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Monday, May 2, 2011

  • New term, election day, and Canada 3.0
  • New online system tested in 11 courses
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

[Standing above the mountains]

On top of the world in every sense are graduate student Candice Jensen and professor Mike Dixon, both of Waterloo's psychology department. They posed overlooking the Rockies at Banff, Alberta, after taking two top awards at a conference — "Engaging the Big Questions in Gambling Studies" — held at the Banff Centre last month. Dixon's paper on "Psycho-Physiological Responses to Wins, Losses and Near-Misses in Slot Machine Play" was named best oral presentation; Jensen won the "best poster" award for her "Miscategorizing Losses as Wins in Multi-Line Video Slot Machine Games".

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New term, election day, and Canada 3.0

Spring term classes begin today, and while the campus may not be as busy as we’ll see it in September, it’s definitely alive with energy, hope and the patter of many little feet. Services that have been in reduced operation since winter term exams are back to a full schedule, including the libraries, food services, and athletics and recreation. The bookstore is not scheduling evening hours for the beginning-of-term rush, but will be open this Saturday (and two other Saturdays in May) as well as its usual Monday-to-Friday hours.

Today is also, of course, the day of a federal general election. Polling stations for the Kitchener-Waterloo riding will include one at Village I and one at the UW Place residence complex. “All students moving into residence," says university housing officer Chris Read, "will get a voting reminder card with their keys and information about where to vote. Housing and Residences and the Federation of Students began working with Elections Canada several months ago on a unique arrangement that allows the university to supply documentation, making the registration process less onerous for residence students.” The Federation, meanwhile, continues to remind students that they're entitled to vote just like anybody else: “You may vote in this federal election if you are a Canadian citizen; will be 18 or older on election day; can prove your identity and address.” Results will arrive in a flood after the polls close at 9:30 tonight. Among the places to watch them: POETS Pub in Carl Pollock Hall, reopened following its winter term renovations.

In Stratford today through Wednesday, people from the university are much involved in the third annual Canada 3.0 digital media forum, being held at the city’s Rotary Complex. The Canadian Digital Media Network, which is organizing the event, says in a news release that the goal continues to be the “Moonshot” — that anyone can do anything online in Canada by 2017. Says Kevin Tuer, managing director of the CDMN. “Canada 3.0 2011 will be examining how ICT — Information and Communications Technologies — can advance Canada's productivity.” [Morrison]The forum will include more than 100 speakers and panelists, plus interactive discussions regarding the latest in digital media developments in education, health, media and entertainment, telecommunications and distribution, natural resources, public sector, research, and human resources. Among the speakers: Aimée Morrison of Waterloo’s department of English language and literature, who will speak on the use of social media in the classroom, in a session moderated by dean of arts Ken Coates. President Feridun Hamdullahpur will bring greetings to the conference on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the university is getting ready for an important decision: the search for the next vice-president (academic) and provost. Says a memo from the university secretariat: “With the recent approval of Feridun Hamdullahpur as president of the University of Waterloo and as required by Policy 48, we are preparing to constitute the nominating committee to identify the next vice-president, academic & provost. Nominations are requested for the following seats on the nominating committee (at least three nominators are required in each case): ‘Two staff members, elected by and from the regular staff of the University.’ Completed nomination forms to be sent to the Chief Returning Officer, Secretariat, Needles Hall, Room 3060, no later than 3:00 p.m., Friday, May 13, 2011. An election will follow if necessary.” Elections for faculty representatives on the committee will get going next week, the secretariat also said.

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New online system tested in 11 courses

Eleven courses are being offered this term with an early version of the new “learning management system” that’s going to replace UW-ACE within the next year, says Andrea Chappell of information systems and technology.

The plan to replace the soon-to-be-obsolete Angel Course Environment with software from Waterloo-based Desire2Learn Inc. was announced in March. Representatives of the company, as well as people from IST and elsewhere on campus who are involved in the transition, explained the plans in more detail at an open house late in April.

“As part of the introduction of D2L as Waterloo's new learning management system,” says Chappell, “eleven spring term courses with online components will be taught using D2L. These courses will allow the participants and the support team to gain experience with the system as it is used for the first time.

