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Thursday, April 17, 2014



  • Equinox document outlines school of the future
  • Wearable tech leads to Capstone award win
  • Housing takes steps to combat rental fraud
  • What's open and closed this weekend



Doing the math on accepting Waterloo's offer: This was the scene at a "student conversion event" held in Singapore on Monday, April 14. Singapore Alumni Chapter President Jon Kwan is pictured here addressing the prospective students (who have offers of admission to Waterloo) and their parents who were invited to meet one another and speak with successful alumni who are currently working and living in Singapore.

The event was hosted by the High Commissioner to Singapore, Her Excellency Heather Grant, and took place at her official residence.

Also in attendance was Professor Ken Seng Tan from the Faculty of Mathematics.

"Events like this have resulted in students accepting their offers of admission," writes Kate Jessop. "The majority of these students are going into the Faculty of Mathematics."


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Equinox document outlines school of the future

by MSC staff.

Forget facts and figures — high school students need to develop lifelong learning practices and a sense of self, according to a report released by the Waterloo Global Science Initiative (WGSI).

The Equinox Blueprint: Learning 2030 is the result of a conference hosted by WGSI, a partnership between the University of Waterloo and the Perimeter Institute. The conference brought educators from around the world together in 2013 to plan for the next generation of learners.

“We need the kind of change that can work anywhere for anyone, regardless of their resources,” said Dr. Michael Brooks, curator of Equinox Summit: Learning 2030. “We can impact the well-being of a generation with changes that are well-defined, affordable, and implementable. But we need to begin this work now.”

The Blueprint focuses on seven goals:

  • Developing lifelong learners with a clear sense of self
  • Cross-disciplinary and collaborative projects that connect students with their interests and community
  • Fluid groupings of students dictated by of-the-moment academic and social needs
  • Teachers who co-create and curate the learning of their colleagues and students
  • Ongoing, iterative assessment of learning
  • Learners, teachers, caregivers and government all at the decision making table
  • Risk taking students and teachers who are empowered to experiment with their education

The heart of the Blueprint is a student-centred vision, encoded in a Charter of Learner’s Rights. This is no surprise considering that half of Blueprint contributors are aged 18 to 30. They include American education activist Nikhil Goyal, Thiel Fellows Chris Olah and Noor Siddiqui, and Sam Levin, founder of the Independent Project.

A school run by students

“Four years ago, as high school student, I designed an alternative school — the Independent Project. It is run by students, and operates as a school-within-a-school,” Levin says. “I saw kids about to drop out not only finish high school, but become passionate about their education. I have seen first-hand the type of engagement that is possible in the learning environment proposed in the Learning 2030 Blueprint.”

Susan Opok, Managing Director of the Ugandan operations of the WISE-Award winning Promoting Equality in African Schools (PEAS) and Blueprint contributor says 90 per cent of children in Uganda are enrolled in elementary school. “We must turn our focus to secondary education or we will lose the gains we’ve made and undermine our efforts to eliminate poverty,” she says.

University of Waterloo students design interactive website

To support action and engagement, students from the University of Waterloo’s Master of Digital Experience Innovation program designed an interactive website.

Education communities around the world are invited to share their stories and plans for change, discuss common issues, and support one another in the ongoing process of transforming high school education.


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Wearability team members hold their oversized cheques.
Wearable tech leads to Capstone award win

Wearability, a company founded by Waterloo Engineering students, has designed the latest in wearable tech – shirts that measure electrical activation in muscles to reduce work-related musculoskeletal disorders including lower back and neck sprains and strains.

Wearability founders Marc-André Simard, Adam Thagard, Pratik Konnur and Chris Menezes received $10,000 in funding from the Esch Foundation and an additional $3,000 for winning the Sedra People’s Choice Award for Best Capstone Design, as voted by audience members.

Founded by four Systems Design engineering students, Wearability walked away with $13,000 in funding at the first annual Norman Esch Entrepreneurship Awards for Capstone Design at the University of Waterloo on Friday, April 4.

The judges saw the EMG (Electromyography) shirt’s potential for applications in physiotherapy and athletic training. Wearability founders Marc-André Simard, Adam Thagard, Pratik Konnur and Chris Menezes received $10,000 in funding from the Esch Foundation and an additional $3,000 for winning the Sedra People’s Choice Award for Best Capstone Design, as voted by audience members.

“We’re super excited,” said Marc-André Simard. “The Esch Awards were a great incentive for us to implement the engineering skills we’ve developed over the past five years and learn how we can we bring our skills to entrepreneurship.”

Patenting various components of their technology is a critical next step for the co-founders. They are talking to potential investors and health care partners about how to integrate more kinesiology knowledge into the Wearability platform.

“We spent most of our time developing the workout application,” said Simard, “creating the activation profile, measuring mean activation peaks, figuring out how to bring data to the workout. Now we are interested in commercial applications, including exercise at home programs.”  

