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Engineering Society Forum Transcript project

2002/09/12 -- view the transcript

This is a project to transcribe the recording of the public forum generously hosted by EngSoc and streamed live by the Feds. Please help me release the whole transcript by transcribing a 5-minute portion. Or two :-) The mp3 file is available on

I will coordinate the transcription effort and post the up-to-date transcription on this page as they become available. I will release the results under the GNU GPL.


2002/09/15 - 11:00 pm - transcript now complete from 00000 to 04000. I'm using CSS classes to identify the different features, like talking, audience, recording, etc.

2002/09/15 - 4:00 pm - from Ka-Ping Yee: "I would like to participate in your transcription project but (a) i will be extremely busy until September 23 [...]"

2002/09/13 - evening - added 02000 and 02500 from Cameron to the script. Started to mark up the transcript with CSS classes.

2002/09/13 - 3:45 pm - from Cameron Morland: I will transcribe 0:20:00 and 0:25:00 this afternoon.

2002/09/13 - 1:00 am - 0:00:00 and 0:05:00 completed by Steve Forrest.

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Open Source Forum Transcript

What follows is an open-source transcript of the Engineering Society Open Forum of 2002/09/12. The forum was held in order to query adminstration and faculty of the university on the terms of the agreement between UW and Microsoft regarding funding for projects including use of C# computer language in E&CE 150 and the pre-course 050. Estimates state that about 150-175 people were present. The forum was held in RCH lecture hall.

License: You may redistribute and modify under the terms of GNU GPL.

Errors and omissions: This is a volunteer effort, so it's probably perfect ;-). Seriously, if you spot one, please notify Of course, you can always post your own, corrected version as well ;-)

Please help: This transcript is a group effort. If you believe it is useful, please contribute by sending a transcript of a 5-minute section (or two ;-) to

Index (with status)

Time Status
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0:30:00 to 00:34:59 Done
0:35:00 to 00:39:59 Done
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1:15:00 to 1:19:59 needed
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1:45:00 to 1:49:59 needed
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Text by 5-minute intervals



Good afternoon. Welcome to the Microsoft-UW Partnership Open Forum, hosted by the University of Waterloo Engineering Society.

My name is Alex Matan, I'm the Speaker for the Engineering Society Council, which is the democratic representative body of engineering students currently on campus at Waterloo.

Panelists here we have today include:

President David Johnston of the University; Provost and VP Academic Amit Chakma;

(If everyone could wave)


Dean of Engineering, Sujeet Chaudhuri; Chair of the Electrical & Computer Engineering Department, Tony Vannelli; Chair of the School of Computer Science, Frank Tompa; and the Director of the Institute for Computer Research, Vic DiCiccio.

We'll just get some "first off" little things out of the way.

This program ... well, this event is being streamed onto mp3 and it will be available on the Feds website. So if you're looking to make yourself remembered for something good instead of something bad, make sure you're aware of that. And I'd remind you to turn off your cellphones. It's kind of irritating, and also this place is a dead zone anyways: it'll drain your battery in about an hour.

The format of the panel: well, basically we're going to run a panel presentation. We'll let the panelists here give an up-to 10 minute speech to present their positions and motivations regarding any subtopic they believe is related to external funding agreements in general, and this one, with potential curriculum change components. This may range from university practices; curriculum change processes and procedures; and their relation to the current situation; to budgetary and enrolment strains as they relate to tuition fees, etc. Panelists may, of course, relinquish their time, granting it to the rest of the forum.

Two: present E&CE faculty members may then present their position on the main issue specifically at hand, in order to provide lower-level context on what is happening, and will be happening on the E&CE 150 and E&CE 050 committee level. Concerns and opinions may also be presented.

Three: panelists may have 1 minute each after all presentations, to clarify their initial presentations in light of other presentations.

So, without further ado, we will get going. We'll just start with ... anybody want to go first?




Why don't I go first, Alex. David Johnston.

