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Campus Life  

Fitness apps more effective when they are personalized

Mary Jung

Mary Jung

When fitness apps include personal touches such as individualized goals and contact with a ‘real live trainer’, users tend to exercise more consistently, a UBC study concludes.

Mary Jung, an assistant professor in UBC Okanagan’s School of Health and Exercise Sciences, recently completed an eight-week study that examined the effectiveness of fitness apps.

“More than ever before, mobile apps provide an opportunity to provide real-time feedback and support to the public and specialized health populations,” says Jung.

“In order for app users to reach their full potential, we need to ensure that they stay engaged and are provided with the best support."

In her study, Jung worked with a fitness app company to incorporate goal setting, personalized feedback and opportunities for self-monitoring and self-evaluation—all key elements of health behaviour change. Activity levels were compared between those who had use of the app compared to those who did not.

Jung found that that not only did the test subjects use the app for the duration of the study, they exercised more. This is in comparison to the group that did not use the app and who showed no change in their exercise bouts.

“There are more than 150,000 mobile fitness apps that are designed to get people moving, yet few Canadians are actually meeting Canada’s physical activity guidelines,” says Jung. “Technology, such as apps, have the potential to assist in improving physical activity levels, but they must be based on sound health behaviour change evidence for this to work.”

According to Statistics Canada, about seven per cent of Canadian children are meeting activity guidelines that call for 60 minutes a day of moderate-to-vigorous exercise. For adults, who are recommended to undertake at least 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise each week, that rate is 15 per cent.

Jung’s study—the first of its kind to combine psychology and technology to encourage people to exercise more—was recently published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research. To find out more, visit: mhealth.jmir.org/2016/2/e62

This research was funded by the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research

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Carpentry students get new study space thanks to award-winning renovator

Okanagan College Media Release

Turner Family Sept2016A local renovation expert and long-time Okanagan College volunteer is showing his support for the newly upgraded facilities at B.C.’s second largest trades training institution.

Gord Turner, founder of Gord Turner Renovations Ltd., has donated $15,000 to support the outfitting of a new study space in the Carpentry shop. The space will come online for students this fall.

“I think it’s important to give back,” says Turner. “I’ve been fortunate in this business. With the way the industry is going, I feel it’s incumbent on us to support future tradespeople.”

“Our company has supported a number of apprentices during their training over the years. The industry is constantly changing. If you want to be successful in the long run you have to keep learning and changing with it.”

Turner says the decision to help create the new study space was an easy one given his long connection to the College. He has been a member of the Carpentry program’s Program Advisory Committee (PAC) for nearly a decade and took a refresher course in carpentry at the Kelowna campus in the early 2000s.

Gord Turner Renovations also boasts two other Okanagan College alumni on staff: Turner’s children. His son Cody earned his Red Seal as carpenter in 2005, while his younger son Kyle graduated from the Mechanical Engineering Technology program in 2008.

“I was brought up in this trade by my dad,” explains Cody Turner. “I was the first apprentice from our company to train at the College, so it’s nice to see our company able to support the place where our family and a number of our employees have trained.”

“It’s wonderful to see the College keep growing,” notes Kyle Turner. “Having access to trades training in Kelowna is a great for our business.”

The company has grown from an army of one – Turner – in 1991, to a team of 13 employees today. Along the way, Turner and company have racked up Gold and Silver Tommie Awards, including “Renovator of the Year” in 2010. Gord Turner Renovations has also been voted “Best Residential Renovator of the Central Okanagan” by the readers of Okanagan Life Magazine multiple years, including the latest issue in December 2015.

Sept. 28 marks the company’s 25th anniversary, and its founder is quick to point out that while building technologies, materials and styles may have changed over the decades, one aspect of his business has remained constant.

“We help people renovate their houses, design through build, and we do it really well. That’s it. And that takes good people.”

Which, as Turner points out, harkens back to the need for a deep pool of well-trained trades people in the region.

“The new trades complex will help the College continue to stay in step with the needs of industry,” says Steve Moores, Okanagan College’s Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship. “From top to bottom, from shops to classrooms, it is a totally modern, cutting-edge learning environment.”

