Wednesday, October 26, 2022 | Daily Bulletin

Open Access Week Series: Ending the Free Fall

Pia Zeni, Daniel Opperwall, and Kristin Wilson

Pia Zeni, Daniel Opperwall, and Kristin Wilson, Centre for Extended Learning.

By Dana Francoeur, Centre for Extended Learning. This article is one of a series celebrating open scholarship during Open Access Week. It is brought to you by the Open Scholarship Committee.

“It’s like bungee jumping without a cord.”

This is what Pia Zeni remembers an instructor saying about creating impactful online courses on their own. 

For many years, instructors of online courses often lacked the support and tools to create successful online courses. Many instructors still feel they lack resources. Meeting this need are two new Open Educational Resources (OERs): High Quality Online Courses and Humanizing Virtual Learning.

High Quality Online Courses (HQOC) is a course on how to improve course design and delivery for post-secondary learners. Humanizing Virtual Learning (HVL) is a guide to help post-secondary educators foster engagement, connection, and inclusivity in an online learning environment.

Housed on eCampusOntario’s Open Library Publishing Platform, both courses are licensed under the Ontario Commons License as well as a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. These licenses permit copying, reuse, and modification. However, the Ontario Commons license limits use to educators at Ontario colleges and universities, while the additional CC license allows for use by anyone, anywhere in the world.

Providing support to all online instructors was one of the course authors’ objectives. While conceptualizing these courses, authors Daniel Opperwall, Kristin Wilson, and Pia Zeni recognized that most institutions were not as well-resourced as Waterloo when it came to instructional designers and multimedia developers.

Instructors of online courses wanted pragmatic instruction with workable examples. They were asking “what does it look like?” and wanting to “see it.” HQOC and HVL were designed to provide that visual, said Zeni.

HQOC does this particularly well, as Zeni pointed out, ending each module with activities that allow educators to effectively build and plan actual parts of an online course.

© University of Waterloo. Made available under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

Because HQOC and HVL are open educational resources (OERs), instructors are able to customize them to suit their individual needs. “That’s the beauty of it,” said Opperwall. He pointed out that while a book can’t be reworked into something new to fit a different or more specific scenario, OERs are endlessly customizable. “You can mix and match, tweak it, change it, grab pieces of it…the possibilities are endless and more economical, and knowledge is being shared and built on,” Opperwall said.

Not only can end users easily adapt the courses for their own uses, the authors can also update them. HQOC has not even been live a full year yet and Zeni has already been proactively adding to the “Resources for Further Study” sections when she finds something that would have been great to include. “I’ve already done that once or twice…and that’s one of the nice things about OERs. They are very easy to edit,” she said.

OERs will be increasingly important in academia, predict Opperwall and Zeni. Opperwall is currently involved in designing two more OERs, sponsored by the University of Waterloo Library through the OER Fellows Program. When asked what he would tell someone interested in creating or adapting an OER, he said, “I think what I’d say is why not? …This is going to be so much fun [and] it’s going to be so rewarding.”

New postdoc opportunities for Black and Indigenous scholars

Three coloured hexagonal objects in grey, red and yellow.

A message from Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs.

Support Waterloo’s strategic plan to strengthen sustainable and diverse communities by encouraging recent PhD graduates in any field of study to apply for the Provost’s Program for Black and Indigenous Postdoctoral Scholars.

The Program advances institutional initiatives to create a culture of equity, diversity, and inclusivity for all, improving the representation, participation, and engagement of equity-deserving groups within our community. We invite applications for the inaugural award, which provides successful candidates with annual support that includes a salary of $60,000 plus a benefits package. The scholars will also receive a one-time research fund of $5,000 at the time of their appointment. The value of the support demonstrates the importance of and commitment to interdisciplinary research at Waterloo. The maximum term of the appointment is 2 years and up to four positions will be granted in 2023.

Specific funding is also available within the AMTD Waterloo Global Talent Postdoctoral Fellowship Program for Black and Indigenous scholars.

Applicants must have support / endorsement from a University of Waterloo researcher prior to applying; the application deadline is December 1, 2022.  For more details, including eligibility criteria, the endorsement process, please visit the Provost’s Program for Black and Indigenous Postdoctoral Scholars web page.

Learn more about the upcoming international climate change negotiations

Road to COP27 banner featuring a landscape.

