graphic with facts about yeastStudent Shannon Smith designed a poster highlighting the genetics, habitats, and health impacts of yeast, along with — in the section shown — its culinary uses.

Science students get creative with microbes

Undergraduates were encouraged to let their artistic-sides flow for a class project that turned microbiology knowledge into works of art.

Terri Lawrence, instructor of the second-year course “Introductory Microbiology,” asked students to create posters or infographics featuring micro-organisms in real-world situations.

“Asking them to create these infographics and getting them to use what they had learned in the course deepens their understanding of the information,” says Dr. Lawrence.

She says her teaching assistant, fourth-year student Lucas Vajko Siddall, thought up the project and directed the students into translating their knowledge. Vajko Siddall says he assigned all types of microbes — from fungi to prions — to the students and let them create what they wanted.

“It just had to be a real-world application, from the environment, to health care or even how people use microbes in cooking,” he says. “hey simply had to show how it applies to society.”

Undergraduate Shannon Smith took the course and created a poster about Saccharomyces Cerevisiae, or common yeast, and the art of fermentation and contributions to pharmaceuticals.

“It was a gratifying project this semester and a very welcome distraction from the COVID-19 world that we find ourselves immersed in daily,” says Smith.

“Combining scientific research into an infographic for the ultimate purpose of educating others about the microbial world in many ways enhanced my own understanding and provided a much-needed creative outlet.”

After the course was over, the infographics were donated to the Faculty of Science’s Science Meets Art (SMArt) group, which offers science students an opportunity to create science art and use that art for public education and science outreach.

“Donating their infographics made the students aware of SMArt and some of them are now planning on joining the group to keep making science art,” says Vajko Siddall. “This past year of the pandemic there has been little opportunity for clubs to attract and engage students, so this turned into another great opportunity.”

Biomedical sciences professor and SMArt faculty supervisor Dora Cavallo-Medved says it is not always easy to bring creativity into the classroom, especially with remote learning, but this class met the challenge and created something very useful.

“This is about connecting in class learning with the outside world — and using art as the medium to communicate science helps them focus and understand in a more creative way,” says Dr. Cavallo-Medved.

“We will use these infographics in SMArt’s science education outreach activities, showcase them on social media and use them in collaboration with after school science-art programs; they’ll be invaluable.”

Lawrence says the art project was a great success and she will use the activity again.

“I have truly enjoyed teaching online because it allowed me to get creative and it was invigorating for them, too, because it wasn’t just a multiple-choice test about abstract proteins,” she says. “This was unique and fun way to learn.”

—Sara Elliott
Vanessa ShieldsUWindsor alumna Vanessa Shields will launch “Thimbles,” her fourth collection of poetry, at an online event Thursday, April 29.

Grad to launch poetry volume

UWindsor alumna Vanessa Shields (BA 2002) will launch her fourth collection of poetry with a public online event Thursday, April 29.

Via Zoom videoconference, she will read from and discuss works from Thimbles, published by Windsor's own Palimpsest Press.

The evening is the first in a series of launch events that will see Shields virtually visit Halifax, Montreal, Detroit, and Philadelphia. Find details on her promotional tour webpage.

Thursday’s event begins at 7:30 p.m. and requires registering to receive a confirmation email with details to attend.

The book is available for pre-order from the publisher; email Shields at shieldsvanessa@gmail.com to request she sign a copy during the launch.

antique typewriterA session Friday, April 30, will provide information for students interested in taking classes in creative writing.

Session to provide information on creative writing

An information session Friday, April 30, for students interested in taking classes in creative writing is open to majors in any discipline.

Hosted by professors Louis Cabri and Nicole Markotić, the event will discuss the applications process for admission to creative writing courses starting with the six-credit, two-term intro “Creative Writing I,” including:

  • how to prepare a portfolio of your creative writing by the May 24 deadline;
  • what do instructors expect, and how are the weekly classes conducted;
  • how does one critique others during a workshop seminar, and what sorts of writing should be submitted;
  • what range of courses and degree options are offered.

Friday’s meeting will run on MS Teams beginning at 1 p.m. To receive the invitation to participate, email Dr. Cabri, the program chair, at lcabri@uwindsor.ca. He invites attendees to prepare questions and view readings by current students at the April 9 gala.