“We appreciate the way local employers like Gord Turner Renovations have embraced the project and have chosen to invest in the future of trades training at the College.”

The College recently completed a 10,000 sq. metre renovation and expansion of trades facilities at the Kelowna campus. The new three-storey LEED Platinum-targeted building opened to students in April and is slated for an official public grand opening this month. The new and renovated facilities will allow the College to train 2,700 students per year.

The Okanagan College Foundation launched its $7-million Bright Horizons Building for Skills fundraising campaign in October 2014 to raise an additional $5 million for capital construction and $2 million in program and student support to top up the province’s $28-million investment.

To learn more about Okanagan College’s new trades facilities and opportunities to support students, please visitwww.okanagan.bc.ca/campaign

 



Off the Rails, The U.S. Presidential Election

Okanagan College Media Release

 

With the first U.S. presidential debate now in the rear-view mirror, many Canadians are left wondering what effect the outcome of the upcoming election will have on Canada.

Dr. Rosalind Warner, Chair of Okanagan College’s Political Science department, will provide context and clarity to what all of this political discourse and the upcoming election results will mean to Canada and the world at large.

Warner will present “Off the Rails: The U.S. Presidential Election” on Oct. 24 in the lecture theatre of Okanagan College’s Penticton campus. Warner will be one of eight presenters who will lead the College’s Penticton Speaker Series, which takes place on Monday evenings between 7-8:30 p.m. from now until Dec. 5.

Warner, who holds a doctoral degree in International Relations and Canadian Politics from York University, won’t be forecasting the outcome of the election, but will provide insight into how a republican or democratic president-elect will impact Canada.

“The main question people ask me with regard to this presidential election is why it has taken this tone,” explains Warner. “People are wondering, is this politics as usual for the United States or is something different going on? And the short answer is that some of these issues are new and others are not.”

Warner explains that regardless of the outcome, there are a number of important issues on the table that will have a serious impact on Canada, chief among them is the U.S. policy on trade.

“One of the things that is interesting about this race is that both candidates share similar views on trade and that should be a worry for Canadians,” said Warner. “Every day Canada and the United States trade more than $2 billion in goods and services – that is extremely significant. With both candidates committing to curtailing open trade, Canada will be impacted.”

Warner will also take a closer look at the role of social media in the lead-up to the election. She will shed light on topics such as the role of the media as a watchdog and the importance of fact-checking.

“The world is concerned about the outcome of November’s election, and Canada is one of the countries that will be most impacted,” said Warner. “My goal is to provide understanding and context from a Canadian perspective and we will take a look at how we got here.”

Warner’s lecture, and all others in the Penticton Speaker Series, is hosted by Okanagan College with admission by donation. All donations support the Dire Straits Fund, an emergency bursary for Okanagan College students.

To view the complete line up of speakers in the series, visit: ocspeakersseries.weebly.com.

 





Exercise prescriptions could keep elderly out of hospitals

Prescribing senior citizens tailored exercise routines could keep them independent longer and lower health care costs.

In a recent study, UBC researcher Gareth Jones concluded that a lack of exercise guidelines for people over 65 years old who were experiencing the onset of frailty limited their ability to manage their health condition. The study also outlined exercise guidelines, the first of their kind, to help slow or reverse the symptoms of frailty.

“Currently, we tend to address frailty with assistive supports and services that can lead older adults to be less active, which can actually accelerate the frailty process,” says Jones, an assistant professor of Health and Exercise Sciences at UBC’s Okanagan campus. “By prescribing the proper exercise, frailty may actually be slowed or reversed, which can keep people out of hospitals and in their homes longer."

While frailty doesn’t have a common definition, it is often associated with poor grip strength, slow walking speed, weight loss, exhaustion and low levels of physical activity. It is also associated with the accumulation of health issues and accidents such as falls that result in expensive health complications and hospitalization.

Whether a senior is considered frail or pre-frail, or approaching a frail state depends on the severity and number of health issues they experience.

