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9 posts from June 2009


Breaking News! Exercise Science & Wellness Management program

Previously known as Fitness & Health Management, the new Exercise Science & Wellness Management program is debuting at the perfect time.  With the Obama healthcare reform looming, it is important to note that prevention and lifestyle change should also be of paramount concern.  As Iowa Senator Tom Harkin states, "As the lead Senator in drafting the Prevention and Public Health section of the bill, I view this legislation as our opportunity to recreate America as a genuine wellness society – a society that is focused on prevention, good nutrition, fitness, and public health"

Our Exercise Science & Wellness Management students will be the future leaders of this wellness society!

See the entire article here: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ynews/20090625/ts_ynews/ynews_ts408

Teaching and Learning with the Pulse Smartpen

I have been testing the Pulse Smartpen by Livescribe for several weeks now. This amazing device is a computer in a pen that also records audio while you take notes on special "dot paper". What a great way to document notes in a meeting (don't forget to ask permission to record audio) or take notes during a lecture. You can immediately play back the audio by tapping on your hand written notes -- listen using the built-in pen speaker or included ear buds. These special ear buds also have built-in binaural microphones so you can record stereo while you appear to just be listening to music! The pen even has an OLED display that can be used to display the results of calculations you tap out on a printed dot-paper calculator.

Impressive, but there is more. Back at your desk, you dock the pen to recharge and simultaneously sync your hand scribbles and audio to the Livescribe Desktop application on your PC or Mac. The desktop application organizes all your notes and even allows you to search your hand writing to locate a particular passage. Of course, you can play back your audio recordings by clicking your mouse anywhere on the images of your hand written notes.

As an extra bonus, you can share notes and audio with specific individuals or the public by uploading your recording sessions to the Livescribe Online Community site. Students can now take notes during class while recording the audio and share the "pencast" with their classmates -- a student note-taking service for the 21st Century!

To illustrate this new way to teach using a "pencast", I scribbled a concept map on podcasting. The Pulse Smartpen is a great way for faculty to illustrate and animate concepts they used to draw on a blackboard and make it available to students with audio narration. Look for the Pulse Smartpen in the University Bookstore this fall. See and hear my "pencast" demo...


Patient, Heal Thyself in the Digital Future - ABC News

Patient, Heal Thyself in the Digital Future - ABC News Shared via AddThis

Importance of self-assessment

If the teachers are the only ones who assess students, students never learn the important skills of self-assessment. Throughout our professional lives, people need to assess their abilities, their strengths and weaknesses. Yet, many college graduates do not have good self-assessment skills. While it is uncomfortable to do so, students need practice assessing themselves. What instructors ask students to self-assess varies with the type of course and the content of the course. For example, students might assess themselves on their writing abilities, on their functioning in a group or class participation. Students can always be asked to assess how well they are learning or to reflect on their own learning processes. When students gain self-assessment skills, they also gain confidence and move more to becoming a self-directed, lifelong learner.

For more information see http://www.usp.edu/teaching/Learner-Centered/Blumberg_Developing_Learner_Centered_Teaching.pdf


Compromising on health reform

The debate over how to reform the U.S. health care system has some experts looking anew at the strengths and weaknesses of state and regional programs, including one in Pennsylvania. In an interview for WHYY on June 22, 2009, Dr. Robert Field, who leads health policy studies at Philadelphia’s University of the Sciencessays taking Pennsylvania’s AdultBasic idea nationwide would create big regulatory challenges. Read more.


The Bod Pod is here!

Excitement is at an all time high in the Samson College of Health Sciences!

Our latest piece of equipment has arrived – the Bod Pod!

This device will allow our students to measure total body composition and resting metabolic rate (RMR). In layman’s terms: what percentage + how many pounds of you are fat, muscle, and how many calories you burn at rest.


You are invited to come and try it out!  What a great motivator for summer!  If I can do this, (yes, that is me in the Bod Pod), YOU CAN TOO!



The Heat & Humidity are Here!

Heat Safety
High heat and increased activity in the summer causes us to lose more water than usual, especially in children and the elderly who do not have adequate thirst mechanisms and require constant monitoring. Heat stroke is a potentially fatal condition characterized by very high body temperature, confusion, rapid pulse, difficulty breathing, and no sweating. Richards, a certified personal trainer, offers the following tips to avoid dehydration, heat stroke, and heat stress:

Detect Dehydration: Clear or light-colored urine signals hydration, while darker yellow or amber urine signals dehydration. If you experience headaches, feeling lethargic and weak, thirst, decreased urine elimination, and muscle cramps, you may be dehydrated. If you experience low blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, fever, sunken eyes, irritability, these are serious symptoms of dehydration and you should seek emergency care immediately.

Exercise: Exercise before the sun comes up or after it goes down to avoid exercising mid-day – when the sun, heart & humidity are generally at their peak.  When exercising, wear a hat, take frequent breaks, and wear light, loose clothing that breathes so sweat evaporates and doesn’t stay on the skin. Weigh yourself before and after exercise. Every pound that you’ve lost is water and you’ll need to replace that water for your body to operate effectively.

Diet: Eat light meals, drink lots of water throughout the day, avoid alcohol and caffeine. 

Drink: Start drinking water before being active. For less intense activity, one to two cups an hour before your activity is sufficient but be wary of drinking too much fluid before and during an activity to avoid sloshing in the stomach.

Take Breaks: If you start to feel woozy or just tired, stop your activity and cool down, get into the shade, drink cool fluids, and place a wet washcloth at the base of your neck.

Avoid the Heat: Stay in air conditioned locations on very hot and humid days.



It is a rainy, cold spring morning.  Most people would prefer not to be outside but the thought of  disappointing my dogs motivates me to put on the clothing needed to keep somewhat dry, venture out and tend to my morning energizers--Otis and Bea.  After a fast-paced round of fetch, I realize that my treat pack is lighter, my feet wetter but my buddies are eager for more.  So a jog-walk over obstacles is next and as the dogs lap up fresh water, I am amazed to look at my watch and see that 30 minutes have evaporated.  P6020089 Such is the joy of what researcher Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi would call "flow" or a highly focused state of consciousness that requires complete absorption in a meaningful task.  Elements of flow are clear goals, immediate feedback, balance between skills and challenges, an action-awareness merger and a disregard for distractions.  Time is forgotten (1996, p. 113).

Deep down I know the drill.  Using a meaningful trigger to motivate exercise is a proven strategy to build a habit.  For me, feeding the dogs begins the daily habit of morning exercise, a chain of events that are linked to a pattern of behavior.   If I delay, Otis and Bea will circle around and shift my attention back to getting outside.   They are not influenced by weather reports or other distractions.

If you are considering new ways to increase your daily exercise, try developing a set of trigger behaviors.  The behaviors should be organized into a "chain" of events so that one leads to the next.  Once you begin the chain there is no backing out.  After 6 weeks, your habit will be strong enough to withstand some modifications but the pull of the first step  should pull you  back to completing the entire chain. 


Helping students to see the big picture

Students often have trouble seeing the big picture in our courses. They remember facts, isolated concepts, but they cannot integrate the facts and concepts together to really understand the discipline. Some of their problem may relate to how we teach. All disciplines have organizing schemes or themes from which most content can be derived. For example, the structure- function relationship is an organizing scheme in biology whereas individual differences in human behavior is an organizing scheme in psychology. The more we teach using these organizing schemes, the better students will understand the way our disciplines work. You can use them to organize your entire course, explicitly teach using them, and give assignments that require the integration of content into organizing schemes. For more discussion of organizing schemes see Developing Learner-Centered Teaching published by Jossey-Bass.

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