Earning credit in the community

Your next class could take you out of the classroom and into the community. The Centre for Community Partnerships pairs community organizations with professors interested in diversifying their classes.

“We’re really about creating meaningful learning opportunities outside the classroom in Toronto and the Peel region,” said Lisa Chambers, director of the center.

The program focuses upon service learning, a specific higher education pedagogy that Chambers explains is somewhere between volunteering, which mainly benefits the community, and interning, which mainly benefits the individual.

“Service learning tries to balance both,” said Chambers. “We believe its a bit of a package.” The program promotes a three-step partnership experience: development, meaningful service, and post-service reflections.”

“We really believe that unless you reflect on the experience you’re not going deeper. What were the underlying issues? How is it going to change me? […] Am I going to vote differently? Am I going to be involved in different initiatives?”

Programming is not limited to social justice courses; the centre has implemented service learning across 15 disciplines. In the 2009/2010 year service learning occurred in 22 courses and reached 1,700 students.

“You learn about a theory in a lecture and it might play itself out two days later in a community-based atmosphere.” said Chambers.

The only stipulation of the centre is that partnerships need to be based in the GTA.

“We’re unlike other centres who try to send students abroad […] our centre was created to specifically meet the needs and help create more sustainability and capacity in our local community,” said Chambers.

The centre was founded following a symposium of the Safer City Neighbourhood Taskforce at UTSC and results from the National Study of Student Engagement.

“There were certain areas where the university felt that students could have an engaged experience and one of the ways of doing that was to engage students with community,” said Chambers.
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Partnerships are created following a faculty member requests assistance in establishing a service learning program.

“We don’t get involved in anything unless the community identifies what the need is and it meets the kind of learning outcomes of the course.”

Chambers aims to create extended relationships with community organizations that continue after a course is completed. She points to a course created by Reid Locklin in the Department of Religion and Theology as a successful example of a partnership with the Baycrest Geriatric Health Care System that led to an extended multi-course relationship.

“They created a course called Religion and Theology after Auschwtiz because of the interest and knowledge Reid has in that area and then the needs of the residents,” said Chambers.

The centre is working to to use a combinations of courses, student groups, and individual volunteers to create year-round volunteer support for organizations.

“The need doesn’t go away,” said Chambers, “The need is still there in April but no one is there from the university.” The need for service learning is also not seen by everyone at U of T.

“Across the board at a big research institutions it’s not always seen as a benefit for pre-tenured faculty.”

Along with being seen by some as a distraction from publishing and research, community partnerships are also time-consuming.

“Even though we can try and provide support, it’s going to take more time with service learning pedagogy than it would a lecture of traditional teaching.”

Fall fashion preview


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Oxford Comma: Classic ≠ Dated.

Left: Elizabeth Kagedan. Menswear for women has always been a tried and true method of a bold fashion aficionado. Androgyny is, as it seems, OUT and class, not crass, has crashed its way back into the collections of Fall/Winter 2010-2011. The blouse-and-trousers combo is never going to be out of style; however, be a little more daring and look for accents like a secretary collar or a feminine print to infuse the spirit of youthful vitality and coy flirtation into your Dad’s white button-down. A shorter length, a cinched waist and some suspenders update the dandy trouser into a sexy and fresh way to dress for the modern age. The perfect accessory is always the way to add a flourish of personality to any outfit, and everyone should own a solid pair of dress shoes and a practical carry-all. Girls, ditch the TNA and Lulu’s. Boys leave the Burton backpacks back in your high school lockers where they belong. Giddy-up and get with it with some Saddle shoes and invest in a briefcase because hey, we’re in university now — the rest just looks like child’s play.

Freewheelin’ Utilitarian

Middle: Aaron Zach. Let’s keep it simple boys. It’s all about the canonical staple fashion items — comfortably cool and confident is the look for men this season. Despite its blue collar history, the blue jean is so much more than that, and comes in so many more fabulous colors these days. Instead of the traditional true-blue wash, opt more for a darker indigo, black or even grey version for more mileage and less stress. Investments are key here; a great utility jacket in a vivid neutral with pocket and button detailing and a pair of all-purpose trekking-friendly boots will make for an easy transition from the crispness of autumn to the glacial temperament of winter. If glossy leather Docs are too “I just got discharged” for you, perhaps try buck leather, or shaved suede — same use, but with a more subtle vintage feel.