Jones’ study recommends that separate exercise interventions be prescribed for both pre-frail and frail older adults, but both groups should aim to be physically active at least two, if not three, times a week.

The guidelines recommend that both pre-frail and frail seniors complete a multi-component exercise program. Frail older adults should aim to exercise 30 to 45 minutes each session and focus on aerobic conditioning. Those considered to be pre-frail should aim to do 45 to 60 minutes of exercise to improve their lower leg strength and balance.

“Exercise seems to be the key to keeping older people physically independent longer,” says Jones.

According to a 2013 Statistics Canada report, there were about 1 million seniors considered frail and another 1.4 million that were considered to be in pre-frail condition. Many more elderly Canadians, according to Statistics Canada, are expected to become frail over the next 35 years as the country’s population ages.

Jones’ research was recently published in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism.

Gareth Jones gives a local resident with some exercise tips to prevent frailty.

Gareth Jones gives a local resident with some exercise tips to prevent frailty.

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College business program accredited by HRMA

HRMAWhen Ryan Lazauskas graduated from Okanagan College in June with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree, the 27-year-old knew he had written his last college exam. But in the back of his mind, another daunting exam was weighing heavy on him—the National Knowledge Exam, the first step in obtaining the Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP) designation.
 
“I did a lot of research before I chose to study human resources at Okanagan College,” said Lazauskas, who is now a Human Resources Assistant at Tolko Industries. “The program has an excellent reputation and the professors have the industry experience that really makes a difference in the real world. I knew I wanted to pursue the CHRP designation and was confident an education at OC would put me in the best position to be successful after graduation.”
 
However, Lazauskas isn’t going to have to challenge his knowledge with the national exam.
 
Baldev Gill, Chief Operating Officer of the Human Resources Management Association (HRMA) of BC and the Yukon, was in Kelowna Thursday to recognize Okanagan College as an HRMA accredited institution, which means graduates of the Human Resources Management program are exempt from writing the exam. The announcement was welcome news for recent graduates like Lazauskas.
 
“This new accreditation is just one more reason to take business at Okanagan College,” he said. “It’s a lot to expect students to finish their degree, start a new career and at the same time prepare for a really intense exam. I am so glad the program has been accredited by HRMA; it allows new graduates to really focus on building their careers and adjusting to life after post-secondary.”
 
Dr. Heather Banham, Dean of the Okanagan College School of Business, says the accreditation marks a significant achievement for the institution’s human resources specialty.
 
“This agreement represents a tangible outcome ensuring that BBA graduates are well equipped to take on professional roles in organizations of all types and sizes,” says Banham. “Employers can be confident that these students have developed competency in the nine required practice areas and are on their way to attaining certification as a Certified Human Resources Professional.”
 
Lazauskas couldn’t agree more.
 
“This accreditation is a huge step forward for the program,” he said. “The professors at the College bring so much industry knowledge into the classroom and that creates a learning environment that prepares students for the challenges they will face when they enter the workforce.”
 
The agreement will be retroactive for three years, meaning students who graduated with a BBA and human resources management specialty dating back to May of 2013 will receive an exemption from writing the exam, providing they achieved a minimum 70 per cent grade point average. 



Partners collaborate to offer coding fundamentals course

Okanagan College Media Release

 

Okanagan College is teaming up with Lighthouse Labs - one of Canada’s fastest-growing computer coding trainers - to offer an introductory course that will start students on the path to a career in coding.

The Coding Fundamentals course begins Oct. 11 in Kelowna and will provide students with some of the most in-demand skills in the high-tech marketplace. Over the course of 60 hours, students will build their coding literacy and learn the fundamentals of web development. Talented developers will mentor students as they work with templates and create apps using coding languages including Ruby, Sinatra and Swift.

“Coding is garnering a lot of interest from educators and employers,” observes Dr. Dennis Silvestrone, Director of Okanagan College’s Continuing Studies and Corporate Training department. “Lighthouse Labs is a recognized leader in this field. We are excited to collaborate with them on this leading edge course.”

