Students display a Wiki way with words

It’s Wiki-time at York University, reported the Toronto Star Nov. 2. Building on the popularity of Internet giant Wikipedia, more and more York professors are unveiling their own Wikis to engage their students. “We are tapping into something many students are already familiar with,” says Gita Hashemi, who teaches in York’s Faculty of Arts. Now students in selected classes are submitting written content, including assignments, to the mini-Wikis, subject to input from classmates.

“Students are reading more and more in a hypertext mode – the major example being the Web,” says Mary-Louise Craven, a professor in the Communication Studies Program in York’s Division of Social Science, Faculty of Arts, who will be using the Wiki as part of her course on interactive media. It’s important for students to understand how digital documents differ from print-based tests, she says. “One important way to understand differences and similarities is to ask them to write in that mode — that’s why for me, Wikis may be the best software, given their relative ease of use, to support both reading and writing.”

“I don’t need to police them because they come in with the knowledge the process is open and public,” says Hashemi, who joined the Wiki bandwagon two years ago. “They take more care in terms of how they use their sources.” For some, they might not be comfortable with the idea that “they are not handing their work to me but they are handing their work to the entire class. It shifts how they think of themselves and their work in class. They come to think about knowledge production as a collaborative and public process. Once they get over it, they find the system interesting.”

Jimmy Peng, a professor in York’s Department of Design, Faculty of Fine Arts, hopes the Wiki used by his students will help them overcome the uncertainty of design research, given that the field is so young. “While the uncertainty is excellent for philosophical debates, it may boggle researchers’ minds, especially young ones, to search for research questions and position their research work.”

Festival finds its audience

It’s taken five years but York student Alex Rogalski has become an overnight success, reported The Leader-Post (Regina) Nov. 2. Rogalski organized the initial One Take Super 8 Event in Regina in 2000 and he’s heading into the sixth annual edition of the event on the heels of successes in Montreal, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Winnipeg. Rogalski has witnessed first-hand the growth of the Super 8 movement where filmmakers are limited to a single three-minute 20-second film without any editing involved.

“We’re beginning to see the One Take Super 8 Event as a brand of sorts, a distinct type of festival,” says Rogalski, a graduate student at York University in Toronto. “It’s obvious that it’s attracted the attention of other people and other places. That it started in Regina sort of attests to the creativity of the film community in Regina. I’m always eager to expand this project and getting local filmmakers to screen their work for local audiences. It took five years of plugging away before this year sort of exploded for us.”

Chasing their dreams

To what level of strenuous exercise can someone with Type 1 diabetes aspire?, asked the Toronto Star Nov. 2. Mike Riddell, a professor in York’s School of Kinesiology & Health Science, Faculty of Health, says although there are risks associated with some forms of exercise, they are modest. “People with Type 1 should be encouraged to be physically active because it increases strength and fitness levels,” says Riddell, 39, who has Type 1. “It also can lower insulin requirements, so if you’re more physically active, you tend to need less insulin. It also decreases your risk for cardiovascular disease, and people with diabetes are at elevated risk for cardiovascular disease, both Type 1 and 2.” Last year, Riddell competed on a team in a competition that included orienteering, running, cycling and canoeing. He says there is evidence regular exercise can increase longevity of people with Type 1 diabetes by about 10 years.

Petrou’s play for Lions earns national top-rookie award

York University’s Effie Petrou of Oakville, Ont., was presented with the Joyce Slipp award as the nation’s top rookie, one of several Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) award winners named in a Canadian Press report Nov. 1. Petrou, 18, led York to a silver-medal finish at the Ontario University Atheltics (OUA) championship, and was named to the OUA first all-star team and to the second CIS squad. The kinesiology & health sciences major won gold with the under-18 Ontario team at this summer’s national championship in BC. “Effie always brings a smile to York practices and games along with her great team work and speed,” said Lions head coach Deb Fullerton.