Monday, October 23, 2017

Qualtrics survey system now available for campus

A message from Information Systems & Technology (IST).

IST is pleased to announce the launch of Qualtrics, a powerful online enterprise-class survey system, to support the needs of our campus community with respect to secure, confidential surveys for all use-cases.

Features of this new service include:

  • Create questionnaires from scratch or using pre-made questionnaires;
  • Access to a vast library of question types and response options;
  • Ability to produce and edit detailed reports and export to multiple formats;
  • Data is stored and backed up in a Canadian data centre;
  • File upload add-on: additional feature allows respondents to upload files with their survey response(s).

This service is available for all staff, faculty and graduate students. For steps on creating an account or for more information about this service, please visit IST's Qualtrics website.

Video can help you not get mugged by one-armed bandits

Novice gamblers who watched a short video about how slot machines disguise losses as wins have a better chance of avoiding gambling problems, according to new research.

Slot machines present losses disguised as wins (LDWs) with celebratory music and flashing lights, even though players actually won less money than they bet. People can mistakenly believe that they are winning and continue paying to play.

Researchers at the University of Waterloo found that showing inexperienced gamblers a brief educational video before they play helps make them more aware and curb false perceptions about the number of times they won.

“One of the keys to gambling harm prevention is to curtail misperceptions before they become ingrained in the minds of gamblers,” said Michael Dixon, professor and research director in the Gambling Research Lab at Waterloo. “By exposing these outcomes for what they are, our study shows a way in which we can lead slots gamblers to have a more realistic view of their gambling experiences and possibly prevent problems down the road.”

Earlier research from the University’s Gambling Research Lab found that LDWs can also lead players to gamble for longer even when they are losing money — a symptom of gambling addiction.

As part of this study, one group of participants watched an educational video on slot machines and how they present LDWs, while a second group watched a different, unrelated video. All participants then played two games, one with few LDWs and one with many LDWs. They then had to estimate the number of times they won more than they wagered on each game.

“We found that the video was effective in correcting multiple misperceptions. Players not only remembered their actual number of wins more correctly, but they were also more capable of labelling losses disguised as wins during slot machine play,” said Candice Graydon, lead author and a PhD candidate in Waterloo’s Department of Psychology at the time of this study. “We’d like to assess whether shining the light on LDWs will make gamblers stop playing sooner.”

On the many LDW games, both groups got actual wins on approximately 10 per cent of spins. The group that did not watch the video drastically overestimated their wins – believing won on 23 per cent of spins. The group that watched the educational video, however, gave accurate win estimates. They recalled winning on only 12 per cent of spins. The study suggests that novice players who view the educational video will become more aware of LDWs, which could make them more attentive to other slot features such as the running total counter. Researchers would like to see the animation available to players both online and on casino floors.

The study, co-authored by Waterloo psychology professors Mike J. Dixon and Jonathan A. Fugelsang, in addition to Waterloo’s Kevin A. Harrigan, and Grant MacEwan University’s Michelle Jarick, was published in International Gambling Studies.

The team has plans to study the video’s effectiveness on problem gamblers as well.

Waterloo inventions on Dyson shortlist four years in a row

Shakir Lakhani, a second-year nanotechnology engineering student, and Keean Sarani, a third-year science undergraduate.

by Carol Truemner. This article was originally published on Waterloo Stories.

A patch that delivers allergy medication to children developed by Waterloo students is one of only two Canadian projects to be shortlisted for this year’s international James Dyson Awards competition. It’s the fourth year in a row a University of Waterloo project has reached the final round.

Avro Life Science, co-founded by Shakir Lakhani, a second-year nanotechnology engineering student, and Keean Sarani, a third-year science undergraduate and an incoming doctor of pharmacy student, has created an easy-to-use sticker that provides antihistamines to children through the skin and directly into the bloodstream The patent-pending technology controls the release rate of the drug.

“We're happy to represent the University and Canada on the international stage as some of our mentors have done in the past,” says Sarani. “It's also immensely gratifying to see that the team at the Dyson Foundation identifies with our mission of making drug delivery better and life easier for children everywhere.” 