A message from the Waterloo Climate Institute.

We are at a pivotal moment in our collective goal to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. For this reason, the meeting of the world’s leaders in Egypt from November 6 to 18 for the climate change negotiations at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) annual Conference of the Parties (COP) is more critical than ever.

The University of Waterloo, through the Waterloo Climate Institute, has been an official observer of the conferences for many years. For COP27, the institute will send an in-person delegation of top student leaders and faculty researchers to represent the University, bear witness to the negotiations, and foster an informed conversation about the climate crisis at Waterloo.

On Wednesday, November 2 at 2:45 p.m., join the delegation on campus for the Road to COP27 event – a discussion of the crucial issues that need to be tackled. This will be a chance learn about COP and the expertise that each of the delegates brings to the table, spanning topics of health, governance, energy, and communications.

Universal Design for Learning and Wellbeing Community of Practice session on Thursday

An illustration of people interacting with universal design elements

A message from the Universal Design for Learning and Wellbeing Community of Practice.

The Wellness Collaborative, Centre for Teaching Excellence, Centre for Extended Learning, Student Success Office, AccessAbility Services, and fellow instructors have partnered up to critically look at how UDL can (and cannot) support holistic wellbeing in the learning environment. We invite you, instructors and others who support the learning environment, to join us in a Community of Practice (CoP).

We are excited to announce that our next Community of Practice meeting, Harnessing UDL for wellbeing in learning environments, takes place this week on Thursday October 27 at 1:00 p.m.

We will engage in critical refelction of the impacts of UDL on instructor workload and the importance of the ‘start small and build from there’ approach. There will be opportunities to discuss with presenters and other group members regarding ‘places to start’ in your own practice.    

For more details about each session, see our website.

The CoP will be hosted virtually through Microsoft Teams and members can access resources and support asynchronously.  

To get involved in the CoP, please complete this brief Qualtrics survey.  

Please note that you do not need to attend all three sessions to join the CoP, as our aim is to make this CoP accessible for all who are interested. We look forward to connecting with you.

Velocity $5K fall 2022 semi-finalists announced

Velocity $5K banner featuring participants delivering pitches.

A message from Velocity.

Twenty-three student teams contend for four $5,000 prizes — but first they must present the perfect pitch.

The time is here for University of Waterloo’s ambitious student startups to compete at the Velocity $5K pitch competition. The competition will see early-stage student ventures battle it out onstage for a chance at one of four $5,000 awards. The first round of competition kicks off on November 9 and 10 and features 23 aspiring teams. These 23 semi-finalist teams were selected by an experienced panel of entrepreneurs, following a difficult adjudication process that saw 72 applications from 160 students.

Each semi-finalist will have just three minutes to present their idea and convince a new panel of judges that it has potential and viability to succeed. Only then will they move on to the final round.

The top eight teams from the two rounds will return to the stage for the finals on November 23. After the pitching magic happens, four teams and their innovative business ideas will take home $5,000 in grant funding to help grow their ambitions.

Join us on November 9 and 10 at South Campus Hall to see who will win the judges over and cheer on your UWaterloo peers.

See the pitches live and meet the teams

Witness 13 early-stage startups featuring 21 UWaterloo students from within the faculties of Engineering, Mathematics, Environment and Arts pitch to win in night one of the Velocity $5K semi-finals:

AFAIK; Coastal; Electric Boats & Regenerative Fertilizers; Hexa; LandscapeDirect; Liquitronix; PedalRoutes; Penspyre; RelayMD; Serv2U; Totazi; TrainPro; and Werkspat.

Night two of the Velocity $5K semi-finals showcases 10 teams with 15 UWaterloo students from the faculties of Engineering, Mathematics, Arts and Health:

Chariot Mobility; Goose; HydroMag; IDEAL; MedInclude; Outseek; Pegasus; Quickcast; ShootFree; and Skipwash.

Learn more and register to attend

Critical Tech Talk interdisciplinary series continues October 28

Critical Tech Talk banner featuring the talk title.

A message from the Critical Media Lab.

Please join us for the 4th event in the Critical Tech Talk series of honest talks about innovation. For this hybrid event, we are thrilled to be hosting Professor Batya Friedman, a pioneer of Value Sensitive Design for a talk entitled Shaping Technology with Moral Imagination: Leveraging the Machinery of Value Sensitive Design.

