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Tuesday, May 10, 2005

  • Council discusses distance education
  • Provincial budget expected Wednesday
  • And a little of this and that
Editor:
Chris Redmond
credmond@uwaterloo.ca

Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month


[Black and white cover]

The 2005-06 undergraduate calendar is available only in limited quantities, for first-year students and for faculty and staff members who need it. Upper-year students are being asked to use the online calendar instead. One item on the agenda for discussion at today's meeting of the undergraduate council is what the regulations should say about students who move from one academic program to another: what year's calendar determines the requirements they'll have to meet?

Council discusses distance education

UW should try to move "as many large-enrolment first- and second-year courses [as possible] into the online environment to meet the needs of both on-campus and distance education students", two administrators will tell the senate undergraduate council today.

Tom Carey, associate vice-president (learning resources and innovation), and Don Kasta, director of distance and continuing education, are giving a presentation on "distance education and the Sixth Decade planning exercise", as one agenda item for the council's meeting. (It starts at noon in Needles Hall room 3004.)

A summary of their presentation, distributed with the meeting's agenda, urges that UW should "promote engagement" in online education by faculty members through a system of "incentive top-up funding". "At the same time," it advises, "allow attrition of all out-dated distance courses. . . . Ensure there is a reasonable number of selected majors available for DE students", who -- mostly taking one or two courses at a time -- add up to the equivalent of 400 full-time students.

UW's distance education program has lost some of its offerings in recent years, but still offers enough courses (about 250 of them) for a complete degree in many fields of arts and science. Distance courses have been offered since the 1960s, based on audiotaped lectures and printed notes. In the past few years an accelerating number of courses have been moved to the Internet, and faraway students have been joined by on-campus students who choose online courses because of scheduling problems or crowded classrooms. The result: enrolment has risen by more than 50 per cent in five years.

The latest technical innovation came this term, as distance ed students have been told that "almost all course lectures, along with the respective outline and assignments", will be sent out on CD-rom in PDF format, rather than in print. "If you prefer, you will be able to purchase a printed copy." There are a few exceptions, where course materials include copyrighted documents from outside sources that can't be converted to electronic form.

Distance students "have low priority in Quest", the briefing from Carey and Kasta tells the council meeting. "A separate academic program for them would eliminate that problem." They add that there could be whole new opportunities for distance education as Ontario tries to introduce "pathways to degree for CAAT [college] graduates".

The undergraduate council reviews academic program changes and makes recommendations to the UW senate. Other items on the agenda for today's meeting, not related to distance education, include the requirements for a new Bachelor of Architectural Studies degree, replacing the Bachelor of Environmental Studies three-year program now that the school of architecture has moved to the faculty of engineering, and a possible new Bachelor of Computing and Financial Management program, to be offered jointly by the computer science and accountancy schools.

[Fist upraised]

The Taekwondo Club offers a martial art demonstration at 7:30 tonight in the "Red Activity Area" of the Physical Activities complex. They'll demonstrate their high-energy kicking style with self-defence scenarios and sparring, followed by a Try-It class for beginners. The club has produced a number of national-level competitors (taekwondo is an Olympic sport), including Alison Laidlaw (optometry), who will compete this August at the World University Games in Turkey. Pictured is psychology student Kevin Kane. Photo by Alex Frakking.

Provincial budget expected Wednesday -- by Avvey Peters

Ontario's colleges and universities are eagerly awaiting the details of the 2005 Ontario budget, expected tomorrow.

For the past several months, Waterloo and the other members of the Council of Ontario Universities have been working to raise awareness of the funding situation of Ontario's universities. Through the ThinkOntario campaign and various campus initiatives, Waterloo officials have been urging the province to implement the many recommendations of former premier Bob Rae's Postsecondary Review.

UW president David Johnston has encouraged governors, senators, alumni council members, campaign volunteers, and the UW community at large to individually advance the university's position with provincial officials, calling on the premier and the minister of training, colleges, and universities to make a substantial new investment in the postsecondary system.

Among the items Johnston and other government watchers will watch for in Wednesday's budget:

The finance minister, Gregory Sorbara, will deliver the budget at 4 p.m. on Wednesday in the Legislature.