Combat Baby: Badassery of Chic

Right: Evelyn Lee. The dichotomy of hard and soft, bold and understated, and gothic and glamorous was executed with militant precision in fashion weeks overseas by the likes of design gods Marc Jacobs, Christopher Bailey and Miuccia Prada. Clothing takes on an almost architectural identity with a play on structure and volume. Experiment with rich textures like leather, fur, lace, wool and velvet, in both bold and muted colors, not only to brave the volatile winds approaching, but also to achieve an instant “wow” factor. There is a call to arms for aggressive outerwear: full-length coats, cropped jackets, and either ankle-length or thigh-high boots have invaded the urban catwalk. These statement pieces are by nature very masculine, and are best paired with something feminine and pretty. Elegant tailored dresses in luxurious or flirty fabrics are your best bet — not only because you can dress them up, down and all around, but because a great fit and feel will always stand the test of time even after trends notoriously fizzle.

Styling by Aaron Zach and Elizabeth Kagedan

U of T researcher invents Omni-focus video camera

Professor Keigo Iizuka of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Toronto has invented the world’s first Omni-focus video camera. The Omni-focus video camera is revolutionary. It exceeds the capabilities of today’s mainstream cameras, capturing both near and far images in high resolution and real time focus.

Prof. Iizuka states that it took close to ten years to create this advanced and innovative camera. He created it in collaboration with Dr. David Wilkes, president of the Wilkes Association, a Canadian high-tech product development company. Dr. Wilkes assisted in creating the programming part of the Omni-focus video camera.

The Omni-focus video camera uses a distance mapping principle that allows users to focus on both the foreground and background at the same time. In most of today’s cameras however, when you focus closely on an object, the background is always blurry. Iizuka explains that he wanted both foreground and background to be in focus.

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According to Iizuka, his first motivation for the project occurred when watching musical performances on television. He explains that when you watch television, the singer is singing with the orchestra in the background. When the camera is focused on the singer, the orchestra is always blurry. Prof. Iizuka wanted the singer as well as the orchestra to be in focus.

The invention of the Omni-focus video camera will also contribute to advances in the fields of medicine and entertainment.

Professor Iizuka states that the technology of the Omni-focus video camera can be used for medical purposes such as microscopes. When using a regular microscope, one usually has to adjust the focus many times to fit the object, especially when observing moving objects. If one does not have to worry about the focusing, it becomes easier to see what is happening in the foreground as well as background. Under these circumstances, an Omni-focus microscope would be more advantageous in comparison to the commonplace microscope.

In describing the benefits of the Omni-focus camera towards medical applications, Professor Iizuka explains his dream that someday we will be able to insert the device in the stomachs of human beings. This would allow scientists to see the fine details of stomach contents instead of having to extract samples and examine them under microscopes outside of the body. This would be possible because the Omni-focus video camera functions with the freedom of range that was not previously possible with the use of regular microscopes.

The first model of the Omni-focus video camera was relatively large, but the second model was smaller and could be elevated with a tripod. “The Omni-focus video camera is very user friendly,” says Prof. Iizuka. He also states that as long as you can operate a computer, you should be able to operate the Omni-focus video camera, since it only requires the pressing of a button.

With the invention of the Omni-focus video camera there are endless possibilities to its uses. As the camera continues to be developed by Professor Iizuka and his team of researchers, we can hope to see numerous uses for this new technology.

Welcome back!

DYLAN C. ROBERTSON provides an exhaustive summary of the havoc the G20 caused on campus.

Read about our new pedestrian only street. Take that, drivers.

YASER GHASSAN describes our new planetarium!

Now you can earn school credit by helping out in the community, as if that warm feeling inside you weren’t enough.

In case you missed it last issue, the U of T Bookstore is now offering rental textbooks. It could help you cut down on $100 paper weights come next April.

The men’s football team nearly managed to fill the stadium in their home opener! Not bad for a team that once went the better part of a decade without a win.

Finally, the Varsity’s section editors are holding a little virtual meet-n-greet over here. Come say hi… and remember to email recruitment@thevarsity.ca if you’d like to write for one!