Personally inspired

An Avro Life Science patch on a person's forearm.Lakhani and Sarani’s design inspiration comes from having personally struggled with seasonal and food allergies since they were young and wanting to make medicating children easier for both kids and adults.

Avro Life Science, now part of Velocity Science, won $25K in last December’s Velocity Fund Finals for the startup’s solution to provide an alternative form of allergy medication to children without the hassle of pills and syrups.

"It's crazy when I think back on how Avro started,” says Lakhani. “We set out to solve a problem while we were barely halfway through our first year at Waterloo and somehow we ended up where we are today.”

Lakhani says it’s been an exciting process to take the Avro patch from a simple concept to a functioning prototype.

 “We'll be continuing our R&D and raising the bar even higher in the future,” he adds. “The award really shows that age and years in school should never be a limiting factor and, more importantly, that hard work and dedication can turn a dream into reality.”

Continuing to lead the way

Since 2014, Waterloo student projects have figured prominently in the contest started by James Dyson, the British inventor of the bagless Dyson vacuum cleaner. Last year, Medella Health won first place in the national competition and was shortlisted for the international award.

In 2015, Voltera won first-place overall with its desktop sized circuit board printer that turns design files into prototype boards in minutes. In 2014, Suncayr was an international runner up with its colour changing marker that alerts a user when sunscreen is no longer providing protection. 

Open to university students and recent graduates, the James Dyson Award program encourages and rewards innovative products or concepts that do a better job of solving tangible problems.

This year’s shortlist of 20 announced September 27 was whittled down from more than 1000 entries representing 23 countries.  The other Canadian team still in the running is from McMaster University. The international winner will be announced on October 26.

Call for posters and other notes

As a part of the second annual Technology Innovation and Policy Forum on November 9 in Fed Hall, the Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy (WISE) and the Council for Clean & Reliable Energy (CCRE) are providing the opportunity for students to present their research to policy makers, technology innovators, leading researchers, government experts and entrepreneurs. If you know of a student or group of students whose research relates to any of the following topics, please share this opportunity with them:

  • Microgrid technologies for remote (off-grid) & networked operations
  • Sensors, devices & 'Big Data'
  • Information & Communication Technologies
  • Distributed energy resources & distribution networks
  • Regulation and policy issues

All interested students should contact Jessica Strickler at by November 3 to confirm their participation. Further instructions will be provided to the students after confirmation.

East End Café logo.The University's East Campus sees its first Food Services operation open up today on the first floor of East Campus 5. The East End Café opens at 8:00 a.m. and today will be giving away free samples of Planet Bean coffee until 12:00 p.m.

"We hope this café will become your new go-to for breakfast, snacks, lunch and hot beverages!" says a note from Food Services. The menu includes breakfast sandwiches, soup, Pizza Pizza, specialty hot beverages, Fresh Xpress salads and sandwiches, Village Bakery goods and more. The hours of this new location are 8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Monday to Friday.

The United Way thermometer showing $174K raised.

Link of the day

Mole Day

When and where

Project Management as a Career Option, Monday, October 23, 2:30 p.m., TC room 2218.

Public lecture, Rudrick Visiting Scholar in Philosophy Dr. Eva Kittay, “The Desire for Normalcy,”, Monday, October 23, 7:00 p.m., Federation Hall, Columbia Rooms A & B.  Refreshments and food will be served after the lecture.

Mental Health Wellness Day, Tuesday, October 24.

Employee - Helping students understand international careers – employees only, Tuesday, October 24, 9:30 a.m., TC 2218.

Tri-Agency Open Access policy workshop, Tuesday, October 24, 10:00 a.m., LIB 329.

Federation of Students Annual General Meeting, Tuesday, October 24, 12:00 p.m., Student Life Centre Great Hall.

Employee - Interviews: Preparing for Questions – employees only, Tuesday, October 24, 12:00 p.m., TC 2218.

Interviews: preparing for questions, Tuesday, October 24, 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m., TC 1208.

Exploring Your Personality Type (Myers—Briggs Type Indicator) Part II, Tuesday, October 24, 1:30 p.m., TC 1112.

