New partnership establishes a Canadian teaching city for engineering students

Optimizing traffic flow between the City of Oshawa, at right, and Toronto, lower left, is one challenge that Master of Engineering students in the Cities Engineering and Management program at U of T will study in the newly established ‘teaching city.’ (Image: Google Maps)


Medical doctors learn in immersive teaching hospitals — and now U of T Engineering students will have their own immersive learning opportunities within a real-life teaching city. Later this year, the City of Oshawa will become Canada’s first-ever living laboratory for urban research, allowing students to probe complex municipal issues and test practical solutions for the future.The University of Toronto’s Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering is teaming up with the Canadian Urban Institute, the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Durham College and the City of Oshawa to realize this first-of-its-kind partnership. As a ‘teaching municipality,’ Oshawa will connect engineering students with city staff, testing new technologies and methods on the ground and in real time.

“This is a new era for engineering education,” says Professor Brent Sleep, chair of the Department of Civil Engineering. “With this innovative partnership, through internships and research opportunities U of T Engineering students, including students in the Master of Engineering in Cities Engineering and Management (MEngCEM) program, will study and resolve real-life problems in today’s urban setting.”

A memorandum of understanding between the partners was signed June 5, 2017 at the Arts Resource Centre in downtown Oshawa. The coalition continues to invite participation from a variety of industry partners, which will expand the potential application areas for innovations studied in the city, including market-focused solutions for commercialization.

Moving beyond textbooks and laboratories, this dynamic urban lab will bring students and researchers closer to emerging trends. Potential areas for exploration could extend from current U of T studies in intelligent transportation systems, sustainable urban infrastructure including air pollution and health, drinking water systems and building sciences. The partnership will also seek to deepen evidence-based policy development and research-driven innovations from U of T MEngCEM students.

“Access to real-time urban data and systems will provide significant insights and transformative opportunities to assess problems and identify scalable and sustainable solutions for tomorrow,” says Sleep. “Learning outside lecture halls encourages students to interact with a multitude of stakeholders, learning to support and interact with policymakers, residents and their future colleagues.”

As urbanization intensifies the pressure on cities — from increased demand on utilities, to greater need for emergency services and schools, to urgent need for traffic and transit upgrades — a new generation of highly trained engineering talent will guide and manage new technologies, policies and practices to meet the needs of citizens across Canada and around the globe. The first student cohort will begin studying this experiential teaching municipality in 2018.

U of T Engineering welcomes four global Pearson scholars

Originally posted on U of T News  |  May 30th, 2017 by Engineering Strategic Communications

 Deborah Emilia Solomon, second from left, is one of 37 top students from around the world receiving the inaugural Lester B. Pearson International Scholarship, which covers tuition, books, incidental fees and residence costs for four years. She is joining Chemical Engineering in Fall 2017. (credit: Johnny Guatto).
Deborah Emilia Solomon, second from left, is one of 37 top students from around the world receiving the inaugural Lester B. Pearson International Scholarship, which covers tuition, books, incidental fees and residence costs for four years. She is joining Chemical Engineering in Fall 2017. (credit: Johnny Guatto)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deborah Emilia Solomon (Year 1 ChemE) came home one day to the good news that she had received one of the inaugural Pearson scholarships, a new prestigious and competitive U of T award for undergraduate international students.

“I was overjoyed. I just started crying,” she said. “I was going through so many emotions at that moment because I struggled so much wondering where I would go next.”

This fall, Solomon, a student from India, will join three other recipients of the Lester B. Pearson International Scholarships in first year at U of T Engineering. Named after Canada’s 14th prime minister, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and U of T graduate Lester Bowles Pearson, the scholarship recognizes exceptional academic achievement, creativity, leadership potential and community involvement. It covers tuition, books, incidental fees and residence costs for four years.

U of T President Meric Gertler, members of the Pearson family, Vice-President and Provost Cheryl Regehr and consular officials welcomed four of the Pearson scholars in a special announcement Tuesday, May 30, 2017 at the Lester B. Pearson Garden for Peace and Understanding at Victoria University in the University of Toronto, where Pearson once served as Chancellor.

“In the decade or so leading to the Centennial of Canada’s Confederation, Lester Pearson raised this country’s profile in the international community. Now, as we mark Canada’s sesquicentennial, the scholarships that bear his name will heighten this university’s global reputation as a force for good in every field of human endeavour,” President Gertler said.

“In an increasingly polarized world, in which many countries are turning inward, Canada has renewed its commitment to openness and multilateralism in service of the common good – and Canada’s leading university is committed to doing the same,’ he said. “The Lester B. Pearson International Scholarships will stand as a testament to that commitment.”

John Hannah, a U of T alumnus and grandson of Lester Pearson, said the new Pearson scholars would bring unique perspectives to campus. “I share my grandfather’s conviction that education is a powerful instrument for generating peace and understanding in the world,” he said.