First of all, let me express thanks to you and to the Engineering Student Society for hosting this forum. I welcome very much student interest in curriculum matters and I thank those of you who have turned out. It's a very healthy and good thing to do and to have, and I'm awfully pleased that we have this tradition here at Waterloo.

Why don't I just take a few moments to give a bit of context about the discussions with Microsoft Canada and the Academic Alliance, and then focus in particular on the curriculum-related matters, which I think is the area of greatest controversy.

We learned, I guess about a year ago and more, that Microsoft Canada was interested in creating an Academic Alliance, in which they would provide Microsoft Canada money to support research and development, and educational initiatives that would improve and enhance ICT in Canada and in Canadian universities. We have encouraged them to do that. We were pleased when they indicated that 10 million dollars would be made available over 5 years from Microsoft Canada's budget for these initiatives. We were also pleased when they allowed us to be the first university in Canada to apply for support under that program.

Our discussions began in earnest I think in January of this year led by 2 or 3 of our colleagues looking at a variety of proposals. They went through numbers of iterations and considerations and consultations and so on, until by early August, we'd come to the conclusion -- at least I'd come to the conclusion -- that we had agreement in principle on three major projects amounting to 2.3 million dollars over five years. One of which had to do with research on developing the recognition of mathematical language and mathematical characters for the Tablet PC, so that that language would be reproduced in an appropriate form on the Tablet. The second initiative has to do with wireless remote connection to E&CE laboratories to do electronic circuitry from a distance, with some fairly sophisticated technology necessary for that.

And the third, and the area that has led to controversy, was proposed revisions to the Introduction to Electrical and Computer Engineering 150 course, and a new outreach for advanced enrichment to high school students for parts of computer programming so that those students could have an exposure to university-level work.


The discussions involved the use of C#, a Microsoft language, in that course and in that high-school initiative. My understanding was that those discussions had reached agreement in principle. So on August 14th we announced agreement in principle with Microsoft on all three of the initiatives.

In retrospect, it was a mistake to announce agreement in principle with respect to the curriculum initiatives, a mistake for which I take the responsibility. It's clear after the fact, and probably should have been clear before the fact, that this did involve curriculum initiatives and probably curriculum change. In use of language, I as a professor of law am used to using one treatise or another to teach a particular course. I think that when one gets into the question of what language is used with respect to a particular course, one gets into a greater degree of controversy.

In retrospect, we should not, I should not, have announced that agreement in principle at that stage, because the necessary consultation with curriculum committees and the department and faculty had not been had, should have been had, and will now be had.

The other two parts of the agreement I think are relatively non-controversial, and we'll proceed with the detailed planning.

The Electrical and Computer 150 course will have its revisions in place (if they are in place) for September 2003. The high school outreach initiative is intended for presentation in March 2003. What we will have to do over the course of the next weeks is ensure that the necessary consultation for any curriculum change occurs, and that those committees and ultimately the Senate (that oversees them) are satisfied that the principles that we always must observe when external funding is used for anything are observed in this case.

Those principles (and I suspect Dean Chaudhuri will recite them to you) are that: instructors take the initiative with respect to courses; in so doing they should be keen to use the latest technology where it's available; they should not be unduly influenced by external funding or gifts in kind; if they do use external tools, that they should be sure in the case of a language that the students are exposed to other languages so they realize there's a diversity, and can make appropriate choices of what particular language is most useful in any particular endeavour.

I think that's all I can say by way of introductory comment. I regret very much that we're in this controversy, particularly because University of Waterloo has had a great history of partnerships with external bodies. Be they private sector employers or R&D performers or governments and public institutions. We have more than 10,000 students today with us who are dependent upon 3,000 employers (many of them private sector) to provide an important part of their educational experience. We work very hard to be sure that's fruitful and helpful. We are engaged daily in R&D arrangements with private sector concerns. And we'll continue to welcome those.

But one must always be conscious that the academic freedom and choice is preserved in a university and be careful about those matters.