President's Advisory Committee on Student Mental Health panel discussion, Tuesday, October 24, 3:00 p.m., Student Life Centre Great Hall.

WaterTalk: The importance of ecosystem-based ecotoxicology for advancing environmental policy, with special reference to Canadian Oil Sands development, presented by professor Diane Orihel, Tuesday, October 24, 3:00 p.m., EIT 1015.

Law School Applications (OLSAS) Q&A, Tuesday, October 24, 4:00 p.m., online.

Gairdner Lecture 2017 featuring Dr. Rino Rappuoli, “For pioneering the genomic approach, known as reverse vaccinology, used to develop a vaccine against meningococcus B which has saved many lives worldwide.", Tuesday, October 24, 4:30 p.m., B1 271.

Open Access Day, Wednesday, October 25.

Department of Music presents Noon Hour Concerts: Songs For My Mother, Wednesday, October 25, 12:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel Chapel.

Going Abroad 101: Everything you need to know about going abroad to study, volunteer, intern, teach, travel or work!, Wednesday, October 25, 1:30 p.m., TC 2218.

Vision Science Research Seminar Series featuring Dr. Vincent Billock, The Ohio State University, “Visual psychophysics and theoretical neuroscience,” Wednesday, October 25, 4:30 p.m., OPT 347.

Velocity Start: Setup Your Business Like A Pro, “Wednesday, October 25, 7:30 p.m., Velocity Start, SCH 2nd Floor.

Centre of Research Expertise for the Prevention of Musculoskeletal Disorders (CRE-MSD) presents "Demystifying ergonomics in the modern office," Thursday, October 26, 1:00 p.m., Sun Life Financial Auditorium (Room 1621), LHI.

WaterTalk: From the Exxon Valdez oil spill to the BP Deep Water Horizon oil spill: A story of economic damages from major environmental contamination events, presented by professor Kevin Boyle, Thursday, October 26, 2:30 p.m., QNC 0101/1103A.

FAUW and the Waterloo Way – 60 Years of Collegial Governance: The Faculty Association’s 60th Anniversary Celebration, Thursday, October 26, 3:30 p.m., NH 3407. 

Predatory publishing workshop, Thursday, October 26, 12:00 p.m., LIB 329.

Retirement celebration for Manfred Grisebach, Thursday, October 26, 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., Federation Hall. RSVP to Michelle Mank -

2017 Eby Lecture, “When Good Intentions are Not Enough: Confronting Ethical Challenges in Peacebuilding and Reconciliation,” Thursday, October 26, 7:30 p.m., Conrad Grebel University College Chapel.

University of Waterloo 2017 Gem and Mineral Show, Friday, October 27, 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., and Saturday, October 28, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., EIT 1st and 2ndfloor. 

Halloween Luncheon Buffet, Friday, October 27, 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., University Club.

Research Talks Series, "Global Assessment of Payments for Watershed Services" featuring Economics Professor Roy Brouwer, Friday, October 27, 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m., DC 1302. Please register. Seating is limited.

Warriors Volleyball Home Opener vs. Windsor, Friday October 27, 6:00 p.m., PAC Main Gym

CrySP Speaker Series on Privacy, “Rearranging power through law and code: Deciphering the Canadian encryption debate,” Lex Gill, The Citizen Lab, Friday, October 27,  2:30 p.m., DC 1304.

Knowledge Integration seminar featuring Patricia Melville, Senior Manager, Leadership Development, Bell, “Building Effective Mentoring Relationships”, Friday, October 27, 2:30 p.m., EV3-1408.

Science Open House, Saturday, October 28, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., STC.

Warriors Basketball Home Opener, Staff and Faculty Appreciation, Big Ticket and Donor Appreciation Day vs. Western, Saturday October 28, 12:00 p.m., PAC Main Gym.

Distinguished Lecture Series, “Data science: Is it real?” Jeff Ullman, Stanford University, Monday, October 30, 10:30 a.m., QNC 0101.

Board of Governors meeting, Tuesday, October 31, 1:30 p.m., NH 3407.