See the full list of 2017 Pearson scholars

Meet the four Pearson scholars joining the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering:

Deborah Emilia Solomon.Deborah Emilia Solomon

Home country: India
Joining: Chemical Engineering

“‘When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favour,’ said Elon Musk and that, perhaps, has been a guiding factor of my life…By nature, I love to inquire and question the way things work, never compromising or settling for second best.”

 

Sheng Lee.Sheng Lee

Home country: Malaysia
Joining: Civil Engineering

“Having grown up in a tropical, multicultural, and colourful country – Malaysia – I have no wonder shaped a warm and outward-looking nature. And here I am, as a typical friendly Malaysian, eager to say hi to all of you!”

 

Chelsea John-Williams.Chelsea John-Williams

Home country: Trinidad and Tobago
Joining: General First Year

Chelsea is excited to immerse herself into university life and participate in the various programs and activities the university has to offer. She plans to leverage her degree to become an entrepreneur in her country.

 

Mubtaseem-Zaman.Mubtaseem Zaman

Home country: Bangladesh
Joining: Engineering Science

Mubtaseem loves contemplating complex physics questions, such as the existence of parallel universes, tinkering with robots, or appreciating poetry. He is a huge basketball fan and tries to bring joy to all he does and remain young at heart!

 

With files from Geoffrey Vendeville

Hart Teaching Innovation Professorships: Six innovative ways U of T Engineering enriches the student experience

Originally posted of U of T News  |  May 30th, 2017 by Tyler Irving and Kevin Soobrian

Meet U of T Engineering’s six inaugural Hart Teaching Innovation Professors

Six U of T Engineering faculty members have been named the inaugural Hart Teaching Innovation Professors. Enabled by a landmark $20 million bequest from the estate of alumnus Erwin Edward Hart (CivE 4T0), the professorships support innovation in engineering education, from technology enhanced active learning (TEAL) to Indigenous outreach.

“These professors are leaders in pedagogical practice and are driving our Faculty’s innovation in engineering education,” said Cristina Amon, Dean of the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering. “Their creativity and dedication enrich the student experience and inspire the global engineering leaders of tomorrow.”

The new professorships complement the Percy Edward Hart and Erwin Edward Hart Professorships for early-career researchers, announced last fall. They are part of a rich suite of initiatives focused on enhancing engineering education across the Faculty and within the profession more broadly, including a recent workshop on educational technology and state-of-the-art learning facilities housed within the forthcoming Centre for Engineering Innovation & Entrepreneurship. Next month, U of T Engineering will host the annual conference of the Canadian Engineering Education Association, which brings together thought leaders in the field from across Canada and beyond.

The six Hart Teaching Innovation Professors are:

bryan karney

Bryan Karney (Photo: Mark Balson)

Bryan Karney (CivE) — From mathematics to infrastructure

Karney serves as Associate Dean, Cross-Disciplinary Programs. In 2009 he received U of T’s Northrop Frye Award for Excellence in Combined Teaching and Research, and in 2008 was among the Top 10 finalists in Television Ontario’s (TVO) Best Lecturer Competition.

The new Hart Teaching Innovation Professorship will accelerate Karney’s work in four areas:

  • Ongoing research into how to motivate, teach and evaluate courses related to engineering mathematics
  • The development of a cross-disciplinary minor in Engineering Infrastructure — including roads, power systems, communication networks, water and food delivery systems — that are the basis of modern cities
  • The creation of a guide for instructors on the essential engineering attributes mandated by the Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board (CEAB)
  • The development of teaching strategies for technology enhanced active learning (TEAL) classrooms

micah stickel

Micah Stickel (Photo: Wayne McPhail)

 

Micah Stickel (First Year Office, ECE) — Active teaching

Stickel is the Chair, First Year Engineering and in 2014 was named one of the Top 20 under 40 by the American Society for Engineering Education. He is engaged in scholarly work to quantify the impact of new technologies in teaching, as well as active teaching modalities.

In contrast to a traditional lecture format, active teaching emphasizes collaborative work between students and faculty members, who act as facilitators. One example is the “flipped” or “inverted” classroom, where students are presented with new information ahead of class via online lectures or texts. Class time, instead, allows students to work together on problem sets or group projects related to the course material.

Research questions Stickel hopes to address include:

  • How can active teaching techniques be used most effectively to help first-year engineering students develop engineering problem-solving competencies?
  • What are the primary factors inhibiting engineering faculty members from using active teaching approaches, and how can a community of practice address these factors through training, mentorship and modelling?

