CUOLIn this issue:

  • Professor Profile: George Harrison shows us we can learn a lot from traditional societies in his upcoming Ecology and Culture course
  • SACDS: Four student support services combine to create a new department with a holistic approach
  • Tech Corner: Using Pomodoro for time management
  • CUOL Exam Schedules

Professor Profile: George Harrison shows us we can learn a lot from traditional societies in his upcoming Ecology and Culture course

By: Bianca Chan

George HarrisonProfessor George Harrison, an expert in Greek and Turkish archaeology, is hoping to use his course, Ecology and Culture, to show students that there is a lot to learn from traditional societies. The course applies ancient perspectives and modern research to ecological issues, from the formation of the world’s landscape to the impact of vegetarianism. The goal, he says, is to develop, through the class blog, new or different approaches to these problems.

Taking after Jared Diamond, author of “The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies?” and specialist on Polynesian societies, Harrison says he will adopt a similar approach for his exploration of antiquity. He says he will “look at a specific problem that involves real people and see how their societal values (the culture part) impede or contribute to technological solutions (the ecology part) of their challenges.”

Harrison will complement his teachings using the discussions he has had with academics in Oxford and the University of London, with one of the founders of, as well as PDF scans and traditional library resources. With hopes of enriching the classroom content with the diversity underscored by online learning, Harrison will bring to light what we can learn from the past and, more importantly, how we can apply it to the present and future.

In an edited email, Harrison talks about connecting the past with the future:

Q: Why did you develop Ecology and Culture?

A: I think there is much that the past can inform us about the present debates on subjects with serious ecological impact.  It is a way of thinking ‘outside the box’ (or perhaps more usefully looking from outside the box). Many problems that are faced now were also ones faced in antiquity and their solutions, even if they do not apply, might still open paths to solutions.

I think many modern miracles are low tech – we tend to think of the extremely expensive lab work on genomes or medical breakthroughs but malaria is being wiped out (or at least managed) more with mosquito nets than serums. In that regard the low tech – high personal involvement strategies of antiquity might point the way.

Q: How does teaching about ecology and culture, two subjects dealing with the relations between people and their environment, fare with being taught online?

A: The web has been too often subjected unfairly to critiques that it somehow enables, or worse promotes, rants and attacks or in other ways contributes to racism, sexism, or character assassination. Rather, my experience of the web in my class on Ancient Technology and Science – the overwhelming majority of whose students are online registrations – is that it encourages a greater diversity of participation and thus a larger range of experiences and outcomes.

My Ancient Technology and Science course had a student who watched the class live while eating breakfast her time in Bangkok; some government workers in Vancouver watched live while having an extended lunch break (arranged with their supervisors); several Classics students at the University of Toronto watched the live feed together, taking notes and discussing; and chemistry students at Carleton admitted to me that they ordered pizza and watched together in the lab.

This diversity in time, place, training and experience is achievable most easily through the web and contributes significantly to the richness of discussion, and one hopes, by extrapolation, the number of potential pragmatic solutions

Q: What do you like best about teaching online courses?

I went into teaching instead of government (where I also had a job offer) because I thought influencing and training the greatest number of leaders of the future was the most important thing I could do. Online learning increases exponentially the number of future leaders I can try to instill with intellectual rigour and infect with a love of knowledge.

No class is an island – to paraphrase John Donne – and it is my hope that this class will be enriched by students’ experiences in other classes, and in turn will contribute directly to others in their classes.

If you’re interested in learning more about ecology and culture, check the course list for the next offering of this course.

SACDS: Four student support services combine to create a new department with a holistic approach

By: Mikaela Stevenson, SACDS Outreach Coordinator

In early May, Career Services, Academic Advising, Co-operative Education, and the Centre for Student Academic Support joined together to form Student Academic and Career Development Services (SACDS). This amalgamation means that we can now provide a more holistic approach when supporting students’ development of academic skills and career goals.

All of our services can be accessed online, in-person, and by phone, so you can choose the setting that’s most convenient and that best suits your learning preferences.

Career Services works with students to help define their career goals and see the connections between their degree and future avenues of employment or further education. Students who want to explore experiential learning opportunities, have questions about starting a job search, are preparing for a job interview, or would like assistance reviewing a resume, cover letter, personal statement or CV should drop-by the Career Centre to meet with a career counsellor or career advisor.

The Academic Advising Centre’s primary focus is to assist students in most undergraduate degree programs as well as Special Students. Academic advisors support students in reaching their academic goals and inform students about the university’s academic rules and regulations. Students who want to ensure they’re fulfilling their degree program’s academic requirements, are interested in changing their degree program, have questions about their academic audit or have been placed on academic warning are encouraged to visit the Academic Advising Centre.