In the case of these curriculum initiatives this was a case where I had not assured myself that all of the necessary consultations had been had, and I regret that very much. Now we must get on and repair that and be sure that those consultations are had, and we're satisfied that the curriculum initiatives (if they do take place) are appropriate ones.

Why don't I turn the microphone over to Dean Chaudhuri.



Thank you, David.

First of all, I wanted to thank Engineering Society's Jeff Henry, to take initiative and bring us all together.

Along the hallways I've seen posters saying "Are you tired of hearing second-hand information about this Microsoft partnership? Come and hear directly from the Dean and the President and the Chairs and others involved in it." Just for my own curiosity, I wanted to know by show of hand how many here in the audience are engineering students?

[According to Matt Goyer approximately 40% of the audience were engineers]

Very good. I'm pleased to see your presence. It's very important, and I'm very pleased that you take so much interest in what's happening in curricula.

So first of all, around the first week in September I put out a statement of facts -- as I found out -- and I live by those statements of fact. A very important statement there, at the end, was that our curriculum, and our integrity, and our curriculum controls were never comprised, and they will never be compromised, in the future.

I also wanted to express my appreciation to the President, for setting a clear context of what happened on August 14th: mainly that it was a premature, incomplete press release with incomplete information.


During the holidays time as you know if you are from Engineering those are the two weeks that are the quietest weeks here. We are fully co-op, everyone's busy all the time. Those are the two weeks when people have the opportunity to get away. I had a lot of difficulty getting all the people, getting everybody to find out what exactly is the status.

I did not want to speak and make statements without satisfying myself where we are. That's why it was about two weeks, three weeks, before I could make a clear and unambiguous statement. The facts of the matter, as the president pointed out: the curriculum process had just started. There was no proper approval, or recommendation going forward through the proper channels.

I've been here for 25 years. I've been involved with first-year teaching myself directly. I've been involved with many, many Electrical & Computer Engineering curriculum changes, and many recommendations and improvements over all these years. I've been involved in changes of Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering ongoing since 1981.

I want to assure you that our process, because we are professional programs -- that's fully accredited programs -- the curriculum control process is so tight, and so diligent, that this magnitude of change could not have taken place without proper procedure, that we follow. Just to tell you the procedure we have. We have department-based curriculum committees. The department of Electrical and Computer Engineering has a committee the department program committee. It receives input from the instructors as they see fit. The courses need changes, the courses need modifications.

We are driven by the fact that we have to stay at the cutting edge. Why? Because engineering is fully co-op. You have to go out within four months and be able to compete for good-quality co-op jobs. So first year, Year One Engineering is a very special year for us, as all of you in Engineering know. It's fully controlled by Year One Engineering. There's a director, there's an associate director, there's a Year One Council. Every month there's consultation between the students, and the instructors, and the director and associate director for what's happening in the courses. The Co-op department is involved in it, because they are a very important component in finding those jobs we need. As all of you know, getting that first job is so important, yet that's very difficult to get.

So there's a whole additional component associated with courses that are 150. Course 050 is for outreach and bringing high school student some opportunity to prepare themselves. There we will have our admissions office getting involved. There would have been a lot of engagement with them, and they're the ones delivering. They will decide what's best for the incoming high school students.

Anyway, when the department programming committee progresses through, it comes to the Faculty level. At the faculty level we have two overseeing committees. One is the academic policy committee, it meets every month. It consists of all the Chairs, Dean and three Associate Deans. Any major issues have to be approved there. It's a standing subcommittee of Engineering Faculty Council, which is an extension of the University Senate. So it has all the power all the authority. In parallel there is a faculty undergraduate studies Committee, which much approve any calendar changes, any major changes that place in our curriculum. That council has a student representation.

(I believe Dave Clegg. Is Dave here? Dave are you on the committee right now?


OK, Leanne is. Leanne is the EngSoc president of Society B right? A, and Dave is B.)

So when it comes to the faculty level, this will be seen by the student representative, and they have input in it.