His findings will lead to practical interventions that can enhance teaching practice not only within the Faculty, but within the broader profession. 

graeme norval

Graeme Norval (Photo: Mark Balson)

Graeme Norval (ChemE) — Professionalism education

Graeme Norval is an Associate Professor, Teaching Stream in the Department of Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry. He has undertaken significant work in redesigning first-year curriculum in his department, including the foundational course CHE113 Concepts in Chemical Engineering, and developed four safety training modules that educate students on the fundamentals of safety within their discipline. These are now being converted into e-learning modules.

Prior to joining the Faculty, Norval spent over a decade working in the chemical industry and developed a strong sense of the importance of professionalism — a graduate attribute of the Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board reflecting the social responsibility of the engineer. Norval takes a broad approach to the subject that goes beyond interpersonal relations to include compliance with industry standards, safety regulations and best practices.

The Hart Teaching Innovation Professorship will enable Norval to develop a suite of e-learning products to enhance student learning in Professionalism at the undergraduate and graduate levels in Engineering. These will be developed in partnership with the Public Sector Health & Safety Association and the Conference Board of Canada. Topics include:

  • Health and Safety
  • Accessibility (including the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, AODA)
  • Mental health
  • Sexual violence prevention

Stephen Brown

Stephen Brown

Stephen Brown (ECE) — Active-learning in dynamic environments

Stephen Brown is a Professor with The Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, and also serves as the Director of University Relations for Intel FPGAs. He has authored more than 100 scientific papers and co-authored three textbooks.

Brown is identifying opportunities to leverage modern technologies, such as networks and smartphones, to create active-learning environments for two new courses on machine learning and embedded systems. Examples of how these technologies can be applied include:

  • Active use of live feedback through networks and smartphones to allow students actively participate in lectures
  • Embedded hardware at the lecture podium, including the use of video projection, to allow students to observe computer hardware operations during lectures
  • Digitally combined lecture materials and live demos in a format that students can view from anywhere

Scott Ramsay

Scott Ramsay (Photo: Roberta Baker)

Scott Ramsay (MSE) — Advanced video for advanced education

Throughout his career at U of T, Scott Ramsay has been at the forefront of first-year teaching as an Associate Professor in the Department of Materials Science & Engineering. For his consistent innovation in pedagogy, Ramsay has received the Faculty’s Early Career Teaching Award and a Wighton Fellowship from the Sandford Fleming Foundation.

Ramsay will continue to enhance undergraduate engineering courses by employing video in innovative ways. Using high-resolution video, multiple camera angles, careful movements, high-quality audio and judicious editing in post-production, Ramsay will explore several research questions that include:

  • Does a preference exist amongst undergraduate students for multi-camera lecture recordings versus single-camera recordings?
  • Is student perception of subject matter improved by having access to multi-camera lecture recordings?
  • Does a particular subset of students benefit most strongly from access to multi-camera lecture recordings?
  • Does the use of high production value video in an online course improve student performance?
  • Does the use of high production value video in a not-for-credit online course (ex. MOOC) improve student retention and completion rates for students with the intention to complete the course?

Jason Bazylak

Jason Bazylak (Photo: Dani Couture)

Jason Bazylak (MIE) — Indigenous Engineering: Closing the Gap

Bazylak is an Associate Professor, Teaching Stream in the Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering and has long conducted action-based research into engineering education practices, including education technology and obstacles to diversity in the profession. He is also the Dean’s Advisor on Indigenous Initiatives and co-chair of the Eagles’ Longhouse: Engineering Indigenous Initiatives Steering Committee. The committee is designing the Faculty’s Blueprint for Action which will address the recommendations of Answering the Call: Wecheehetowin, the University of Toronto’s response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada.

Both the TRC and Engineers Canada have shone light on the under-representation of Indigenous people in engineering post-secondary education and by extension the profession. With his new Hart Teaching Innovation Professorship, Bazylak will be working to better understand the obstacles facing Indigenous students when it comes to enrolling in and graduating from the Faculty’s programs. He will take a participatory action research approach, working closely with a wide range of Indigenous Nations and Communities to survey and interview of both indigenous and non-indigenous secondary students. His ultimate goal is to design interventions to eliminate or reduce the barriers to accessing engineering education currently facing Indigenous students. He also plans to promote greater awareness of Indigenous culture in the FASE and the profession by integrating Indigenous content into the curriculum starting with Engineering Strategies and Practice, a first-year design course.

The 2017 U of T CECA/NECA Team Seeks to Best their 2016 Top Three Finalist Honours

The University of Toronto student chapter of the Canadian/National Electrical Contractors Association (CECA/NECA) is preparing to once again compete in the annual ELECTI International’s Green Energy Challenge where last year they were one of three finalists and the only Canadian university participating in the final round in Boston. This year they are hoping to walk away with top honours.

