[Mars from the Hubble telescope]
Mars seen by the Hubble telescope

Daily Bulletin

University of Waterloo -- Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
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Friday, July 11, 1997

The student information system

The first of "what will become regular status reports" on the Student Information Systems Project has been issued by Dave Mason of the information systems and technology department, who is project manager for SISP. Here's what he has to say:
As of June 3, the project detail team has been engaged in an intensive orientation program to familiarize its members with the PeopleSoft Student Administration System (SAS) which was recently purchased by the University.

The SISP detail team members include:

After an initial period of familiarization and task planning the project detail team will expand to include members with experience in other UW settings, in particular the faculties.

The campus community will be pleased to know that the assistance from faculty representatives which was obtained over the past two years in defining the current processes and identifying specific requirements has contributed immensely to the SISP team's understanding of the issues and functions that define UW's student systems. In fact, this understanding aided the University in its decision to purchase the PeopleSoft SAS product.

Those contributors will be pleased to know that their recommendations have been channeled into a comprehensive "Baseline Document". This document, as its name implies, provides the project team with a working baseline against which the functionality of the PeopleSoft SAS product can be measured. Processes, in addition to those which were formally explored in the Admissions and Registration & Scheduling Design Committees, have also been described in this document, which currently exceeds 450 pages and is nearly, but not entirely complete.

Work has now begun to gain a better insight into the product we have purchased and, when this familiarization phase is complete, we will start to measure the "fits" and "gaps" between what has been purchased and the ways in which the University prefers to handle business with its students. Upon identification of gaps, the team will begin the process of solution design which will, once again, involve input from the faculties, students and other stakeholders.

Waterloo Web site of the day


"This handbook was produced to assist Graduate Students studying at the University of Waterloo," the Web page begins, but in fact it's specifically for graduate students in CS, the department with the largest number of grads -- many of them from outside Canada. Hence the sections of the site about "Exploring Canada" and "Exploring the United States", sharing space with "Health services", "Research skills" and "Child care".

Jane Prime, administrative coordinator for graduate studies in the CS department, notes that the page "was developed by Igor Benko, one of our PhD students, to inform graduate students, new and old, about the services available to them on campus and on the web and to make them aware of issues that could affect their performance in graduate school. This is an extension of our orientation information."

Benko tells more of the story:

We realized that the handouts we were giving to new grad students did not contain enough information and were, as any piece of paper is, easy to lose. Thus, I gathered information that should be helpful as a part of a welcoming package for new graduate students and as a reference point for students who have been around for a while. A large part of the text in the survival manual was compiled from various sources, mostly from the brochure "Destination Waterloo" and from a number of departmental handouts. Some text, like sections "Tips on Skills" and "Exploring", was written from scratch.

I am particularly keen on these two sections. The section on skills emphasizes that there are non-academic areas where a grad student should aim for improvement. Examples of such areas contain physical fitness, public speaking, and interpersonal communication skills. The section on exploring gives some tips on interesting places that are within reach from Waterloo.

The target audience were Waterloo grad students in computer science, although most of the information in the manual is relevant to a graduate student in any discipline. The page tends to be accessed between 100 and 150 times per month, which, given the number of CS grad students, I find quite satisfactory.

Also available in the CS department is a Web version of the undergraduate handbook, but that one is less eclectic, consisting mostly of academic information.

The talk of the campus

While the Sojourner robot's exploration of Mars is the biggest thing ever to hit the Internet, with 45 million hits a day to NASA and mirror sites, a simulated version is available on-line here at Waterloo. The computer-controlled robot is an activity of the Engineering Science Quest kids' program. . . .

Another young people's program, Shad Valley, has a big weekend coming up, with "Alumni Day" tomorrow. Participants in previous years' Shad activities will drop by for "a large ultimate game", a barbecue, improvisational theatre, and a big party, all at Conrad Grebel College. . . .

"Heatwave '97" hits Federation Hall tonight, with music by Clymaxxx (I don't make this stuff up and you know), Baby Blue Sound Crew. Promised: "R&B, Hip Hop, House Calypso, Old School, Reggae". Doors open at 8:30; tickets are $6 in advance. . . .

Co-op students are advised that continuous placement posting #3 was made available yesterday and expires this evening -- also that work reports from the winter which were marked by co-op coordinators are available today for pickup from the co-op reception desk.


July 11, 1974: The UW Summer Choir presents "Music for a Summer's Day" at noontime in the Humanities quadrangle.

July 12, 1994: Construction work in South Campus Hall, as the bookstore is renovated and the concourse area is enclosed, sets off the fire alarms.

Editor of the Daily Bulletin: Chris Redmond
Information and Public Affairs, University of Waterloo
credmond@watserv1.uwaterloo.ca -- (519) 888-4567 ext. 3004
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