The last thing I wanted to say is that the way it's sitting right now, in the last week and a half, while we have a memorandum of understanding, with Microsoft, where Microsoft has taken this C# consideration apart from the other research consideration.


It is a system where they have said that "you have one year, to go through your committees, see the value of C# in your curriculum, as you do any other things, and whatever the committees' activities are, and whatever the recommendation/approval comes through -- and because this has become a very sensitive issue, even if it's a minor change, it will go all the way to Senate, where there's again student representation -- and based on that, we will go back to Microsoft, and Microsoft then has the option of saying "Yeah this is good and we want to help you, or we don't want to participate in this". At that point I have directed E&CE department that if C# is really good for us, is really good for our students, gives them an edge, it's an emerging language, allows us to compete for good quality co-op jobs, then, Microsoft in or out, we will continue to pursue the activities.

So that's kind of a summary of where we sit right now.

I'll hand over to David.


Tony do you want to make any comments about the department?




In dealing with this initiative, the students' needs, first and foremost, always have to be met, when as a department chair I look at how I deliver a curriculum. In making decisions and looking for sponsorship, it is very important for universities to take the lead in deciding what we want to see and



in an effective way



can't deliver the appropriate teaching resources to students and TAs because of shortages. So we're looking at creative solutions where we look at maybe putting the labs online. This is one of the issues of course that we're dealing with in this initiative, and that we found an opportunity to find resources to actually allow us to take existing resources and use them more carefully in these very tough times. So, I'm managing the curriculum I think in an effective way, with the department's needs and students' needs being met.

In terms of the outreach course, this was really an idea that is emerging, where we want to make sure that the computer programming languages, that students have, and concepts, are strong when they come into the university. As such



course as it's been described, to enhance that ability. So that again, is something that we want to initiate and provide leadership, and guidance, to setting up this kind of program that is an outreach to important students, that we ultimately want to get in here, and sit where you're sitting.

In terms of the course itself, E&CE 150, as Dean Chaudhuri has clearly indicated, proper procedures are being followed, but they were not complete at the time of the announcement. That is correct.

Later on as I noticed instructors that are involved in this course can speak. After I finish, that can be added before we enter into the discussion.

C# -- any language -- C++ -- Java. We have to use these languages as Dean Chaudhuri has indicated, to make sure that students have the academic tools to do upper year courses and the rest of their curriculum, and it's also important because this is a co-op university, that we empower students to have as many languages as they can, or dialects, so that they can get the co-op jobs that are very hard to get, in this day and age, especially in information technology. So it's a balancing act. But ultimately as Dean Chaudhuri said the integrity of the curriculum must be protected, and we have to follow proper procedures and determine that we want to do this, as academics, and as the students that we want to educate. And that is the responsibility we have, that we're trying to maintain in all of this. so with that that's really all I really wanted to say.



Thanks Alex. I think that probably is the preliminary comments from the panel. Over to you.


Uh. I was kind of expecting that everyone would want to talk. Uh, now there is an opportunity for any of the panelists to have up to a minute to clarify or add to anything they would have said before in light of what else was said. Or we could go to the instructors [laughter], quickly, given that they decided not to talk.


Yeah, get miked.


[some trouble with microphone]



I've been teaching the course about 10 years, usually in a smaller room without a microphone. We've used four languages, probably about 80% of the offerings more than one language, and always trying to strike a balance between what languages support what we consider to be the best programming practices in the most convenient way, what support environment we have, and what the needs are in the co-op community.

I've been looking at many of these issues for a long time. the pre-course to 150 has been in discussion since 1997; the issue of wanting a language beyond C++ has been in discussion since 1999; the investigation of C# and probably more importantly the .NET framework, has been in discussion since last fall, because there wasn't a really good version of C# out before then. so me being one of the instigators of this change, I'm one of the people that actually went to the meeting with Microsoft, knowing nothing about the academic alliance and saying "Gee, I would like to use C# in 150; can you give us something?" and they said "Yeah, OK".