WHEN AND WHERE
Arts faculty council 3:30, Humanities room 373.

Waterloo Public Interest Research Group volunteer meeting 5 p.m., Student Life Centre room 2134. ("Put some of your ideas and energy into action.")

Alumni in London "evening of socializing and networking" 6:30 p.m., Canadian consulate, Grosvenor Square.

Aboriginal studies public lecture as part of the Firekeepers program: Lenore Keeshig-Tobias, playwright, on the relationship between indigenous knowledge and scientific discoveries, 7:30, MacKirdy Hall, St. Paul's College.

Gauss Contest for grade 7 and 8 students, sponsored by Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing, tomorrow.

Waterloo Software Community seminar: Fakhri Karray, electrical and computer engineering, "Novel Approaches for Development of Semantic Speech Engines", Wednesday 12 noon, Davis Centre room 1302.

Health informatics seminar: Eric Jervis, chemical engineering, "Stem Cell Lineage Analysis and Control", Wednesday 3:30, Davis Centre room 1304.

Graduate student welcome party for Society of International Students, Wednesday 6 p.m., Rod Coutts Hall room 308.

Computer Science For You (CS4U) open house for grade 9 and 10 students, parents and teachers, Saturday 9:30 to 4:30, Davis Centre, information and registration online.

Retirees' Association tour of "Old Town Toronto" led by Gordon Nelson, UW Heritage Resources Centre, Saturday, information 699-4015.

And a little of this and that

More than 200 student researchers from across Canada -- including 21 from UW -- will be attending a conference on automotive research today through Thursday at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology in Oshawa. The "Highly Qualified People Conference", sponsored by the Auto21 Network of Centres of Excellence, gives an opportunity to discuss Auto21's 41 current research projects. "Whether a project focuses on child seat safety, alternative fuels or manufacturing processes, the research teams consist of people from disciplines that may not traditionally work together," says Peter Frise, program leader for Auto21. "Engineers, nurses, lawyers, economists and psychologists are just a few examples." In addition to a series of research presentations, the students will hear from industry leaders such as Robert Magee, president and CEO of The Woodbridge Group, a major supplier of polyurethane foams for automotive use. They will also tour the facilities of Johnson Controls, an automotive supplier of interior components, to see innovative technologies in action. Three Waterloo faculty members are also attending the conference. Jack Callaghan of UW's kinesiology department will give a theme talk this morning, and Steve Lambert of mechanical engineering will speak tomorrow.

The big event tomorrow on campus will be UW Blooms, an annual fixture just as the gardening season begins. Originally a one-person initiative, it's now sponsored by the UW Recreation Committee. Nancy O'Neil of the UWRC writes: "What is it all about? Swapping and giving away free seeds, plants, plant pots, etc., anything to do with gardening. There will also be many give-aways just for showing up. Even if you have nothing to bring in, you can still pick up free things. Or, just stop by the multipurpose room in the Student Life Centre and see what the UWRC is all about." The event will run from 11:30 to 5:30 tomorrow.

[Faces] Ted Timar, a 1991 engineering graduate who was based at Renison College during his UW years, has donated two scholarships for resident students, Renison announced recently. Upper-year students in engineering, math or science get priority. The first such scholarship was presented at Renison's end-of-term Academic Awards Reception and Banquet, and the winner is Candice Williams of actuarial science, who's pictured (right) with Timar, the donor.

The current edition of the online Arts Research Update includes a report on research by psychology professor Al Cheyne, who's continuing his longstanding work on "sleep paralysis", a form of vivid and sometimes terrifying dreaming. "The paralysis is often accompanied by a sensed presence in the room," Cheyne says. "It is not surprising that people who have such experiences think they are suffering from a serious psychological disorder, being abducted by aliens, or worse. . . . In most modern societies, people don't have a name for this experience. The information we provide helps people to begin to understand."

Friday's bicycle auction raised more than $600 for the UW Bike Centre, volunteer Ted Harms reports. . . . The library sends a reminder that books borrowed on term loan before the beginning of April will be due tomorrow and should be returned or renewed. . . . Daily postings of fall term co-op jobs has already begun on the JobMine system. . . .

CAR


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