“During the summer the support team will work to ready the system to take on more courses, by automating class list uploads, continuing test tools to automatically convert courses from Angel to D2L, and integrating course tools such as Turnitin (the plagiarism detection software) and e-reserves.

“Instructors using D2L are being invited to participate in feedback sessions to share their experiences. These sessions are being led by James Skidmore, one of the faculty member representatives on the LMS Selection Project team, who will also be teaching one of the spring courses using D2L.”

She said four of the courses running in D2L in the spring term are fully online courses delivered through the Centre for Extended Learning: Biology 373, French 297, German 383, Philosophy 200A. The other seven courses use D2L for part of their course activities: Knowledge Integration 275, Systems Design 114, Chemistry 233/237, Math 136 and 138, International Development 474, and Social Work 471R. A twelfth course was originally scheduled to be involved, but it's been cancelled for this term.

Says Chappell: “A more extensive adoption of D2L is planned for the fall term, with the intent to move all course delivery to D2L for winter 2012. Experiences from this coming term will help guide planning for that extended roll-out.

“The team supervising the introduction of D2L will be providing updates throughout the spring term. If you have questions about the migration or would like to register your interest in running a course in D2L in the fall, please send a message to lms@ Many factors must be considered for the extended roll-out, including the impact on instructors, on students (especially incoming new students), and on the support team's capacity to support both Angel (UW-ACE) and the new system at the same time.”


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Link of the day

The King James Bible

When and where

School of Accounting and Finance Directors’ Gallery ribbon-cutting celebration 3:30.

Retirees Association bus trip to Niagara River wineries, Tuesday, tickets $98, information 519-744-3246.

Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology seminar: Cecile Fradin, McMaster University, “Punching Holes into Membranes” Tuesday 3:30, Chemistry 2 room 361.

WatRISQ presents Lung Kwan Tsui, statistics and actuarial science, “A Multi-Factor Bottom-Up Model for Pricing Credit Derivatives” Tuesday 4:00, Davis Centre room 1304.

Co-op students return-to-campus interviews May 4-6, Tatham Centre; architecture, May 10, Cambridge campus.

International student orientation (graduate, undergraduate, exchange; spouses welcome) Wednesday 12:00 to 4:00, Arts Lecture Hall room 105, lunch provided. Details.

Catalyst Conference for young women interested in math and science, hosted by Women in Engineering, May 6-8. Details.

Stratford campus reception (by invitation) honouring artists whose work are on display in the Waterloo building, Friday 3:00, 6 Wellington Street, information ext. 23000.

DaCapo Chamber Choir, based at Conrad Grebel UC, “A World of Colour” Saturday 8:00, St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church, Kitchener. Details.

Employee Assistance Program sponsors UW Campus Walk, May 9 to June 5, individuals and teams welcome. Details.

Class enrolment appointments for fall term undergraduate courses posted in Quest, May 10; appointments for continuing students, June 6-11; for first-time students, July 11-24; open class enrolment, July 25.

Ontario Association of International Educators and Ontario region of Canadian Bureau for International Education, meeting at Waterloo May 10-12, hosted by international student office. Details.

Charity golf tournament sponsored by Centre for Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology, May 10, 12:00, Whistle Bear Golf Club. Details.

Calgary alumni reception May 10, 5:30 to 7:30, Metropolitan Conference Centre, speaker Alan Morgan, earth and environmental sciences. Details.

Alumni networking event with speaker Tom Chau, pediatric rehabilitation researcher, May 10, 6:00, The Carlu, Toronto. Details.

Open class enrolment for spring term courses ends, May 13.

Discussion group for parents of first-year students (incoming or just finished) May 16, 12:00, Needles Hall room 1116, information e-mail hwestmor@

University senate May 16, 4:00, Needles Hall room 3001.

Integrating Experiential Learning: “Integrating Experience into the Online Environment” May 17, 12:00, Flex Lab, Dana Porter Library. Details.

Gilbert and Sullivan Society production of “Princess Ida” May 19 and 21 at 2:00, May 19, 20 and 21 at 8:00, Humanities Theatre, tickets $35 (students $20) at Humanities box office.

Victoria Day Monday, May 23, university closed.

Retirees Association annual general meeting May 26, 3:30, Sunshine Centre, Luther Village.

You @ Waterloo Day open house for future students, May 28. Details.

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