And we believe it would be a huge improvement in the computing support environment, particularly to get visual studio .NET up and running. I believe personally it would be a big improvement at UW to have a base of .NET expertise, because it's my professional opinion that this is a huge step for Microsoft and the windows programming environment.

I don't know if I have any... I probably had a few other things I wanted to say, but....

Oh sorry, I have another hat too, I'm now the Associate Chair, Undergrad Studies of E&CE, so it's now unfortunately my task to make sure all the curriculum changes do go through the proper channels.


Just to reassure you that we are going through that process: it's gone through the department programme committee already, there's two task forces in place: one on the 050 issue, one on the 150 curriculum particulars. So far it looks like there's no impact on the calendar description of the course anyways. So I'm not quite sure what would be approved outside the department, although we would certainly pass on for information to all the other layers. There's some impact on Year One and Engineering Computing.

So I think that's all I want to say.



I'd like to thank the panelists.

I'm actually on one of those lines of approval, I'm on the Senate Undergrad Council, so I'll see it when it gets there.

So now we're going to go to the discussion period. I'm just going to read off the rules of engagement, of which there are several here, just to ensure things are cool. And I reserve the right to make up rules as I see fit. Hiss at people, and things like that. Basically audience members with questions must pose them from the podium at the back of the room. Line up at the right or left and we'll just feed in. I'll just go "you, you, you, you."

Questions may be "coloured" with appropriate levels of context, but may last no longer than 30 to 45 seconds in duration. Questions directed to an individual panel member are to be answered specifically by that panel member. That panel member may yield the question to a different panel member, if the specific topic lends itself better to that different member's expertise. Answers should generally be limited to 2 minutes, inclusive of all panelists who speak on it. Exceptions of course, are readily granted, if the question is significant and extensive enough to warrant it. And formally the responding panelist for the extension can ask the moderator and he will provide instant approval/disapproval. that's where I go...


All right. I would imagine there would not be an issue here. (I'm just reading this off, I didn't make this up). The questioner can ask a single follow-up question. If the questioner believes either the first or second was misunderstood by the panelist, they are permitted to rephrase or directly repose the question. Comments and concerns may also be stated under the same time restrictions both in question and response. Questions should not be posed directly to faculty who presented in the initial section.


Professor Vannelli should be able to handle all relevant questions to the discussion at hand. Faculty members may of course pose their own questions and comments to the panelists. Therefore, if they feel there is value to be added to professor Vannelli's responses, they may (that's you guys over there.)

Questions and comment must be directly related to the Microsoft deal, policies and procedures related to curriculum change, or procuring external funding, or any broader themes that the panelists raise in their presentations.

And a little star here, does Jeff want to go first? Yes he does. All right, with that, we open things up.

Jeff Henry, VP external.



I thought we might as well get started so I can just initiate this while people figure out what they're going to ask. So I'm going to start by asking just specifically whether the implementation of C# into 150 is Microsoft's sole direction which it can take?

The reason I ask this is there was an interesting point made about the nature of C# being a similar nature to Java, and how the E&CE 250 course, which is already run in Java, might work pretty well with C# and Java in there together to offer a comparison, to see where one would implement one, where one would implement the other, the advantages and disadvantages of both.

So if it's specific to 150, and if it goes anywhere else Microsoft's off the table, that's basically my question as to whether that's the case, or if we might have consideration into E&CE 250 as well.

Sorry, I'll direct that at professor Vannelli, directly, that makes the most sense.


Yeah Jeff, the intention right now, is that we really are looking at the course, the way the instructors are looking at it, and where they've brought it to the curriculum committee, is to look at 150 alone, and the incorporation of a "Java like language", which is really what we're dealing with with C#, and to put enough C++ so that that allows upper year courses like operating systems courses, so students can build kernels in C++, and because 250 is Java, the way it is, right now there is no intention to touch that course.

To answer your question directly, all of this discussion is in one course. The intention of where the committee would like to go is to leave the curriculum the way it is for the other year courses.


