Winners of inaugural Online Teaching and Design Awards named
The Centre for Extended Learning (CEL) in conjunction with Associate Vice President, Academic Mario Coniglio are pleased to announce the recipients of the University of Waterloo’s inaugural Online Teaching and Design Awards: Professor Edwin Ng and Professor Doug Cowan.
Online Teaching Award Winner- Professor Edwin Ng
Edwin Ng (Assistant Professor, School of Social Work, Renison University College) was nominated for the Online Teaching Award based on his teaching of SWK 605R: Knowledge Mobilization and Evidence-Based Practice, SWK 601R: Health Policy, and SWK 609R: Social Work Practice in Mental Health, part of the online Master of Social Work program at Waterloo, which is unique in Canada.
“Whenever I think about it – reading the student comments, winning this award, I’m just really humbled by everything," says Professor Ng. "I’m very grateful and appreciative for the opportunity to even facilitate students’ learning. It’s a privilege and I’m really thankful.”
When discussing what Ng finds the most rewarding about teaching online, he said, “I appreciate the students so much. I really do believe that if I know them better, as people, as professionals, and as students, I’m in a much better position to help them meet their learning needs.” Ng is always trying to empathize with his students and create a learning environment in which they can thrive and succeed.
Ng’s online teaching philosophy is simple but effective: be present online to show students that you care, set high and clear expectations to motivate students to succeed, and be authentic. This approach resonates with his students, who commented overwhelmingly that Ng shows a genuine interest in them and continuously puts in effort to make connections with his students and offer them support.
Online Course Design Award Winner – Professor Doug Cowan
The Online Course Design award goes to Doug Cowan, Professor of Religious Studies and Social Development Studies for his authorship of RS 270R: Religion and Popular Film, developed with CEL support. The course is cross-listed as Fine Arts 252.
“It’s nice to know that you’ve done something that works for people," says Cowan. "The reason that I teach is so that students can take something valuable away from their experience in the classroom. Finding out about the award, means that, at least in this little corner of my universe, I was successful in doing that.”
Cowan’s design of RS 270R/FINE 252 included a thoughtful emphasis on providing opportunities for peer-to-peer learning, interaction among students, instructor presence, and effective feedback. Overall, Cowan’s main goal is to “give students critical and analytical tools, so that they can go out and live their lives.” In other words, Cowan wants to give students a tool kit that will help them think critically, no matter what context they’re in.
Students who nominated RS 270R/FINE 252 for the Online Course Design award found the online lectures visually appealing and enjoyed the interaction that the online discussions offered. The course also benefited from Cowan’s passionate delivery of course content, as well as his active engagement in his students’ learning.
"Congratulations to both of these talented instructors who have demonstrated a strong commitment to high quality online teaching and learning at Waterloo!" says a statement from the CEL.
The Online Teaching and Design Awards are given out annually. In addition to a Certificate of Recognition, each recipient will receive a monetary prize of $1000, sponsored by the Office of the Associate Vice-President, Academic. Students, teaching assistants, faculty, instructors, chairs, and deans are all eligible to nominate any fully online course for the Online Course Design Award. For the Online Teaching Award, students are encouraged to nominate their online instructor at the end of each term in a course announcement.
Campus forest receives seed funding
This is an excerpt of an article originally published on the Faculty of Environment news site.
Thanks to a generous donation from the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation (TD FEF), plans are taking root to turn a 5-hectare urban forest on the west side of the University of Waterloo campus into a living laboratory and vibrant community asset.
The UW Urban Forest is located south of Village 1 and west of the Health Services building. Home to a variety of habitats, including a marshy wetland and upland deciduous forest, it is the largest remaining wooded green space on campus and thought to be one of the oldest in the area. According to Associate Professor Michael Drescher, an expert in ecological conservation and project co-lead, historical aerial photography reveals the woodlot was already home to mature trees in the 1930s. “Considering how long it takes for trees to mature,” he concludes, “some of these trees might be up to 150 years old.”
The forest is not only a heritage resource but also an important habitat for rare and endangered species. Last spring a Faculty of Environment student and local bird expert spotted a prothonotary warbler in the forest, a rare bird that hasn’t been seen in the region for 20 years. And while the bird didn’t breed in the forest, Drescher says the citing underscores the importance of the natural area as a resting and foraging spot for birds on their way to their breeding habitat.
On Tuesday, April 18, Amit and Meena Chakma Awards for Exceptional Teaching by a Student (AETS) committee chair Jeff Casello hosted a recognition luncheon at the University Club for the 2017 AETS recipients and committee members.
On Friday, April 21, the Sustainability Office invites members of the campus community to join the City of Waterloo’s annual 20-Minute Makeover to help tidy up our campus and surrounding community. Please register on the event page, either as an individual or as a group by teaming up with other members of your office. All supplies will be provided.
Do you want to learn Spanish and make new friends? Come and “Conversemos en español” (Let’s chat in Spanish). All language levels welcome. Under the direction of a Spanish teacher, you will have the opportunity to practice spoken Spanish with each other.
The classes take place on Mondays from April 24 to June 19 in the Community Room at the John M. Harper Branch of the Waterloo Public Library from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
For more information, please email Regina Vera-Quinn at firstname.lastname@example.org or call ext. 33683.
There will be two new brand training presentations on May 25 and May 30.
- May 25: Understanding our brand will introduce attendees to the different components of a brand platform, our brand platform, and how to bring our brand to life in our marketing and communications.
- May 30: Working with our brand guidelines will introduces and explain the key components of the visual expression of our brand platform and how to use them.
Each session segment will include recent examples of design work to show the visual expression guidelines in application.