Of course, there’s plenty of other great stuff going on in the issue, but we’ll leave that for you to discover on your own.

Don’t turn it in

The start of the school year means new classes and for many students these will involve the use of Turnitin.com, an electronic resource designed to detect plagiarism used regularly at the University of Toronto. The program works by checking submitted student papers for textual similarity against the millions of resources stored in its database, including an archived copy of the Internet, published works, and student papers submitted to Turnitin since 1996. Papers containing too many textual similarities are flagged as possible cases of plagiarism. While Turnitin is considered a valuable resource by many professors who might otherwise not spot plagiarism in student work, it is also the source of a number of controversies which suggest that students should think twice before submitting their work to the website.

Turnitin’s name is more reminiscent of Crime Stoppers tip hotlines and criminal activity than of an academic resource. Many students at universities such as McGill, Mount Saint Vincent, Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Stanford have criticized the program for its assumption of student guilt before any crime has been committed. All students are regarded as potential plagiarists, and must prove themselves innocent by submitting their work to a resource that rigorously scans it and creates an “originality report.” Since recent studies have shown the number of undergraduate students who have admitted to cheating at least once during their time at a post-secondary institution is at 70 to 80 per cent, many argue that this presumption of guilt is justified. However, Turnitin’s “guilty until proven innocent” approach is about more than just catching plagiarists — it also creates an atmosphere of mistrust between teachers and students that fosters a negative learning environment. Rather than encouraging professors to create assignments that are difficult to plagiarize and to teach their students about academic integrity and proper citation styles, Turnitin reduces student-teacher relationships to ones of rule enforcement. An emphasis on catching cheaters rather than avoiding academic dishonesty in the first place does not allow for learning opportunities, only for a mechanistic system of surveillance and penalties.
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Turnitin’s practice of permanently storing submitted student papers in its database has also been the source of controversy. Iparadigms LLC, the company that created Turnitin, asserts that the information stored is only a digital “fingerprint” of the work and not the work’s actual content, and that students retain copyright of their work even after submission to Turnitin. Despite this, Turnitin’s policy of storing all submitted work in its database is a way of using students’ intellectual property for commercial purposes. Turnitin regularly flaunts the unrivalled size of its database as an incentive for prospective universities considering its use. John Barrie, the founder of Turnitin, has declared that, “in very short order, [Turnitin will] have it all wrapped up. […] There will be no room for anybody else, not even a Microsoft, to provide a similar type of service because we will have the database.” Student work submitted to Turnitin automatically becomes a part of this massive database, as there is no option offered to students who do not wish to have their intellectual property used in this way. It is questionable whether universities should use a resource that allows students’ original work to be used for a private company’s profit.

Given the various concerns that have surfaced about Turnitin, U of T allows students to choose whether or not they will use the resource. It also provides them with alternatives if they should choose not to, such as handing in rough notes with an essay. However, professors have a responsibility to do more than simply offer alternatives to Turnitin. They should also take the time to explain why a student might choose to opt for another method of evaluation. Similarly, students must do their research and consider the implications of their decision before using Turnitin.com for their assignments.

Letters from the editors

NEWS

The News section provides fair and balanced coverage for undergraduate students at U of T. Scandal, marginalization, and wasteful spending — we keep students in the know. Read our section and you’ll stay on top of the complicated bureaucracy, new policies from university administration, and everything at U of T that’s fit for print. In short, we’ll help you understand how Canada’s largest university works.

This summer we’ve already covered everything from scandal during the G20 to the financial struggles of the Toronto Women’s Bookstore and, with over 75,000 students during the school year, there are plenty of exciting events on campus to cover every week. In the interest of covering these events, we will be regularly breaking news through Twitter and following it up with thorough reporting online and in print. We will also be expanding our investigstive coverage to dive head-first into the compicated issues and debates that swirl around campus.

Since 1880, we have been the living record of U of T’s history. Join in our quest to continue providing a student voice on campus. We are the first source for all U of T news.

