Fitness test undergoes changes, improvements

first_imgThe Class of 2016 will experience a new wave of fitness testing during the next academic year. The Physical Education and Wellness Department recently implemented an additional fitness test, called a post-test, to occur in April of students’ freshman years, in addition to the swim test and pre-test in August. Steve Bender, a visiting faculty instructor to the department, said the staff conducted a successful trial run of the post-test at the Loftus Center on members of the current freshman class last week. “The feedback that we’ve gotten has been incredible and the test exceeded our expectations,” Bender said. “We had probably 90 to 95 percent of the students actually ‘go for it’ by pushing themselves and not blowing it off.” The new test will consist of pushups, sit-ups, a 1.5-mile run, and sit-and-reach flexibility, Bender said. He said instructors used to administer the fitness test during the Contemporary Topics course, and the test’s components were at the discretion of the instructor. “We decided to make it consistent and thought we’d get better results in a larger group,” Bender said. “Sometimes if you had 30 people in your Contemporary Topics class and walked during the test, it was obvious and you stood out.” “We thought that if there were 200 people on the track at the same time, nobody cared and nobody would notice at all,” he added. Bender said the primary benefit of the new system would be the instant feedback on levels of muscular fitness and cardiovascular endurance. “The student will be able to log in online and know right off the bat where their results fit in nationally,” he said. “They’ll also be able to see where they are in comparison to males and females at Notre Dame.” A goal of the department is to show that physical education is a part of a student’s academic experience, Bender said. “The more fit you are, the better student you’ll be as fiscal and physical go hand-in-hand,” Bender said. “We’re trying to show that fitness is a lifestyle, so if we can extend it throughout your freshman year, then you’ll have a better chance the next three years of keeping with it … Instead of a one-shot deal, we’re trying to set the tone and hopefully the it stays with you throughout your whole life.” Overall, Bender said he was pleased with the results from the trial run and is ready for the fall. “We always knew Notre Dame students were ultra-competitive in the classroom. That carried over to the test, too,” he said. The fitness training learned during freshman year physical education should apply to finals week and the days leading up to it, Bender said. “I recommend 30 minutes of some kind of cardiovascular exercise each day to get you away from the monotony of sitting in front of that computer or reading that book,” Bender said. “Sometimes you don’t think you have that 30 minutes, but when you come back, it’s just like taking a 5-Hour Energy, as you’ve got that energy and it stays with you longer.”last_img read more

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Nobel Prize winner speaks at ND Forum event

first_img“We need all students, whatever their future careers are going to be, to be able to think about science more like scientists do,” Nobel Prize winner Carl Wieman said as he urged Notre Dame to take a second look at education during Monday’s Notre Dame Forum event.Wieman’s presentation, “Taking a Scientific Approach to Science Education,” is the first in a series of discussions that asks, “What do Notre Dame Graduates Need to Know?” In his lecture, Wieman offered an answer that stressed the learning experience as opposed to the learned material itself.By the time a person becomes an authority in their field, they have developed a certain way of thinking about their discipline that gives them expertise, Wieman said. Students can begin to gain this expertise in a subject if they are exposed to a classroom environment that promotes discussion and interaction, rather than the standard lecture format most classes currently use, he said.“It’s not that the knowledge [of a subject] is absolutely important, but what really matters is to have knowledge integrated with these broader underlying aspects of expert thinking,” Wieman said. “Because that’s really when the knowledge is useful, rather than a bunch of memorized facts that you can’t do anything with.”While field experts are preferred to teach undergraduate courses, they may not initially understand the importance of this approach because of their own expertise, Wieman said.“One of the challenges of actually being a good teacher if you’re an expert, particularly of introductory students, is that the way you think your brain worked when it was at their level is fundamentally wrong, because there’s no way for the brain to know it’s changing … your brain is just plain different than [it] was when you were a beginning student,” he said.Wieman said the focus on research in many universities could also impact education.“We developed a system at research universities where really the only thing that’s measured — and it’s measured very carefully — is research productivity,” Wieman said. “And that’s what gets measured and rewarded. And so, as a person who’s done lots of science research I appreciate that. … It’s created the wonderfully productive research university system we have.”Wieman said universities’ obsession with efficiency may decrease the quality of research.“The problem is that because it’s the only thing that’s measured – it’s so effective at what it does – the collateral damage is that diverting even a small amount of time to pay attention to teaching and doing it more effectively penalizes a person and penalizes a department,” Wieman said. “So we have to fix that basic system.”Notre Dame physics professor Michael Hildreth said Wieman’s contribution to the Notre Dame Forum addressed an important topic that the University itself hopes to address.“The forum is supposed to address what Notre Dame students should know when they graduate, or I would rather phrase it, what Notre Dame students should learn while they’re here,” he said. “Too often we get bogged down in what students should know, which is really focused on topics. … I would rather turn that around to look at process. I would like to think that we would teach the students how to think.”Tags: Carl Wieman, Notre Dame Forum, Science Education, Scientific approachlast_img read more

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