Carleton’s Co-operative Education Program provides students with the perfect opportunity to develop key employability skills and gain relevant work experience while completing their degree program. The co-op option is offered in over 100 degree programs, majors, concentrations and streams. Students interested in applying to the co-op program should review the eligibility requirements and important deadlines on the co-op website.

The Centre for Student Academic Support (CSAS) brings together the following academic support services: Learning Support Services, the Writing Tutorial Service, Bounce Back, and Peer Assisted Study Sessions and Subject Coaching (better known as PASS and PASC). Any student who wants to improve their writing and study skills, create effective study habits, or receive peer-help understanding course material should come visit our new collaborative learning space on the fourth floor of the library. All of the Centre’s services are offered through one-on-one sessions, as well as through collaborative and interactive workshops.

Can’t make it to campus? Each department’s services are offered online, in-person, and by phone! For more information, please contact us using the information below:

Career Services Academic
401 Tory Building
613.520.2600 ext. 6611
302 Tory Building
613.520.2600 ext. 7850
Co-operative Education Centre for Student Academic Support
1400 CTTC Building
613.520.2600 ext. 4331
4th Floor MacOdrum Library
613.520.2600 ext. 1125

Students who would like additional information about any of our services can contact Mikaela Stevenson, Communications and Outreach Coordinator at mikaela.stevenson@carleton.caAnchor


Tech Corner: Pomodoro

By: Bianca Chan

Cutout Tomatoes

Have you ever heard of Pomodoro? And no – I don’t mean the pasta sauce. Although, that is very important, too. I’m talking about a study technique that uses a Pomodoro – or timer – to divide your work or task into 25-minute increments. This way, you can power through pesky distractions, hyper focus, and get things done in bursts, all while taking frequent breaks to come up for air. It’s a procrastinator’s best friend and it has been proven to help students scratch off goals on those growing to-do lists more efficiently.
The Pomodoro Technique was developed by Francesco Cirillo in 1992 as a way to beat deadline-related anxiety and overall stress. The entrepreneur, developer and author named the system after the tomato-shaped timer he used to track his work as a university student. Cirillo published a book on his technique, called The Pomodoro Technique. For those of you who don’t want to buy the book, the strategy is simple:

Choose a task.

  1. Set the Pomodoro (timer) to 25 minutes.
  2. Work on the task until the Pomodoro goes off, then put a check on a sheet of paper to monitor your Pomodoros, and therefore monitor your productivity.
  3. Take a short break. Five minutes will do.
  4. Every four Pomodoros, take a longer break. Somewhere around 15 to 30 minutes works.

And that’s it! Deceptively simple and cunningly effective, the Pomodoro Technique underpins distraction-fighting as one of its main elements. However, it also focuses on training your brain to focus for short periods and help you stay on top of deadlines.

So, when you’re faced with a cumbersome task, or perhaps are expected to complete several jobs, your brain will be coached to break down the work into short, timed intervals. It’s easy to see the light at the end of the tunnel when it only takes 25 minutes to get there. Moreover, the regular breaks should help boost your motivation and can also keep you sharp and creative.

Over time, it has even been shown to help improve your overall attention span and concentration.The Pomodoro Technique is probably one of the simplest productivity methods because all you need is a timer. If you have a watch, a clock, a phone, or even a plain old egg timer, you can do it. There is no need for any special apps, books or tools. However, it is worth noting that the Pomodoro Technique is an indivisible unit of work. In other words, if you get distracted by a friend or catch yourself scrolling through your Instagram feed, you have to end the Pomodoro right then and there. An alternative is to postpone the distraction until the Pomodoro is finished.

Even though an app isn’t necessary, here are a few suggestions of Pomodoro apps that do offer more features than your basic timer:

For OS X/Apple users, Pomodorable combines a Pomodoro timer with a to-do app. It motivates its users by using more visual cues when a Pomodoro is complete and it syncs up with the Reminders app. It also includes a feature that allows you to guess how many Pomodoros it will take to complete a task, which is good for tracking your progress and challenging you to beat your time estimate.

For Android users, Simple Pomodoro is a free timer with basic aesthetics. Simple Pomodoro is fairly rudimentary; all you do is tap to start the timer, work, and take your break when your phone’s alarm rings. It really embodies the simplicity of the technique itself. It also allows you to review your day in Pomodoros to see how many intervals you’ve completed. This could be extremely rewarding, or may act as a wake-up call if you didn’t complete as much as you wanted.

For Windows, Mac and Linux computers, Tomighty is a cross-platform, desktop Pomodoro timer. It’s customizable so you can personalize the timers to your own work and break periods.

For all Internet users, you can use Marinara Timer. This is a web application that you can keep open in a tab or separate window. It’s extremely flexible as you can select one of the premade timer alerts or set your own to suit you.