Breakingly,

Andrew Rusk

News Editor, 2010-2011

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

In this challenging time of raging war, economic instability, rampant hatred, and print media’s insistence on going down in flames no matter how hard aspiring writers hope it won’t (cough), sometimes the only thing in which we can find solace is art. Well buster, you’re in luck, because this year’s Varsity’s Arts & Entertainment section strives to satisfy your hankering for all things arty. In addition to our usual coverage of the goings-on in this city’s arts community, we are pleased to announce several new initiatives. Arts’ Arts, our biweekly showcase of the most talented creator’s at U of T, will be publishing original art, photography, fiction and poetry the whole year round. Also to come: The Varsity Interview, a meaty, filling Q & A with the most influential folks in the arts scene that we can manage to wrangle a meeting with.

If you prefer your arts reportage in a shiny New Media format, go to TheVarsity.ca for our barrage of new blogs. Singled Out features Sean Mackay and Navi Lamba taking a weekly look at the most interesting new singles, from Pitchfork to MTV. Each month, The Varsity Book Club discusses the most-hyped books of the season, while On Screen provides up-to-date reviews of what’s on the silver screen.

Look to the arts section this year for a guide to the goings-on in the city and on campus, as well as longer feature pieces on everything from interpretive dance to campus stage.

Artistically,

Emily Kellogg and Will Sloan

Arts and Entertainment Editors, 2010-2011

FEATURES

If this is your first time picking up an issue of the Varsity, let me welcome you to the Features section, the newest and most versatile section in the paper. By versatile I mean that, because this section is such a recent addition to the Varsity, the definition of a feature is very broad, and we’re always up for experimenting with different styles, forms, and mediums.

If you’ve been an avid reader in the past, then you know what to expect from the section. Last year we published interviews with authors, musicians, politicians, and scholars. We wrote about the future, the arts and continually pushed the envelope with our layouts and design. A few things will stay the same this year: we’ll be publishing three Varsity magazines, the first of which will hit the stands in November. Magazines are always brimming with engaging writing and fascinating stories so watch out for them! We’ll also keep experimenting with the design of the section, with photos, illustrations, infographs, and more.

This year we’ll be publishing more features, one in each issue, which means we’ll need more content than ever. So if you’re a talented writer don’t hesitate to contact me with your idea for a story. As long as some basic parameters are followed (1500+ words with a narrative structure), the versatility of the section provides a tremendous opportunity to explore diverse subjects and writing styles.

Though I don’t really have an office, if I did, the door would always be open.

Sincerely,

Sean MacKay

Features Editor, 2010-2011

SPORTS

As the University of Toronto’s finest athletes are gearing up for another action-packed year, the sports writers here at The Varsity are doing exactly the same thing. With a roster full of fresh new recruits both on the field and in the newsroom, sports coverage at U of T will be over the fence and out of the park this year.

Working closely with the coaches and management of the university’s athletic programs to provide updated coverage of breaking news and events across campus, U of T’s largest newspaper has the inside track to all things Varsity Blues. This year sports fans can expect to follow their home team through a variety of different mediums as the staff at The Varsity have kicked into overdrive and are at the forefront of multimedia journalism across campus.

While profiles of standout athletes and teams, breaking administrative news and detailed event coverage can still be found in the pages of The Varsity and online, streaming video blogs recapping game highlights will be added to the website’s line-up for the 2010–2011 season.

Now a weekly paper, The Varsity strives to deliver accurate and up-to-date sports news to the community at the University of Toronto in a timely and efficient manner. U of T boasts some of the most talented athletes and coaches in the country. With so much ground to cover, it’s safe to say that The Varsity’s sports staff has already hit the ground running.

See you in the winner’s circle,

Roberta Bell

Sports Editor, 2010-2011

COMMENT

Who doesn’t love to argue? Whether its the latest blunder from Ottawa or a still controversial re-organization of the University of Toronto’s academic structure, everyone has an opinion about something. The Varsity’s comment section is where ideas clash and the voice of U of T’s student body is heard. We have printed student opinion about everything. And I mean everything. From the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine to the appropriate way to give a high five, the comment section is always brimming with contentious conversation.

My name is Alex Ross, and as the section’s editor, I am the facilitator of this mini-marketplace of ideas. I’m constantly on the hunt for enthusiastic young writers eager to make their mark by means of the print medium. If you have an opinion that is begging to spring fully-formed from the inner sanctum of your mind please send me an e-mail and I’ll give you a deadline and a word count. No previous experience required!

