Waterloo to host Times Higher Education Digital Health 2025
By Jordan Flemming.
The University of Waterloo will take up the banner as host of next year's Times Higher Education Digital Health Summit. The announcement was made at the THE Digital Health 2024 summit held in Stanford, California this week. The event, slated for April 10 to 11, 2025, will mark an important occasion in the University's continued commitment to pushing the boundaries of health care delivery through technological innovation.
President and Vice-Chancellor Vivek Goel underscored Waterloo's commitment to sustainable and responsible innovation in a video message. "Our work goes well beyond 'what' we build. As a community of innovators, we continue to hold ourselves accountable to 'how' we build — always considering the social, economic and sustainability impacts of our work," Goel said. "Digital health innovations often fail because they don’t meet the needs of patients and frontline health providers. At Waterloo, we are well-positioned to help shape technology to meet society’s needs."
Waterloo has long been recognized as a powerhouse in technology and innovation since its inception in 1957. Our researchers and entrepreneurs are leading health innovation in Canada. From fighting cancer with code to transforming operating rooms with novel technologies, Waterloo is at the forefront of tackling global challenges with unconventional spirit and determination.
Nenone Donaldson, vice-president of Advancement, made the announcement in person at the close of this year’s summit.
"Here, in the Valley, many will be familiar with the University of Waterloo," Donaldson remarked, emphasizing Waterloo’s deep connections with California through its expansive alumni network. "We have a large, vibrant and highly connected Waterloo alumni community in California — many of whom are leaders in technology, driving innovations across sectors and industries."
As the host of the Digital Health 2025 summit, Waterloo will bring together diverse perspectives and interdisciplinary expertise to drive meaningful change in health tech.
"Technology continues to help optimize, improve and reinvent how health care is delivered," Donaldson said, setting the stage for the Digital Health 2025 summit.
Digital Health aims to spark conversations, cultivate valuable connections and generate inventive ideas that will shape the future of health tech. The summit highlights case studies of successful collaboration between big tech, life science, non-governmental organizations and academia in the research and development of health tech solutions to improve global health outcomes.
"The conversations, connections and ideas generated at this inaugural Digital Health summit serve as a positive reminder that we are a community of changemakers ready to come together to improve the lives of all," Donaldson said.
Hosting the Digital Health 2025 summit is significant for Waterloo and the advancement in the fields of health and technology. It's a step forward that promises to bring new ideas and interdisciplinary collaboration that could fundamentally change how digital health works in Canada and globally.
"On behalf of the University of Waterloo, I look forward to welcoming you all at the 2025 THE Digital Health summit. Let’s connect, inspire and innovate digital health together," Goel concluded.
IST publishes learning management system final report, introduces improvement project
Information Systems & Technology (IST) has published an update on the Learning Management System (LMS) project and a new LEARN Improvements initiative.
LMS Review project update
The Learning Management System (LMS) Review project Final Report, which consists of data and additional information collected throughout the project and helped inform the recommendation to continue with LEARN (D2L’s Brightspace), is available for review (authentication is required). Information about the project is available on the Learning Management System (LMS) project page.
Introducing the LEARN Improvements project
Findings indicated that while there are concerns or issues with LEARN, the majority of faculty, students, and staff would prefer time and effort be spent on improvements to the current LEARN environment versus implementing a brand-new platform. To support this work, a LEARN Improvements project has been initiated. A list of the in-progress or planned improvement efforts, categorized by common theme or area of focus, is available on the project web page. You are encouraged to visit the page to stay up to date with this work as the project list will continue to be updated as other actions to improve faculty, student, and staff experiences with LEARN are identified.
Piloting new functionality: Creator+, Performance+
"Two projects we are excited to announce, in partnership with the Teaching Innovation Incubator (TII), are the integration of D2L’s Creator+ and Performance+ tools," says the announcement from IST. "Creator+ is a content authoring package that provides opportunities for clients to create highly engaging, interactive, accessible digital content from within their course, with no training required. Performance+ provides access to course and learner data, helping to clarify what happened, why, and even how to predict learner performance." More information about these projects, including how to participate in the pilots, is available on the Teaching Innovation Incubator website.
Comments or questions about the LMS Review Final Report or LEARN Improvements project can be submitted to Pam Fluttert, Director, Instructional Technologies and Media Services (ITMS), Information Systems & Technology (IST).