Also receiving $10,000 awards were:

  • Flood Defender, an automated system to reduce the rate and intensity of water damage in apartment buildings.
  • MAJiK Systems, a software platform that reduces downtime using real-time machine monitoring for factories and machine manufacturers.
  • On-the-Go, an easy to use mobile app that records and splits expenses between users while travelling.
  • Mixbox, an iPad app that allows users to create new music from existing music with minimal skill or effort.
  • Grayscale, an innovative reflective roof coating composed of nanoparticles that cools in warm months and retains heat in cool months.

A requirement for completion of their degrees, Capstone Design gives Waterloo Engineering students an opportunity to conceptualize and design a project related to their chosen discipline. Previous Capstone projects have given rise to ground-breaking ideas leading to the creation of companies such as Athos, BufferBox, Thalmic Labs’ Myo armband and the Pebble smartwatch.

Additional images from the Capstone Design Symposia and the Esch Awards are available online.


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Housing takes steps to combat rental fraud

by Ryan King.

In response to increased rental fraud complaints from students and after a consultation process, Off-Campus Housing (OCH) has made some small changes to help protect students.

As of Thursday, April 10, students wishing to view and post online classified advertisements through the OCH website must login with their University of Waterloo credentials. OCH want to make sure all online services are trusted and accountable as many students use these services to sublet their properties, search for roommates, and look for short-term accommodations while on academic and work terms.

If a student has any concerns about rental scams, please contact the Off-Campus Housing office, view tips on identifying potential scam emails, or report the incident directly to Waterloo Regional Police Services.


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What's open and closed this weekend

The Easter weekend is upon us, and Good Friday is a statutory holiday, which means that the University will be closed, more or less.

Retail Services locations are closed for the long weekend.

For Food Services, closed would appear to be the default setting for the long weekend, with the following exceptions:

  • Browser's in Dana Porter, which is closed Friday, but open from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 19 and 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 20;
  • Mudie's in Village 1, open 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. on Sunday, April 20; and
  • REVelation in Ron Eydt Village, which is open from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Friday, April 18, Saturday, April 19, and Sunday, April 20.

The full set of hours for each location is available on the Food Services website.

The libraries will remain open on Good Friday, with Dana Porter open from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. and Davis open 24 hours, with the circulation desk operating from noon to 6:00 p.m. Regular, that is to say extended, hours are the order of the day for Saturday and Sunday.

The Physical Activities Complex and the Columbia Icefield will be closed on Friday, but will be open from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

The Turnkey Desk in the Student Life Centre will be there if you need it.

As always, even on holidays, the university police (ext. 22222, or 519-888-4911), and the central plant will monitor campus buildings (24-hour service and maintenance line, ext.33793).

Other announcements before the long weekend sets in:

The Library has announced that the Term Loan Due Date for extended loan library books has changed from May 15, 2014 to September 15, 2014, as of today. People can begin renewing their books for the Spring 2014 term this afternoon.

The location for Germanic and Slavic Studies PhD candidate Allison Cattel's thesis defence has changed from HH 334 to EV3 3412. The time and date, 10:00 a.m. on Friday, April 25, remain the same.

And from Pam Van Allen, a few words of thanks: "I'd like to say a heartfelt thank-you to all of my uW friends and colleagues who sent congratulations or attended my retirement party," she writes. "These past 44 years wouldn't have been so fulfilling had you not been a part of my journey!"

All the best on the next leg of your journey, Pam.


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Links of the day

Chol HaMoedMaundy Thursday Easter Bunnies, eggs, what's the deal? The best video game Easter Eggs of all time

When and where

Federation of Students SLC Study Space, Friday, April 4 to Thursday, April 24.

LEARN User Group (CTE686), Thursday, April 17, 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., EV1 241. Details.

Counselling Services presents De-Stress for Exams, Thursday, April 17, 1:00 p.m., SLC 2143.

Chemistry Department Seminar Series featuring Dr. Donald Weaver, University Health Network, University of Toronto, “Design and development of disease modifying therapies for brain disorders”, Thursday, April 17, 2:00 p.m., MC 4041. Details.

Electrical and Computer Engineering Distinguished Lecture Seminar featuring R. Srikant, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, "Resource Allocation and Networking in Clouds and Data Centers." Thursday, April 17, 3:00 p.m., DC 1304. Details.

Chemical Engineering Seminar featuring Hui Wang, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, University of Saskatchewan, "Use of Synchrotron X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy in Catalysis Study for CO2 Reforming of CH4," Thursday, April 17, 3:30 p.m., E6 2024. Details.

Calgary Alumni Chapter Thirsty Third Thursday, Thursday, April 17, 5:00 p.m., Design District Urban Tavern, Calgary. Details.

Good Friday holiday, Friday, April 18, university closed.

Waterloo Summit Centre for the Environment presents Earth Day Event, Saturday, April 19, 10:00 a.m., Huntsville Summit Centre for the Environment, Huntsville. Details.

CTE presents Microteaching Session, Monday, April 21, 9:30 a.m., EV1 242. Details.