The team, with winning ambitions, have identified the Waterfront Neighbourhood Community Centre located at Bathurst Street and Queens Quay to benefit from their green energy retrofit proposal. Partnering with the non-profit organization, which offers seniors services, youth leadership development opportunities and other community programming, the U of T CECA/NECA student chapter is hoping to bolster the Centre’s mission to create a safe and supportive environment for people of all ages in a green way.

“We have completed an in-depth energy audit of the Centre, analyzing lights, plug loads and many other energy consumption items,” said Mackenzie de Carle (CIV 1T7 + PEY). “Beyond a physical analysis, we have also surveyed and interviewed the staff and participants to understand how the building is being used. We want to ensure our proposal is comprehensive and will delivery the best green results for everyone.”

Reaching outside the Centre’s walls, the students teamed up with the After 4 Program teaching school-age children about sustainable buildings through experiments and designing their own green buildings. On Earth Day, the team took part in the Centre’s event providing public education on electricity bills and grants, as well as energy conservation and reduction strategies.

This year’s 2017 Green Energy Challenge will take place in Seattle from October 7th to 10th. The U of T team members include: Mackenzie de Carle (CIV 1T7 + PEY), Samson Tran (CIV 1T8), Zhenglin Liu (Mech 1T9), Sneha Adihiari (CIV 1T8), Nataliya Pekar (CIV 1T7 + PEY), Patrick Minardi (CIV 1T7 + PEY), Gordon Wong (CIV 1T8), Jonathan Shing (Mech 1T7), Rashad Brugmann (CIV 1T9) , Greg Peniuk (Eng Sci 1T6 + PEY), and Andy Ming (CIV 1T9).

The team thanks the ongoing supervision from Professor Brenda McCabe and the support of their sponsors: CECA, Alltrade, Graybar, Greater Toronto Electrical Contractors Association, Black & McDonald, and City of Toronto.

U of T Engineering student team competes at Green Energy Challenge finals

The University of Toronto student chapter of the Canadian/National Electrical Contractors Association (CECA/NECA) is one of three finalists to compete at the 2016 Green Energy Challenge in Boston this weekend.

The students from U of T Engineering are the only Canadian team, and will compete against teams from Iowa State and the University of Washington. The final three were selected from 14 proposals.

“We selected UTS because it is an aging building that uses older lighting systems and could benefit greatly from an upgrade,” said Dmitri Naoumov (CivE 1T5+PEY), the team’s project manager. “The school is also planning a major renovation, so our proposal could help to inform the energy needs and improvements.”The U of T team partnered with University of Toronto Schools (UTS), a Grade 7 to 12 university preparatory school in downtown Toronto, to design an energy efficiency upgrade, including a small-scale photovoltaic system that would serve as a teaching and learning tool for students.

Competing alongside Naoumov are Matheos Tsiaras (CivE 1T5+PEY), Ernesto Diaz Lozano Patiño (CivE 1T5+PEY, MASc Candidate), Greg Peniuk (CivE Year 4 + PEY), Arthur Leung(ChemE Year 4), Claire Gao (ChemE Year 4 + PEY), Mackenzie De Carle (CivE Year 4) and Nataliya Pekar (CivE Year 4).

“The lighting in the rooms was below the recommended levels for classroom learning,” said Naoumov. “By increasing the light in classrooms, we are helping to create an environment more conducive for students and teachers.”Their design includes detailed technical solutions for classroom lighting retrofit, integrated window treatments and the design of a rooftop 4kW photovoltaic solar array, which all meet the unique needs of the building and the climate in Toronto. By upgrading the lighting system to use lower wattage bulbs, using occupancy sensors and installing light shelves that regulate daylight, the team determined that UTS could reduce its annual energy consumption by up to 125 MWh, or enough to light 10 typical homes.

UTS is eager to incorporate the students’ energy efficient and technologically savvy infrastructure into its daily operations. Because many Toronto public school buildings are showing their age, this could serve as a model for future upgrades across the city.

“UTS is an Eco School and we aim to reduce our environmental footprint and energy costs,” said Philip Marsh, vice-principal of UTS. “The team’s analysis and understanding of how to improve the efficiency of our building was impressive. We see the proposed roof solar array as a viable design option for the future.”

Competing for the first time at the Green Energy Challenge in 2015, the U of T team placed fourth with its lighting and back-up power retrofit proposal for the Good Sheppard Ministries shelter in downtown Toronto. Although the project did not win them a spot at the convention, Good Sheppard Ministries is currently implementing their design throughout its facility.

CECA/NECA brings together electrical contractors across the country to share experience and advice. Established in 2014, the U of T chapter extension is the first of its kind in Canada. Its goal is to bridge the gap between contracting and engineering and engage students with first-hand, applied experience. In addition to pitting their design savvy against groups at other North American universities, the group hosts networking and social events and connects students with scholarship and job opportunities.