I guess the only real follow up in this case would be directed to well then we might end up with a relatively coloured high level language to start with 150, the next course that happens is also even more of a high level course. And then we go straight into the low level with no, I mean, you might have a little bit of C++ inside of there, but have we gone too high to be able to make the jump later, since we don't have a middle ground introductory level course, and the component of C++ which is definitely more prominent in industry at the moment, and I envision it continuing that way for a while, whether that becomes a detriment for not having enough of a focus on it for students who are going looking for their first few co-op jobs.


I think Jeff those are all the issues we are looking at. I think the point is very relevant; the instructors are certainly discussing this as they proceed, but i think until they complete that discussion really we can't comment any further. because these points are having to be looked at, because of the implications outside and also in co-op jobs as you said and how we train the students. Absolutely.



At the faculty level, especially in first year implementation, those are the questions that will be asked, and if satisfactory answer is not obtained, we're not going to proceed. and I just want to add, there is a continuous feedback from the students. If we all in our wisdom think that C# should be the way it is in 150, and we go into lower-level languages there we will get two sets of input. One, we're going to get feedback from the student academic reps, in the 2nd year/3rd year level, that this is not working.

And the second thing we are going to get from the Field Reps of the Co-op department, that because your students do not know this and this, we are having problems finding Year One first co-op jobs. In fact those are very important factors in some of the changes we've made. So even if our collective wisdom says that we're going to do this, and it doesn't prove right, it will be quickly changed.



Douglas Stebila, UW Senator and Governor.

One of the panelists spoke about a memorandum of understanding that was in place with microsoft to describe the possiblity of pursing this at a later time, I believe a one-year period was stated. Can you please explain this a little more? And indicate whether or not the memorandum of understanding will be made public?


Doug, the answer to the second question is yes. I think it will be posted on the web tonight. We've just been working the last couple of days to finalize that. Secondly, that memorandum of understanding -- which is a non-binding agreement, but a memorandum of understanding -- sets out the three initiatives, all three that I've mentioned, and with respect to the curriculum initiatives, makes any final agreement subject to all of the approvals that Dean Chaudhuri and Dr. Vannelli has spoken of. If those approvals are obtained, and the University is satisfied then we'll ask Microsoft to fund it, and if those changes are not approved then there will be no funding for that.



Hi, Christopher Deck, 3B Computer Engineering.

When E&CE 050 was announced it was announced as a mandatory course in the Microsoft Press release. Since then there has been some discussion that this was a mistake.


a mandatory course for anyone coming in and will it be used to evaluate students who are applying to the E&CE program?


Let me try the first answer and then perhaps Tony can provide more detail. It was a mistake to say it was mandatory. That was just incorrect in the press release. It's not a course, it's an initiative to establish outreach to high-school students. I think the objective is to try to provide some advanced exposure to high-schools students in Canada, so that they can get a taste and an early start on computer programming. I think George referred to the fact that we've been thinking about this for some time.

The model that we think about is the model in the Faculty of Mathematics, where for a great many years there have been curriculum related initiatives in advanced materials, leading to the writing of the Descartes and Euclid examinations that I think last year about 225,000 high-school students [sic]. So that would be neat to get that far but it's that kind of analogy. Tony you want to clarify?



I think the vision in what we had in E&CE 050 -- which is the wrong name, it should be more "Outreach Course XXX", whatever it ultimately becomes -- is really to parallel what's happened with the Descartes. We want to make sure the computer programming preparedness of students coming into the Univeristy of Waterloo is at an extremely high level, as it is with mathematics at this university (which we're well known for). So that's where we want to go with it. But again, as the Dean has pointed out, we have to work with admissions, to make sure it's understood under the proper context, and that it's not linked to any courses, becauase that's important. That's where a lot of difficulty will be occuring. We want to make sure the students have that computer programming preparedness, if you want. That's really where we want to go with that. I hope that clarifies it.


