Back to School Story Ideas
Social Media in the Classroom
This fall when students get back to class, they may find that more professors are using social media technologies for educational purposes. Some professors are experimenting and retrofitting web tools that were originally designed for entertainment and ecommerce, seeking to leverage their popularity for pedagogical aims.
Sidney Eve Matrix, a professor in the Film and Media Department at Queen’s University, teaches popular culture and mass communications. Matrix can speak to the ways that she is using digital and social media technologies such as clickers for gauging student opinion, webCT virtual learning environment, iTunesU, Twitter, and Facebook to help students communicate and connect, facilitate self-directed learning, make course materials accessible on-demand, and keep classes relevant and connected to the world outside the campus.
Professor Sidney Eve Matrix, Film and Mediamatrixs@queensu.ca
Adjusting to University
Challenges for Students90% of first year students choose to live in residence at Queen’s; that’s over 3,500 students from 83 countries. Liz Leal Conrad, Director of Residence Life can discuss common issues and advice for first year students including:• Communicating with professors and dealing with a drop in marks• Dealing with feeling homesick• Exploring their own personal values, beliefs and biases• Maintaining healthy behaviour when it comes to sex, alcohol, drugs, sleep and stress • Being exposed to people who are different • Developing self-esteem and self-confidence• Exploring their own spiritual, religious, political, sexuality and social belief systems• Managing money
Liz Leal Conrad, Director of Residence Life, Queen’s Universityliz.firstname.lastname@example.org
Challenges for ParentsThe university experience is filled with new beginnings and new experiences for parents too.
“Parents must learn how to encourage their child’s life-management skills by ‘standing back’ and letting their child deal with some of the adversities that university brings. At the same time, parents can model, support and teach effective self-advocacy skills,” says Mike Condra, Director of Health, Counselling and Disability Services.
Dr. Condra can discuss challenges for parents including: • Dealing with the sense of loss• Dealing with guilt for feeling new freedoms• How university life has changed since they were there• Expectations surrounding their children • How the path that parents have to walk in this year is very similar to the path their child is walking
Mike Condra, Director of Health, Counselling and Disability Services, Queen’s Universitycondram@queensu.ca
Services for Students with Disabilities
“The number of students with disabilities who will attend post-secondary institutions over the next several years is expected to increase,” says Michele Chittenden, Coordinator, Library Services for Students with Disabilities/Research and Instruction Librarian, Adaptive Technology Centre.
The Adaptive Technology Centre in the Stauffer Library at Queen’s is recognized as a national role model in the provision of services to students with disabilities. Other universities visit the centre to replicate its services, and the centre is used as a recruiting tool to attract prospective students.
Last year, over 250 students with learning, physical and psychiatric disabilities visited the centre to use:• Cutting-edge assistive software• Braille, large print and audio textbooks• Digital recorders and note-taking devices
Michele Chittenden, Coordinator, Adaptive Technology Centrechittend@queensu.ca
Students who utilize the centre may also be available to speak to reporters.
The Freshman 15
Tips to Avoid the Freshman 15University folklore says that freshmen can expect to gain 15 or more pounds in their first year of university. Is this weight gain inevitable?
Robert Ross, School of Kinesiology and Health Studies and the Department of Medicine, Endocrinology and Metabolism, at Queen’s can talk about obesity, and strategies to prevent and reduce weight gain and related metabolic risk factors. He also has tips on how to avoid the dreaded Freshman 15 including:• Exercise! Walk, bike or rollerblade to school or try to fit in workouts between classes.• Avoid late night eating. If you can stay away from pizza at 1 am you’ll be doing yourself a favour. Keep the bulk of your calories during the day when you are most active.• Plan your meals. Decide what you will eat before going to the cafeteria and try not to waiver in line.• Drinking in moderation. Alcohol is full of calories and limiting your consumption will make a world of difference.• Don’t stress out! You will be far more productive if you are rested, relaxed, eating healthy and exercising.• Make it a team effort. Chances are your friends are battling the freshman 15 as well so why not stick together and help each other make better choices.• Get your beauty sleep. Rest is important to eating well and getting your exercise. You are more likely to be productive after a good night’s sleep.• Be part of a team. Joining an intramural sport or a club that participates in physical activity is a great way to stay active, meet friends and have a good time.• Challenge yourself! Try an exercise challenge with your classmates or floor mates to only take the stairs below the 5th floor.• Eat right. Your body needs good nutrition so think about whole grains, fruits and vegetables, low fat dairy products, lean protein sources and healthy fats. Fibre, fats and proteins keep you full and carbohydrates keep your brain fueled.Robert Ross, Director of CORE (Centre for Obesity Research and Education)email@example.com
A Student PerspectivePeter Janiszewski, PhD student, can also talk about the Freshman 15 from a student’s perspective. In Peter’s case, the initial stress of being away from home, the foreign environment, and eating cafeteria food instead of his mother's delicious cooking actually caused him to lose weight during his first semester.
Peter Janiszewski, 4th year PhD student in the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies firstname.lastname@example.org
To arrange an interview, please contact Jeff Drake at 613.533.2877 email@example.com or Stephanie Earp at 613.533.6000 ext. 79173 firstname.lastname@example.org, News and Media Services, Queen’s University.