Pilot First Year class creates fitness fun

Photo by ZEB ROLLINS | The Ranger
Students play volleyball in a lifetime fitness class at Carter Fitness Center. Students can earn credit for the new First Year Seminar fitness and wellness section, but it is not a typical physical education class such as lifetime fitness.

A pilot First Year Seminar class this semester offers on-campus fitness opportunities for new students.

The First Year Seminar is designed to prepare incoming students for college life. Now, First Year Seminar is elective for most students. It’s required only for general studies and ACE Scholars, said Dr. Lana Jackson, First Year Experience department chairwoman.

In fall 2014, First Year Seminar courses will be required of all incoming students, Jackson said.

Seminar classes can be taken online or as a hybrid. According to the AC website, a hybrid class delivers instruction 50 percent online and 50 percent through face-to-face contact.

The fitness and wellness portion of the seminar class breaks the barrier between mental and physical concepts to visualize the body as a whole, thus helping students improve themselves.

Most First Year Seminar classes offer three credit hours’ credit, Jackson said. In the hybrid or online classes, students create a wellness plan that does not require on-campus workouts.

There’s a pilot two-hour hybrid-only section of the fitness and wellness portion, Jackson said. It does require in-person campus workouts because it’s paired with a fitness and wellness class, PHED 1164.

“Exercise enhances cognitive function and contributes to overall student success,” said Patricia McGuire, a First Year Seminar hybrid-class instructor. “It increases self-esteem and decreases negative stress responses.”

McGuire also serves as an AC physical education instructor.

The pilot two-hour fitness and wellness section combines mental and physical exercises. Typically, students take quizzes while on cardio machines and finish by doing weight exercises. The class has access to iPad technology in conjunction with a class smart board.

Trena Rider, mentoring program coordinator and a former intramurals specialist, said she believes the First Year Seminar class has a multiple-portion composition.

“It’s eating right, working out, all the components it takes to be a healthy person, merged with what it takes to be a good student,” she said.

Taking desks out of the classroom and replacing them with a YMCA may be difficult for some students. Some may prefer a more traditional learning style.

Mary Frazier, a biology major, said it’s good to work out and good to study but that they should be separated.

The primary concern with the fitness and academics seminar class is retention. Due to its design, it measures whether students can focus on the task at hand while strained physically.