Lighthouse Labs co-founders Jeremy Shaki and Khurram Virani are among those who see the need for more focus on coding and more educational opportunities. During last fall’s federal election, they called on all political leaders to put coding at the forefront of their policy platforms.

“We're disappointed,” they wrote in an open letter. “The tech community is disappointed. And many Canadians, from coast to coast, are disappointed with the lack of discussion on the importance of technology, technology education, and code literacy to drive prosperity and innovation across Canada. We know that technology is the beating heart to drive progress in Canada and that it is the biggest driver of growth in the industrialized world.”

Some levels of government are paying attention. The B.C. government, for instance, announced earlier this year that coding will be a component of its public school curriculum. This came just as an industry analysis revealed that Canada could face a shortage of 182,000 information and communications technology workers by 2019. The new Coding Fundamentals course has been made possible as a result of a Provincial investment in coding programs at several B.C. institutiions.

One Okanagan company with an interest in finding qualified employees and which has experience with Lighthouse Labs is FreshGrade, which has developed apps for use by teachers, parents and students that are in use in 70 countries by more than a million people.

"FreshGrade has always been invested in helping grow the Okanagan tech community, and more developer talent will only support that growth,” says Steve Wandler, Co-Founder of FreshGrade. “It's wonderful to see organizations like Lighthouse Labs come into the community and partner with the Okanagan College to train locals to fill the demand for tech talent."

"We've worked closely with Lighthouse Labs in the past, and are looking forward to seeing the positive impact on Kelowna's industry with the addition of more coding training opportunities."

The course is being offered Tuesday and Thursday evenings, beginning Oct. 11. The cost is $1,800. For more information about the course, visit Okanagan.bc.ca/coding

 



UBC to welcome royal couple at its Okanagan campus

Their Royal Highnesses, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Their Royal Highnesses, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Students, faculty and staff at UBC’s Okanagan campus are preparing to welcome the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to Kelowna later this month.

On September 27, as part of their Canadian tour, their Royal Highnesses, Prince William and Kate Middleton, will visit UBC’s campus in the British Columbia Interior to dedicate a new Aboriginal art installation and take in an exhibition match of the campus’ nationally ranked women’s volleyball team.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Principal Deborah Buszard

Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Principal Deborah Buszard

“It will be an honour to welcome the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to the University of British Columbia and introduce them to the exceptional academic community at UBC’s Okanagan campus,” says Deborah Buszard, UBC deputy vice-chancellor and principal. “I look forward to offering the Duke and Duchess a glimpse of the 21st-century approaches to learning and research that make UBC Okanagan one of the fastest growing university campuses in Canada.”

As part of the royal visit, UBC will also welcome a number of Canadian dignitaries, including B.C. Premier Christy Clark.

Kelowna is one of several cities the royal couple will be visiting. Other locations include Victoria, Bella Bella, and Haida Gwaii in British Columbia and Whitehorse and Carcross in Yukon.

Since being established 10 years ago, the UBC's Okanagan campus has grown to more than 8,000 students representing more than 90 countries and has attracted research partners from around the world.

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Many parents lack the confidence to get their kids to exercise

If Canadian parents are going to get their kids to exercise more, they need more than just public awareness campaigns.

Parents exposed to one such national campaign were actually less confident they could increase their children's activity levels, according to a recent UBC study.

"With statistics outside this study showing 88 per cent of parents believe their children exercise enough and only seven per cent of kids meet recommended guidelines, it is clear more needs to be done," says Heather Gainforth, an assistant professor of health and exercise sciences at UBC's Okanagan campus. "While mass media campaigns appear to increase awareness, parents need the support of public policies and programs to help them successfully encourage behaviour change.

"Without that support, parents may not have the tools they need to help their kids become more active."

As part of her study, Gainforth surveyed 700 parents of children aged 5 to 17 across Canada three months after ParticipACTION’s 2011 “Think Again” campaign aired, and another 700 parents 15 months after.

Gainforth's study found that parents who saw the campaign were on average less confident that they could encourage their kids to exercise more.

The campaign was designed to raise awareness among parents of physical activity guidelines, which call for kids to get at least 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise a day.