Maybe you want to write an Irks and Quirks op-ed, or something for the more serious Political Scene, which covers the latest in all level of politics? However, I don’t expect you to be bound by any particular category or ideology. I just want you to feel free to express yourself. I look forward to working with you all this year. Write for comment!

Opinionatedly,

Alex Ross

Comment Editor, 2010-2011

SCIENCE

The Science section at The Varsity is U of T’s best student outlet for science journalism. Just saying.

We cover everything from recent breakthroughs made by U of T researchers, to scientific explanations of the everyday phenomena you always wanted to be a snob about. Whether it’s particle physics, protenomics, or pituitary glands, you’ll find your fill of science-minded news every week.

Remember to keep an eye out for a new weekly column, “Wonderland in Space,” that looks at a new piece of galactic miscellany every week. We’ll also be featuring a new “Lab Crawl” series that gets up close and personal with the people, rituals, and paraphernalia that make up lab life on campus.

And on the online end, we’re excited to be starting up a number of science blogs this year. Follow one student’s trials and tribulations of getting into med school, along with extra weekly news for those science-minded students who just can’t get enough. Because let’s face it. Who wants internet videos of Lady Gaga when you can hit up Drosophila melanogaster?

Scientifically,

Erene Stergiopoulos

Science Editor, 2010-2011

FROM THE EDITOR

130 years ago this fall, an enterprising band of students at the University of Toronto introduced their new publication The Varsity as both a “register of opinion in and out of the University [and a] strenuous advocate of what constitutes individual wellbeing.” Despite having undergone changes upon changes throughout its history, these two modest goals still remain at the core of The Varsity’s mission. While we aim to publish an open and inclusive newspaper reflecting the pluralism and expansiveness of our campus, we also intend to zealously provide you with everything you need to survive the arduous and exhilarating experience of university. To that end you’ll find our summer Handbook, in which Varsity editors and contributors share their wisdom on surviving and understanding life at the university, enclosed in the following pages.

Throughout the past eight months The Varsity, along with many other newspapers around the world, has undergone substantial changes. Despite receiving generous support from students and benefiting immensely from the hard work so many of them put in, we have had to cope with the effects of an economic recession compounded with the increasing competition newspapers face from other mediums. As part of our efforts to adapt while continuing to fulfill our mandate, we will be publishing larger, weekly issues with more comprehensive coverage of the goings on at our three campuses and around the city. Our website will also be updated constantly with a healthy stream of news-briefs, Podcasts, and blog posts: we’ve found already that there’s no shortage of material.

As we have reported over the summer, sweeping changes to the Faculty of Arts and Science have been proposed and a renewed debate over the imposition of Flat Fees is set to commence in the coming months. This summer, Toronto and its inhabitants experienced the anarchic nightmare of the G20 summit (I do not think this characterization is too severe) and, in Ottawa, the parliamentary game of Jenga keeps Canada teetering on the brink of a general election. Moreover, Toronto will soon be casting ballots in an election of its own in a vote which will have major implications for many students who rely on public transit, bike to school or work, or simply live in the GTA.

Whether you’re a new or a returning student, I invite you to join us this year in an ongoing discussion of university life. This Friday at 2 PM, we will be hosting our annual fall open-house at our offices in 21 Sussex, second-floor. Whether you’re interested in writing, illustrating, taking photos, or just want to meet the staff of your campus paper, our doors are wide open and we look forward to meeting you!

The year ahead promises to be an interesting one for us all.

Yours,

Luke Savage

Editor-in-Chief, 2010-2011

Rotman reintegrates women in the workplace

Rotman is helping women to re-enter the workforce with its new back to work program, a component of the Rotman Initiative for Women in Business. The program is open to women with past management experience who are resuming their careers after extended absences.

“The women’s initiative program was started about three years ago, when we received requests from the corporate environment in Toronto saying that we have various professional groups of women who really struggle in advancing their careers,” said Professor Beatrix Dart, Associate Dean and Executive Director of the Rotman Initiative for Women in Business.

“We decided we needed a program to make these women more visible and allow employers access to these talented individuals.”