I want to know if that would be used to evaluate incoming students as well, because that is a specific concern. Because a lot of people who came into this program did have very good CS-related programs in their high schools, which would be the equivalent of an 050 kind of course.



I would like to give an explicit answer to that. As professor Vannelli pointed out, it's not only the E&CE department. The Engineering Admissions office is responsible for outreach and going to high schools and all. They have a big say in it. It's a competitive environment. The quality and caliber of this Faculty, only depends, and can only be sustained, if we continue to attract the best students.

If the process of attracting the best students is hindered by any of these things, they will not take place. I personally like the idea, and especially in this time frame. I don't want to tell what the content will be, because I'm not an instructor of computer languages. My view, a high-level view, is that as we get into double-cohort, Year One Engineering is very concerned about how we are going to treat students; how much extra effort we have to put in, so that they are very successful.

As I tell in Student Life 101 all the time, once you are a first year engineering student, failure is not an option. And it's "failure is not an option" not for you as a student, but for us, as a faculty, because that's a tremendous waste of our resources and your time. So we make very sure, that Year One Engineering is in the best transition form.


We forsee at this point in time that because of the -- maybe I'm wrong -- various different levels of preparedness in math and all we probably have to do a lot of work in that area when in 2003-4 new students come in. It would be nice to have modular outreach programs. Where students can be recommended, "that if you want to do something this summer, get yourself in a level playing field as far as the computing languages are concerned". And George did not point out one of the big problems in E&CE 150 is exactly what you pointed out. We have a very wide spectrum of experience of students. For some of them, this is rocket science, for some of them it's very boring. It is extremely challenging for the instructor to keep both sets interested in the course.

In that sense I have told the department I personally think that giving outreach, and the opportunity to make a level playing field as far as the computer language proficiences are concerned, is a very good idea.

But it is definitely not something that we will let happen that prevents us from recruiting the best students in the country.

I heard that somebody here has a response to mandatory ...


Okay, I have said everything.



I'm the official old fart.

I've used Microsoft languages and software for better than the lifetime of most of the people in this room. They have been uniformly bad. They are still bad. XP Home creates back-up files that can't be read by XP Home. I'm a little confused as why you would want to embed yourself deeply with a software system, or software systems, produced by a company that is notorious for producing bad work. The Blue Screen of Death everybody knows. Do you think this is really the best thing for your students? Is this the way to go?

I'm also very disturbed by the comment made just a moment ago, talking about .NET as being very good for Microsoft. Well that's nice. But is it good for the university, is it good for university students, and is it even moral to use somebody's product in that arbitrary fashion.

If the gentleman at the front table were looking for some references in MIT's Technology Review.


Excuse me. You've got to keep it to 30-45 seconds.


OK, time stretches when you're going fast.



I'll give you 5 seconds to name your question.


You got it! I refer you to MIT's Technology Review of August of this year, "Why Software is So Bad" where they specifically talk about some problems.


Question please.


Well, why is this approach being taken. It sounds to me like a done deal, you're just going through the motions. I think this is bad for the university ...


Question ...


... I think it's bad for this university's reputation ...


Cut the mic.




Do you want me to respond to that?


Sorry to -- Was there a question?


Yeah, all right.


Let's just keep moving. Well, you can nail it down if you have a general statement, about 1 minute or less if you can.



Just a small answer. Just because something's made by Microsoft doesn't necessarily mean that it's not available within the university environment. We refuse to be bullied into that position.

It should be evaluated. Some of the concerns that were raised need to be addressed, and we will continue to make sure that those things are addressed.


Dave Clegg.



Hi, Dave Clegg, 4B Computer Engineering and Engineering Society B president.

I know that this decision was originally made to promote Waterloo Computer Engineering students out in the workforce, give us an edge, give us a difference. I'm wondering whether the fact that this step has involved an alliance with Microsoft -- or at least, has given the perception that we are selling our curriculum, whether that has damaged our reputation much more so that anything that we could hope to achieve by incorporating C# .NET.


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