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), a lack of exercise is one of the contributing factors that has led more than 25 per cent of Canadian children to become overweight or obese.

Weight problems, according to the PHAC, are a contributor to increased incidents of Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure in children and young people.

Gainforth's study was recently published in the journal of Health, Education and Behaviour. To find out more, visit: heb.sagepub.com/content/43/4/434.abstract

Assist. Prof. Heather Gainforth

Assist. Prof. Heather Gainforth

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New program helps support workers better serve Aboriginal people and communities

Okanagan College Media Release

A new program developed by Okanagan College in collaboration with local First Nations communities and regional Aboriginal organizations will prepare learners to step into community support work assisting Aboriginal individuals and families.

The Aboriginal Community Support Worker Certificate program launches in October at the College’s Salmon Arm campus. It will include a practicum with a local community/human service work employer.

“This program is the product of extensive consultation with bands throughout the Interior of B.C. as well as a number of community entities that serve Aboriginal peoples in the region,” explains Dr. Dennis Silvestrone, Okanagan College’s Director of Continuing Studies and Corporate Training. “We learned there was a need for training that enables community support workers to gain a deeper knowledge of the specific challenges facing Aboriginal individuals and families.”

The College worked closely with members of the Aboriginal community to develop the curriculum and to ensure it was built on a strong foundation of traditional Aboriginal knowledge and culture. Jennifer Leason is one of the scholars who is helping guide the process and make the program a reality.

The Aboriginal Community Support Worker Certificate says it all in its name,” notes Leason, a highly regarded Anishina-kwe scholar and PhD candidate who teaches Women’s Studies at Okanagan College. “The program is about transformative learning and providing culturally safe, relevant and meaningful support when working with Indigenous peoples, families and communities.”

Leason is no stranger when it comes to advancing Indigenous knowledge in the post-secondary sector. She also recently piloted a new course at the College on Canadian Indigenous Women's Perspectives, Indigenous Feminism, Oppression and Resistance. Her research focuses on Indigenous women’s maternal and reproductive health in Canada.

The course includes workshops featuring local Aboriginal knowledge and culture, Elders and other guest speakers from local bands. It is designed for students of all backgrounds (Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal heritage) who are interested in working with the Aboriginal community, notes Leason.

“The approach to designing and delivering the program has been based on collaborative relationships, respectful dialogue and meaningful engagement,” she says. “The course engages students in a process of decolonization and encourages them to work together towards reconciliation. It is truly an innovative and exciting program."

The College is currently looking for organizations in the health and human service work field who are interested in accepting students for practicum placements.

More information about the Aboriginal Community Support Worker Certificate program is available atwww.okanagan.bc.ca/acsw

 



WFN Councillor new Vice-Chair of OC Board of Governors

Okanagan College Media Release

Chris Derickson, a councillor from the Westbank First Nation, is the new-vice chair of Okanagan College’s Board of Governors.Chris Derickson Sept 2016

Derickson, who replaces Doug Manning in the role, has been on the College Board since 2014, has been a Westbank First Nation Council member since 2012, and has a consulting practice working with First Nations communities developing community plans, community engagement strategies, strategic plans, and providing legal research services.

He holds a degree in law from the University of British Columbia and a Bachelor of Arts degree from UBC Okanagan. He is also completing a Masters of Business Administration in Aboriginal and Business Leadership at Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business.

“Chris is a respected community member who brings leadership and planning insight to the Board of Governors,” says Okanagan College Board Chair Connie Denesiuk. “He will be a key asset in the governance of the College as we implement our new strategic plan.”

“I appreciate the vital role that higher education plays in strengthening our communities and transforming individual lives,” says Derickson. “I look forward to continuing to help grow and develop Okanagan College as a key engine in our region’s social and economic progress.”

Manning finished his term with the Board of Governors at the end of July after serving the maximum allowable six years.

“Doug will be missed – he contributed significantly to the College’s growth and development over his tenure on the Board, bringing a sincere concern for student wellbeing and success to our deliberations and decisions,” says Denesiuk.

 



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