The nine-class program begins October 18 and continues over a three-month period. Classes are divided into three modules that provide basic knowledge and qualifications to successfully resume employment in business.

“Back to Work will help prepare women for the personal and professional transition they experience when returning to the workforce,” said Dart. “It gives them an unparalleled opportunity to reignite their goals and to get up-to-speed on the latest trends and issues in business, while meeting like-minded women, potential employers, and future professional contacts.”

A 2005 Harvard Business Review report found that 37 percent of highly qualified women voluntarily leave their careers for some period of time. The reason for the absence is most often family responsibilities, including childcare, and eldercare.

“Once you are on a personal leave, the years build-up and when you want to return to the workforce you are not sure where to start because things change so rapidly. It can be a daunting experience.” said Dart. “What this program does is help you in the transition from the mundane activities of daily life back to dealing with the politics of the corporate world. To regain your confidence.”

Rotman faculty members and instructors, as well as senior executive guest speakers, will help participants refresh their business knowledge on topics including leadership, strategy, and business and marketing tools. They will also share current job market information and address the latest technology and communication trends in business today.

“The women will not only learn in classes but also be given the opportunity to gain hands-on experience through projects they will be working on for various companies.” said Dart. “This will give them the chance to explore their equation with the participating companies while also allowing the employers to test their abilities.”

TD, KPMG LLP, Microsoft Canada, Rogers, and Xerox are all supporting the program. They will not be given exams, or graded, rather they will work on projects for potential employers. Classes will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. to allow for personal and family commitments and mothers will receive complimentary childcare located close to Rotman. Four scholarships are also available to cover the $1950 cost of participation.

“We want to be as accommodating as possible to help these women balance their personal and professional responsibilities,” said Dart.

Christine Smeeton, a chartered accountant and former project manager at BMO Nesbitt Burns, discovered the program through an e-mail newsletter.

“I think this program is an amazing opportunity for women who have chosen to stay home with children and are ready to return to work in the financial industry,” said Smeeton. “So many things have changed in the work environment and this program will pull everything together: networking with other business professionals, updating a resume and getting caught up on new technologies,” says the mother of three.

With only 30 spaces available, acceptance into the program has been quite competitive.

“We received more than threefold the number of applications we can accept,” said Dart. “What we looked for most was the level of motivation and determination the women demonstrated when we interviewed all of the applicants. We came across very impressive resumes, few of whom are already being coveted by our affiliated companies.

“We’ve been receiving requests from all over the country to expand the project to other cities. That is something we are definitely considering seeing how successful our pilot project here at Rotman will be.”

Varsity tech supplement

iPad: not so rad

Apple recently released its latest product, the iPad, designed to be a fusion of the iPhone and the laptop and featuring video games, internet, maps, word processing, and digital books. It was also meant to challenge Amazon’s Kindle, since the Kindle only offers digital books, whereas the iPad offers digital books plus many other features.

The iPad is light-weight and operates very efficiently, with rapid and simple navigation. According to Toronto Star technology writer Marc Salzmann, the “first-generation iPad does prove to be a ‘magical’ device, as Apple CEO Steve Jobs promises.” Globe and Mail technology writer Omar El Akkad states that “overall it’s a beautiful device but a couple of things still need to be fixed.”

Compared to a laptop, the iPad’s performance is lacking in many areas, and technology magazines including PC World were quick to point out its deficiencies. The iPad does not allow you to multitask, so despite the quick responsiveness of the touch screen, you will only be able to have one program running at a time. The iPad does not have Adobe Flash, therefore limiting the content you will be able to see on many websites. It does not have a camera nor does it permit you to add additional memory using memory cards, so you are stuck with one of the four memory options available. What’s more, the touch screen makes the gaming experience less accurate (and therefore less enjoyable) than that of a laptop.

The iPad’s attempt to compete with Amazon’s Kindle was also unimpressive: the Kindle uses e-ink type which was created to closely emulate actual ink. in order to optimize the reading experience. The iPad has an LED-lit screen that is brighter and harsher on the eyes. Therefore, if you are an avid reader, you may be more inclined to purchase the Kindle because prolonged reading on the iPad will lead to serious eye strain.

