Thursday, August 12, 2010

  • Renison goes to China; hosts Japanese students on campus
  • A cloudy night for stargazers?
  • More notes from IST
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Renison goes to China; hosts Japanese students on campus

The logo of Renison University CollegeRenison University College's international activities involve a lot of coming and going. Renison's English Language Institute (ELI) will be offering the ACE TESOL program in China for the first time as two English as a Second Language (ESL) instructors, Nancy Oczkowski and Heather Perry teach Western teaching methods to 20 English instructors at Xiamen Institute of Technology in Fujian Province, China. The program began July 12 and winds up tomorrow.

Renison is offering this program in partnership with INFOworks Education First International, an organization that promotes Canadian education throughout Asia by recruiting teachers for overseas schools, foreign students for study abroad in Canada, and fostering partnerships among various global educational institutions and organizations.

Perry says that this experience has taught her how to empathize with her international students, having now experienced the same struggles they face in a foreign country. She also says that there have been mixed reactions to the teaching methods they are demonstrating.

“Some of the teachers were very skeptical of what we were trying to show, even resistant to this change. Others embraced the change as if opening a window and breathing in fresh air. For me, to see the teachers adapt new ways of teaching, approaching their methods with an eye for improvement and being willing to risk changing methods that have been in place for generations, is truly invigorating.”

Oczkowski agrees that the reactions vary, but she says for the most part the Chinese instructors have been very receptive to the new techniques. “It has been amazing to see them progress from a little skeptical initially, to embracing the ideas and testing them out during their microteaching. It has been an amazing transformation.”

Dianne Tyers, designer of the ACE TESOL program and President of ACE Advance Consulting for Education, says that this difference in teaching styles is one of the aspects that make the program such a success.

“Any time we get together with teachers trained under a different education system, that have very different assumptions about teaching and learning, fun discussion ensues. Everyone is the richer for having had this discussion and debate. And the students at Xiamen can only benefit from the learning that their teachers have experienced.”

The logo for Rikkyo UniversityMeanwhile, back home, for the fourth consecutive year, the ELI is hosting 46 students from Japan who are participating in the English for Academic Purposes (EAP) program this month. The program runs for August 1-22 and hosts students from Rikkyo University in Tokyo. The EAP program is offered to students during the summer of their freshman year as an opportunity to improve their English communication skills and experience a different culture through academic immersion as well as visits to landmarks such as Niagara Falls and the city of Toronto.

“The students tend to comment on two things,” says Ron Champion, ELI special projects manager. “All the animals on campus, and the stars!” Nightly star-gazing is a popular activity, and the students soon learn to avoid the geese.

A major focus of the program is the development of business plans, with academic support provided for business communications, presentation skills, vocabulary development, and conversation skills. Students attend class for 17.5 hours a week. Upon successful completion of the program, each student receives a Renison University College English Language Institute certificate, specifying the student’s achievement in the program.

The 47 Rikkyo University students live at St. Paul’s for the duration of the program, along with three program assistants. The program instructors are Joe Visser, Andrew Cairns, and Doug Minaker. Considering that Rikkyo University is also known as St. Paul's, the students should feel right at home.


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A cloudy night for stargazers?

Postcard for the Faculty of Science Star Gazing party

Organizers of tonight's Faculty of Science Star Gazing Party should know by 2 p.m. this afternoon whether or not the event is still a "go."

Star seekers may have a chance to see the Perseid meteor showers around 11 p.m. tonight, but it's entirely possible the local weather might not co-operate.

The event, open to the public, was scheduled to be held from 7:00 p.m. until midnight at Waterloo's North Campus soccer pitch, but due to inclement weather, the event may be called off.

Thursday's weather forecast for Waterloo does indicate both clouds and the possibility of showers - the rainy kind - throughout the day.

For more information about the event, and after 2:00 p.m., the official word on the party's fate, please visit


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More notes from IST

The following items are updates on recent and future IST activities:

ITMS staff are on the move. The staff members of ITMS who currently reside in E2, in the former Audio Visual department, are moving to their new home in the MC. The customer service areas, Equipment Loans and the Media Resources will now be in the CHIP to facilitate "one stop shopping" for IST services. The move will be staged with some areas targeted for November 2010, depending on renovations being completed. As the dates firm up, they will be advertised and sent to various client areas.

Eduroam service coming, and a security warning. Those with laptops will soon be using a new service called Eduroam to connect to the campus network. Also, laptops that contain sensitive information should have the hard disk encrypted in case the laptop is stolen or lost. The encryption software is called WinMagic. Faculty and staff will soon be able to encrypt their laptop hard drives themselves or have CHIP do it for them.

Email accounts for new students have been addressed. Student email accounts for all new incoming students have been provisioned on mailservices.

And a reminder: Quest is unavailable this morning. The application of new security patches means that Quest will be offline today from 7:00 a.m. until noon.


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Link of the day

International Youth Day

When and where

MC-DC bridge, upper level, between fourth-floor MC and third-floor DC, will be closed July 19 to May 31, 2011, for construction tie-in.

Library hours for spring exam period, July 25 to August 14. Davis Centre open 24 hours a day, except closed Sundays 2 - 8 a.m. for system maintenance. (Dana Porter open regular hours: 8 a.m. - 11 p.m., Monday-Friday; 11 a.m. - 11 p.m., Saturday and Sunday.)

Spring term examinations August 3-14 (online courses, August 6-7). Unofficial marks begin appearing on Quest, August 16. Marks become official September 20.

Co-op job postings, main group, for fall 2010 work terms, on JobMine August 3 – 9; daily postings thereafter.

Men’s hockey “shooting to score” camp for boys & girls 5-14, August 16-20, 23-27, August 30 to September 3, Icefield. Details.

Ontario Mennonite Music Camp for students aged 12 to 16, August 8-20 at Conrad Grebel University College. Details.

Women’s hockey camps: Future Warriors, girls ages 6-15, daytime; “elite conditioning camp” for girls 15-19, evenings, both August 9-13, Icefield. Details.

Road just north of MC building and building's loading dock will be closed to vehicles and pedestrians, except emergency vehicles, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily starting August 9, for about two weeks, to install steel structure for new math bridge.

All retail services stores and on-campus copy centres will be closed Wednesday, August 11 for staff annual general meeting. Regular hours resume August 12.

Selected Areas in Cryptography Conference, August 12-13, Centre for Environmental and Information Technology room 1015. Registration/reception August 11. Details.

Utility shutdown on the second floor of Physics, for a cooling loop extension, Thursday, August 12, 8 a.m. - 11:59 a. m. Work will take place outside Room 222.

Feds Used Books opens Saturday, August 14, in addition to regular weekdays, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Women’s hockey “future Warriors camp” for girls 6-15, August 16-20, Icefield. Details.

Men’s volleyball coed summer camp August 16-20, Icefield. Details.

UWRC Book Club discusses The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett, Wednesday, August 18, 12:00, Dana Porter Library room 407.

Domestic hot water will run cold in all buildings within the Ring Road and in Village 1, Tuesday, August 24, 1 a.m. to Thursday, August 26, 11:30 p.m., to allow maintenance on steam mains.

No water from domestic hot water taps in all buildings within the Ring Road and in Village 1, Tuesday, August 24, 8 p.m. to Wednesday, August 25, 7 a.m., to allow connection for new math building.

National Cherry Popsicle Day: UWRC event with improv theatre TOTE, Thursday, August 26, noon, Biology 1 room 271. Free; please register.

WatCACE financial support for research on co-op: proposals deadline September 1. Guidelines.


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