Tools and technologies do no less than create and structure the conditions in which we live, express ourselves, enact society, and experience what it means to be human. They are also the result of our moral and technical imaginations, which are subjective and often constrained by systems of privilege and power. Value Sensitive Design (VSD) was developed as an approach to address this challenge from within technical design processes. Drawing on over three decades of work, in this interactive talk will provide an introduction to value sensitive design, foregrounding human values in the technical design process.

The event takes place Friday, October 28, from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. followed by a reception. Attend online or in person at the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI). Register here.

About the speaker

Batya Friedman is a Professor in the Information School and holds adjunct appointments in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering, the School of Law, and the Department of Human Centered Design and Engineering at the University of Washington where she co-founded the Value Sensitive Design Lab and the UW Tech Policy Lab. Value sensitive design, pioneered by Dr. Friedman, has been adopted internationally, and it has been applied in architecture, biomedical health informatics, civil engineering, computer security, energy, global health, human-computer interaction, human-robotic interaction, information management, legal theory, moral philosophy, tech policy, transportation, and urban planning, among other areas.

Carl Tutton is undertaking a PhD in Sustainability Management. His background in end-of-life electronic waste policy and management systems, material flow analysis, and long-time interests and hobbies in consumer electronics led to his interest in the beginning of the lifecycle of products, the design phase. His work seeks to analyze successful implementations of, and barriers to, sustainable design changes and more efficient product lifecycles.

Sid Heeg is a PhD student in Sustainability Management. Their research focuses on mis/disinformation surrounding farming and farm practices and how to bridge the knowledge gap between urban and rural populations. They are interested in learning how social media algorithms play a role in the continued spread of mis/disinformation and how it impacts sustainable farming practices.

Marcel O’Gorman is a Professor of English, University Research Chair, and Director of the Critical Media Lab. He co-wrote the Tech for Good Declaration and leads several funded research projects on the topic of Responsible Innovation. His publications, cross-sector workshops, and critical design projects reflect on the entanglement of technology, humanity, and the more-than-human.

Questions about the event? Contact Marcel O’Gorman: [email protected]

Wednesday’s notes

Stealth, featuring bass clarinetist Kathryn Ladano and percussionist Richard Burrows.

The latest Noon Hour Concert at Conrad Grebel University College takes place today at 12:30 p.m. and is called “A Moment in Time.” Stealth, featuring bass clarinetist Kathryn Ladano and percussionist Richard Burrows, will take you on a musical journey exploring sonic landscapes and rhythmic chaos. Having performed together for over a decade, Stealth takes a deep dive into the world of improvisation. Their music can be tranquil and contemplative or explosive and pulsating, striving to bring a unique experience to every audience. The free concert takes place in the Conrad Grebel chapel and is open to all.

Media Relations invites faculty members, postdocs and PhD students to hear from Scott White, editor-in-chief of the Conversation Canada, on ways academics and researchers can become authors for the publishing platform. Learn about strategies for pitching your idea, their editing process, and the analytics dashboard that is built into an author’s profile. The session is limited to academics and researchers, including postdocs and PhD students. The event takes place on Friday, October 28 from 10:30 a.m. to 12 noon. To attend this webinar, you must register in advance by emailing Pamela Smyth.

UW Fitness is looking forward to offering their next 6-week cycle of both in-person and remote fitness classes. Thanks to funding from the UW Staff Association’s Staff Excellence Fund, all UWaterloo staff will receive a 50 per cent discount on registrations for select fitness programs.

“Classes start the week of October 31st, and spaces are limited so sign-up ASAP,” says a note from UW Fitness.

For more information, including a list of program offerings and how to register, visit the UW Fitness website.

For more specific inquires, feel free to contact us at [email protected].

Keeping Well at Work Daily Inspiration logo.

Here’s today’s Keeping Well at Work Daily Inspiration:

Take a break and connect with nature and animals!

Try to get outside today and notice the world around you. Can’t get outside? View these virtual webcams to take a break.

  • Bird Cams: A virtual window into the natural world of birds
  • Monterey Bay Aquarium: Tune in to a web cam to experience the wonder of the ocean
  • San Diego Zoo: Watch a live camera to observe the zoo animals
  • Many national parks are available for viewing thanks to Google Earth and Google Arts & Culture, including the Grand Canyon and Yosemite.


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