CTE presents Group Work (CTE008), Monday, April 21, 1:00 p.m., EV 241. Details.

University Senate meeting, Monday, April 21, 3:30 p.m., NH 3001.

Earth Day, Tuesday, April 22.

CTE presents Microteaching Session, Tuesday, April 22, 9:00 a.m., EV1 242. Details.

WIN Nano Graduate Seminar Series, Tuesday, April 22, 12:30 p.m., QNC 1501. Details.

Public Lecture: Energy and the Environment; Risks and the Future, Hosted by Profs. Maurice Dusseault and Steve Evans of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Tuesday, April 22, 7:00 p.m., room 347, School of Optometry. Details.

Organizational & Human Development presents Personality Dimensions (OHD601), Wednesday, April 23. Details.

Wednesday Night Discussion Group, Wednesday, April 23, 7:15 p.m., MC 5136. Details.

On-campus examinations end, Thursday, April 24.

WaterWHO? networking event, Thursday, April 24, 10:00 a.m., SLC multipurpose room. Details.

Co-operative work term ends, Friday, April 25.

The Balsillie School for International Affairs presents "Pathways to RMB Internationalization," Friday, April 25, 11:00 a.m., BSIA 142. Details.

Founders’ Day at Renison University College, Saturday, April 26, 3:00 p.m.

Spring 2014 Fee Arranged deadline, student fees due, Monday, April 28. Details.

Co-operative work term begins, Monday, April 28.

WIN Nano Graduate Seminar Series, Tuesday, April 29, 12:30 p.m., QNC 1501. Details.

Fiscal Year ends, Wednesday, April 30. Details.

CTE presents From TA to Course Instructor (CTE170), Wednesday, April 30, 10:00 a.m., EV1 241. Details.

Mean Girls party, Wednesday, April 30, 7:00 p.m., Bombshelter Pub. Details.

Canadian Index of Wellbeing event, Wednesday, April 30, 6:00 p.m., Waterloo Memorial Rec Complex. Details.

Wednesday Night Discussion Group, Wednesday, April 30, 7:15 p.m., MC 5136. Details.

Water Institute Research Symposium, Thursday, May 1, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., DC 1350. Details.

Balsillie School presents “Ecological *versus* Environmental Economics?: Promoting Better Environmental Policy-Making,” Thursday, May 1, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., BSIA 142. Details

Water Institute Distinguished Lecture 2014 featuring Peter Gleick, president and co-founder, Pacific Institute, "The Past, Present, and Future of the World's Water." Thursday, May 1, 4:00 p.m., M3 1006. Details.

Bright Starts Early Learning Co-operative Centre grand opening celebration, Friday, May 2, 1:00 p.m., Bright Starts Multipurpose Room. Details.

Spring Orientation 2014, Sunday, May 4 to Friday, May 9. Details.

Lectures begin, Monday, May 5.

X-Homelessness: A panel of ex-homeless individuals talk about their experiences in the Waterloo region, Tuesday, May 6, 12:00 p.m., Dunker Family Lounge, Renison University College.

WatRISQ seminar featuring Peter Forsyth, professor, David Cheriton School of Computer Science, University of Waterloo, "Multi-period Mean Variance Asset Allocation: Is it Bad to Win the Lottery?" Tuesday, May 6, 4:00 p.m., DC 1304.

CTE presents Understanding the Learner (CTE068), Wednesday, May 7, 9:30 a.m., EV1 241. Details.

Retirement celebration for Darlene Dietz-Hicks, Wednesday, May 7, 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., DC 1301.

San Francisco Alumni Chapter Bay-Area Meetup, Thursday, May 8, 6:30 p.m., Polyvore, San Francisco. Details.

Waterloo Unlimited Grade 10 Program, Sunday, May 11 to Thursday, May 15. Details.

Spring Welcome Week, Monday, May 12 to Friday, May 16. Details.

Teaching excellence reception, Tuesday, May 13, 3:00 p.m., University Club.

CTE presents Interactive Teaching Activities (CTE165), Wednesday, May 14, 1:00 p.m., EV1 241. Details.

Calgary Alumni Chapter Thirsty Third Thursday, Thursday, May 15, 5:00 p.m., Design District Urban Tavern, Calgary. Details.

Teach Me How To Bolly, Thursday, May 15, 6:00 p.m., Festival Room, South Campus Hall. Details.

Victoria Day holiday, Monday, May 19, university closed.

CTE presents Teaching Dossiers (CTE113), Tuesday, May 20, 9:30 a.m., EV1 241. Details.

CTE presents Assessing Student Learning (CTE020), Wednesday, May 21, 9:30 a.m., EV1 241. Details.

Institute for Quantum Computing presents the Undergraduate School on Experimental Quantum Information Processing (USEQIP), Monday, May 26 to Friday, June 6. Details.

CTE601: Instructional Skills Workshop, Tuesday, May 27 to Friday, May 30, EV1 241. Details.


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