And the Oscar goes to...
By Val Maloney. This is an excerpt of an article originally featured on Waterloo News.
Most people don’t leave the cinema commenting on the picture’s colour contrast, saturation and brightness levels. Yet, the look of the movie can influence our enjoyment of it, and how well it does on the cinema circuit.
University of Waterloo alumnus Mike Perkins (BASc, '90), a principal product developer at local audio-visual solutions company Christie, led the development of a digital projector that takes movie-watching to a whole new level — illuminating the theatre screen with darker darks, brighter brights and colours not seen before in the cinema.
Built in collaboration with Dolby Laboratories, the Christie E3LH projection system presents audiences with imagery enhanced by high dynamic range (HDR) and a wide colour gamut (WCG). Perkins recently won an Academy Award in Scientific and Engineering for leading the team creating this innovative work.
"It’s been more than a little overwhelming,” Perkins says. “The Academy Awards is one of the best-known and highest respected awards in the world. They are given by a panel of experts who are truly passionate about cinema. To earn their respect is humbling. What I wasn’t prepared for is the incredible number of people who have heard about this and are genuinely proud for both Christie and me to be recognized. I am very grateful to everyone who has reached out to say congratulations.”
A former Prime Minister remembered, Computer Museum Hardware Day and other notes
Flags will be lowered at government buildings across the country to mark the passing of Brian Mulroney, Canada's 18th Prime Minister, who died yesterday in Palm Beach, Florida a few weeks shy of his 85th birthday. Mulroney and the Progressive Conservative party won back-to-back majority governments in 1984 and 1988. Like many long-serving Prime Ministers, he leaves behind a complicated legacy, and is remembered for things he did (the GST, NAFTA, cleaning up acid rain and fighting Apartheid in South Africa), things he didn't do (the Meech Lake and Charlottetown Accords), and things he maybe did but got away with (the Airbus Affair). Mulroney and his wife Mila visited the University of Waterloo campus—via helicopter, no less—on March 4, 1987, and during their short tour they met with then-president Douglas Wright, visited the Waterloo Centre for the New Oxford English Dictionary, and the Prime Minister delivered a speech in the Engineering Lecture Hall. Legend has it that an unidentified student might have lobbed a snowball Mulroney's way during his visit, but that's politics for you.
The University of Waterloo Computer Museum is hosting a hands-on hardware day event featuring a variety of vintage computers and associated artifacts on Tuesday, March 5 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the DC 1301 fishbowl. At 2:00 p.m., Information Technology Specialist Devon Merner will give a talk about how the PowerMac G5 was used to develop Microsoft’s Xbox 360 game console.
The Computer Museum has some notable bits and pieces of vintage computing hardware, proving that old computer equipment doesn’t become obsolete – it becomes collectible.
In other news:
Talk about your signs and wonders: The Department of Anthropology invites members of the University community to join them for the 2024 Silver Medal Award Guest Lecture on March 6. The guest speaker is Professor Edward Swenson, Director of Archeology from the University of Toronto, whose remarks are entitled “The Semiotics of Religious Landscapes: An Archaeological Perspective.”
“Anthropologists have long recognized that symbolically charged places of a religious nature exhibit a remarkable “semiotic density,”” says the talk’s abstract. “However, the interpretation of the semiotic affordances of ritual contexts in the archaeological record remains under-theorized. Based on research conducted in South America and Southeast Asia, I compare the semiosphere of the Moche temple of Huaca Colorada, Peru (650-900 CE) with that of the royally endowed āśramas (monasteries) founded by King Yaśovarman I (889-910 CE) in ancient Angkor. The comparison demonstrates how an analysis of the sign properties of ceremonial architecture and related “structured depositions” can permit interpretation of the underlying meanings and intended function of past ritual practices. My approach relies on a semiotic investigation of the material manifestations of repetition, substitution, intimate parallelism, and accumulation characterizing specific building traditions and other archaeological remains, including burials and offerings. Ultimately, I analyze the Andean and Angkorian religious constructions as exceptional spaces of semiosis, powerful machines in the spirit of Deleuze and Guattari that assembled distinct political worlds.”
The event takes place on Wednesday, March 6 and begins at 5:00 p.m. in HH1104. A reception will follow in the PAS lounge starting at 6:30 p.m.