Linda RohrLinda Rohr will take up an appointment as dean of the Faculty of Human Kinetics effective July 1.

New dean to helm Faculty of Human Kinetics

Linda Rohr will take the reins as dean of human kinetics beginning July 1, provost Douglas Kneale announced Tuesday.

Dr. Rohr is currently dean of the School of Human Kinetics and Recreation at Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador, and serves on the boards of Sport Newfoundland and Labrador, the Memorial University Recreation Complex, and Senior Women Academic Administrators of Canada.

“I know that the HK family will extend a warm Windsor welcome to our newest Lancer,” Dr. Kneale in announcing the appointment.

YuJa logoThe Yuja enterprise video system coming to campus April 29 will enhance use of the technology across the University.

System to ease instructional use of video

An enterprise video system coming to campus April 29 will enhance use of the technology across the University, says Lorie Stolarchuk, a learning specialist in the Office of Open Learning.

"Yuja is a powerful set of online tools to complement and enhance the campus’ ability to store, stream, create, edit, and embed videos in Blackboard courses and on websites,” she says. “Yuja is a part of the next Blackboard upgrade.”

With Yuja’s automated captioning feature, instructors can easily convert downloaded Blackboard Collaborate Ultra recordings into accessible versions and delete the non-captioned recordings to reduce storage in Blackboard.

Stolarchuk explains that Yuja allows users to make videos into interactive quizzes for more engaging learning.

“The students’ quiz results for low stakes assessments can be directly connected to Blackboard’s Grade Centre,” she says. “Students can also search for keywords inside videos to save time and focus their studying efforts or take notes at key points during the video that they can download later.”

Faculty, students, and staff who participated in the pilot project during the winter 2021 semester explored Yuja’s features.

“The English Language Improvement Program continues to focus on strategies to enhance online English academic learning, engagement, and interactivity,” says Anouchka Plumb, manager of language programs at the Centre for English Language Development. “Specifically, we are exploring how we can best utilize Yuja within and outside of Blackboard Learn.”

Hussein Merza, a third-year electrical and computer engineering major and a co-op student with the Centre for Teaching and Learning, notes,:“The ability to share all media — documents, videos, audio files — by providing a direct link is very useful when sharing content. You don't need to download anything or email any files. Instructors can also easily attach Yuja media within Blackboard’s content areas or anywhere else.”

Registration is now open for “Introduction to Yuja” workshops for instructors and assistants at https://ctl2.uwindsor.ca/openlearning/workshops/.

For more information, visit the OOL’s Yuja support webpage, contact the Office of Open Learning by email at ooltech@uwindsor.ca, and watch an introductory video:

Upgrade to disable Blackboard Thursday morning

An upgrade to Blackboard Learn will take the learning management system offline Thursday, April 29, from 6 a.m. to approximately noon.

Features in this upgrade include:

  • A refreshed text editor, with new features such as an accessibility checker, improved copy-and-paste performance from platforms such as Word, and automatic embedding of videos from platforms such as YouTube. The Centre for Teaching and Learning has published a Tech Talk video outlining the changes.
  • A plug-in for accessing YuJa, the University of Windsor’s enterprise video platform, will be enabled in Blackboard as part of the upgrade, which will allow users to upload videos to YuJa directly from Blackboard.
  • McGrawHill Connect, which allows instructors to link to assignments and transfer marks from the McGrawHill platform, will also be enabled as part of the upgrade.

More information about the new features coming as part of the upgrade can be found on the New Features page.

For updates on the planned maintenance or Blackboard outages, visit ITS HotNews or the announcements feature on the Blackboard login page for further details.

Canadian flag at half-staffCampus flags will be lowered today in observance of the International Day of Mourning for Workers Killed or Injured on the Job.

Observance to commemorate killed and injured workers

The University of Windsor will commemorate workers who have died or have been injured because of their work, lowering campus flags in observance of the International Day of Mourning for Workers Killed or Injured on the Job — April 28.

UWindsor employees are invited to observe a minute of silent reflection Wednesday at 11 a.m.