Another feature that lacks in functionality is the iPad’s keyboard, which pops up directly on the touch screen. This keyboard has proven to be a nuisance: it is insufficient for two-finger typing (which you would use on an iPhone keyboard) because the keyboard is too big, and is very inaccurate if you use all ten fingers to type.

Ergonomically, the iPad’s keyboard faces similar problems, because if you prop it up on something in order to get a good viewing angle, you cannot type. However, if you do not prop it up, you have to hunch over to see the screen, making extensive typing painful and annoying. No matter how you look at it, this keyboard is problematic.

Apple attempted to remedy this by creating a keyboard dock which allows a keyboard (one specifically made for the iPad) to attach while simultaneously propping it up. Macworld magazine pointed out the pros and cons of the dock. The pros include a “good viewing angle; connection to Mac, power, and speakers; and a solid keyboard feel” while cons include “an awkward shape and the fact that it is heavier than a standard wireless keyboard.” Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak offers a final word on the keyboard dock: “Apple is offering an auxiliary physical keyboard that docks with, and charges, the iPad. But you won’t want to lug that around.” The fact that a physical keyboard is required for efficient use of the iPad defeats its purpose entirely.

After having tried the iPad myself, I can confirm that the touch screen is highly responsive, with bright colours and high resolution. However, the keyboard is impossible to use comfortably and I would certainly not use the iPad to read digital books. In short, the iPad is a neat gadget that is worth trying out for five minutes in a store, but it is useless when it comes to reading books, typing, or performing many work-related tasks. Purchasing a good quality laptop would be a much better choice.—Charlotte Tombs

Not a tough cell

Cellphone plans can be really confusing sometimes. (Heck, one of The Varsity’s editors doesn’t even have a phone yet for that very reason.) Now that mom and dad are out of the picture, it’s all on you to get shit done. Opening your own bank account, cooking for yourself, and getting a cellphone plan of your very own. So we’re making it simple for you: here’s a (highly stereotyped) breakdown of the best bang for your mobile buck.—Tom Cardoso & Erene Stergiopoulos

The Player

Carrier: Rogers
Plan: Unlimited Student 150min Plan
Price: $30

For the player who can’t get enough, Rogers’ plan provides unlimited evenings and weekends from 9pm (because let’s face it, if you’re getting as much as you say you are, you’re gonna need it) and unlimited talk, text and picture messaging to five of your “closest friends,” if you know what we mean.

Long-Distance Caller

Carrier: WIND Mobile
Plan: Infinite Long-Distance Add-on
Price: $20 (plus the cost of a plan)

If long-distance calling makes your mouth water, get on WIND’s gravy train with this long-distance add-on, which makes calling the homeland a piece of cake. In a nutshell, this country-specific add-on can be paired up with any existing WIND plan, spicing up your calling more than mom’s homemade curry. Nice.

Data Fiend/Social Networker

Carrier: Rogers
Plan: Unlimited 150min Blackberry Student Plan Price: $40

You have 1652 Facebook friends and you get an email every eight nanoseconds. How are you going to keep track of them all? Rogers’ plan will get you there with 150 minutes of talk and unlimited social networking. You’re too cool for this article.

The Person Who Just Wants A F*ing Phone (AKA The Commitmentphobe)

Carrier: Koodo
Plan: Unlimited Incoming Combo
Price: $30

For the cellular everyone, who really just wants a phone with no contracts or strings attached. Koodo’s plan includes unlimited incoming calls, so you never have to make the first move. If you are prone to making first moves, however…

Momma’s Boy

Carrier: Wind Mobile
Plan: Always Shout Student Plan
Price: $25

If your “closest friend” is your mom, however, then Wind’s plan will serve you just as well as a nice, warm slice of homemade apple pie. Yum. The plan includes Canada-wide unlimited text and calling, with no contract and 25c/min calls if you’re not dialling from a Wind Zone.

Texter

Carrier: Rogers
Plan: Unlimited Student Messaging with My5
Price: $30

If you declared a thumb war, you would probably win. In fact, your fingers are so muscular from constant mobile missives that you could easily compete at the international level. So why not reward yourself with a plan that can live up to your textual glory? Rogers’ offering includes unlimited text messages and calls to five of your closest friends. So go forth, my friend: the world is your keypad.