July 2013

Welcome to uWaterloo Connect IT! This blog will provide a collaborative environment for university community members to help shape the future of IT at Waterloo.

On vacation

I will be taking some holidays the first two weeks of August and will resume the blog when I return. Look for our next post on August 21st.

Out of the office this summer? Let your colleagues know!

The summer holiday season is well underway! The halls are a little quieter and your email inbox is getting a small break from the flurry of messages it’s used to receiving. If you’re planning on catching up on some much needed rest and relaxation this summer, don’t forget to set your out of office replies. Your colleagues, who’ll be streaming peaceful sounds of ocean waves on their work computer, will appreciate it!

Widget Wednesdays episode 1: Routes

In our last blog post, we framed the Student Portal as a digital assistant that helps users organize data that interests them. In this post we will review the interface that is currently under development and take a closer look at one of the many widgets that the portal is comprised of. Please note that the portal is under development and these designs are subject to change over future iterations.

Purpose of the IST reorganization

In November 2012, Information Systems & Technology (IST) launched an intensive process to review the overall organization of the department. Working with Human Resources (HR) and a consulting firm, this process included a review of the department structure and resources, services and systems, and service needs from the university IT and campus communities. An environmental scan of comparable institutions coupled with IT trends in higher education emphasized the need for a proactive approach.

Digital badges: tracking our ‘horizontal’ skills

Recently the Globe and Mail and EDUCAUSE Review published articles on the growing popularity and use of digital badges for tracking and sharing achievements in professional development.

Using technology to build brains and develop a ‘SixthSense’

The university recently posted a news story and Tweet about Dr. Chris Eliasmith’s impressive work in the area of Theoretical Neuroscience. His new book, How to Build a Brain, introduces Semantic Pointer Architecture (SPA), which provides a set of tools used for cognitive modelling. Using these tools Dr. Eliasmith and team have built the world's largest functional brain model, Spaun, which demonstrates the high-level neural activity of the brain as it completes several tasks (i.e. recognition and list memorization).

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