. In these notes, he left blank spaces for students to annotate with their own notes and formulae. As one student explains, the notes "allowed the class to actually listen to the lecture and see the development of complicated ideas and theories, and at the same time have the point engrained into their head by writing out the final formulae." Also, if students do not have the correct background to understand the course, Professor Bissonnette generously spends extra time helping them learn the background necessary to understand the course concepts.

Carey is an amazing teacher who ensures that all students are learning to the best of their ability. A student emphasized that the "fact that he takes the time to personally acknowledge students' accomplishments proves his excellent ability to inspire academic success."

What's shut off this weekend

Saturday, April 23, starting 8:30 a.m., computing services in Carl Pollock Hall will be intermittently off line because of the continuing soot clean-up. MyWaterloo, engmail and most Engineering Nexus drives will be affected.

A major utilities shutdown on Sunday, April 24, is expected to affect the following:

  • Hydro power, heating, ventilation on the northern half of campus (including Matthews Hall, Student Life Centre, Chemistry II, Math and Computer, Davis Centre, Optometry) 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Steam and hot water for all buildings inside the ring road, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Cold water in Doug Wright Engineering, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Campus computer network, external connections and central computing services, 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Telephone system is not affected. ORION network to Laurier, Western and Conestoga is not affected.
  • Library electronic resources and Trellis, 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Davis Centre Library closed all day. Dana Porter Library will be open noon to 6 p.m. Details.
  • Public computing labs in school of computer science closed from Friday 4 p.m. to Monday 8:30.

University moves against Marketscore

This message comes from Paul Snyder in IST:

Recent security scans have identified connections from various computers on campus to an organization called Marketscore. It makes various claims, including the ability to protect you from viruses and speed up your internet connection.

In fact, installing the Marketscore software on your PC poses a serious security risk. This software automatically redirects all connects through their servers where information about you can be collected. It also installs a certificate in the web browser that allows outside access to encrypted data such as passwords and other secure transactions.

Because of this risk, the University has decided to block access to the Marketscore servers, effective April 25. This decision was taken in consultation with the Campus Network Advisory Group (CNAG) and the Computing Systems Advisory Group (CSAG).

If your PC is running the Marketscore software, it will then no longer have access to the Web until you remove this software (because of the redirects described above).

Details on how to remove this threat from your PC are online.

Robots rule tomorrow

A new competition launched this weekend will have teams of students and their robot creations vying for gold and glory. The first annual RobotRacing competition takes place in EIT room 1015 starting 1 p.m. on Saturday, and everyone is welcome to come and watch, at no charge.

"This is a new competition that we've created this year to raise the visibility of UW in the mobile robotics field, and to motivate undergraduate students to consider continuing with graduate research in the area," says Mike Peasgood, a PhD student in Mechanical Engineering, who organized the event with help from colleagues in the Lab for Autonomous Intelligent Robotics.

Ten undergraduate student teams, with names like "Bollywood Superstars" and "Random Objects Balanced on Tires" have registered to take part. The approximately 50 students come from mechanical, electrical, and systems design engineering. Competitors must build small (30 centimetres long max), fully autonomous vehicles that can race against each other on three different tracks -- a drag race, an oval circuit, and a figure-8 circuit. Points will be awarded for quality of design and innovation as well as a speedy finish.

The winning team will take home a grand prize of $1000 sponsored by local companies Tech Capital Partners and LSI Logic.

"This competition was announced in January," Peasgood says. "They've had less than four months to prepare their entries, but some of the robots I've seen so far have been quite impressive. I expect the competition will be exciting for both the participants and spectators. All going well, we hope to expand the competition to an inter-university challenge next year."

News and notes for Friday

The UW libraries will have reduced hours for the next few days, in this gap between the winter and spring terms. Today and next week, the Dana Porter and Davis Centre libraries are open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, it's noon to 6 p.m. Spring term hours start Monday, May 2.

Nominating committees for two deans

From the university secretariat:

Robert Kerton's term as Dean of Arts and George Dixon's term as Dean of Science expire on June 30, 2006 and, as required by Policy 45, The Dean of a Faculty, the process for constituting the Nominating Committees is under way.

Nominations are requested for the following seats on the Nominating Committees (at least three nominators are required in each case): One staff member elected by and from the regular staff of the Faculty of Arts; One staff member elected by and from the regular staff of the Faculty of Science.

Completed nomination forms should be submitted to the Secretariat, Needles Hall, Room 3060, no later than 3 p.m., Friday, May 6, 2005. Elections will follow if necessary.

But starting May 2, until late summer, the third floor of the Dana Porter Library will be closed to the public for major renovations. Details about how users can get at the journals that live on the third floor are provided on the library's web site. Also affected by the renovation work is the Centre for Learning and Teaching Through Technology, or LT3, which has its offices on the third floor. "Construction disturbances may shift working patterns on some days," an announcement says. "Please call (ext. 3353) or email before stopping by for an impromptu visit." The Flex Lab will be pretty much out of commission for the summer. "Folks can contact me," says Peter Goldsworthy of LT3, "and we may be able to accommodate them with some inconveniences," depending on scheduling.

One other library note: the annual Friends of the Library lecture and "authors' event" is scheduled for May 17 at noontime. This year's speaker: Howard Burton, executive director of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. As usual, "there will be a display of the creative works of campus authors, musicians, and artists. If you have written a book, play, or musical score, or had your work exhibited, the Library would like to hear from you. Please contact Cheryl Kieswetter in the Library Office (ext. 2282)."

The Conrad Grebel University College Chapel Choir is going travelling this weekend, with performances Saturday night at Wideman Mennonite Church in Markham, Sunday morning at Toronto United Mennonite Church, and Sunday night at Ottawa Mennonite Church. Next week, choir members are back on campus, recording material for the choir's fifth CD.

"I'm Still Here" is a research-based play that "presents a realistic portrayal of the experience of dementia from the perspectives of those living with dementia and their families." Presented by UW's Murray Alzheimer Research and Education Program (MAREP) and performed by actors from Ryerson's Act II Studio, the play will be staged at the Sunshine Centre, Luther Village, 141 Father David Bauer Drive, Waterloo, on Tuesday at 6:45 p.m. Tickets are $50: call ext. 5040 or e-mail mamunoz@uwaterloo.ca.

The Residential Energy Efficiency Project (REEP) hosts a special forum on renewable energy at the UW School of Architecture in Cambridge starting 11:30 a.m. today . . . A group from the UW Recreation Committee is dining tonight at the Flying Dog. . . . A children's road hockey tournament, held as a fund-raiser for the Central Ontario Developmental Riding program, is scheduled for tomorrow in parking lot C off Seagram Drive. . . . Wilfrid Laurier University will hold its annual year-end celebration Saturday night at the Fred Nichols Campus Centre, and has asked for an exemption from the local noise control bylaw. . . . Readers@Play, the fifth annual Canada Book Day celebration of reading, takes place in the Registry Theatre in Kitchener on Saturday starting at 7 p.m., with Michael Higgins as host. Tickets $10 at the door, proceeds to the Literacy Group of Waterloo Region . . . . Spring term tuition fees, if paid by cheque or money order, are due Monday. If made by bank payments, the deadline is April 28. Details online.