TCC 2012 Online Conference: Day #1

By Marisa Yamada, Guest Contributor
University of Hawai‘i, Educational Technology Online Master’s Degree Candidate  

As the first day of the TCC 2012 Online Conference comes to a close, I find my brain brimming with all the things I learned from a day full of great presentations.  From topics ranging from Stanford’s SMILE program to Teaching Marine Species ID Using Web Based Learning Modules and everything in between,  the conference seamlessly moved forward with an unrelenting pace!

One particularly interesting presentation, presented by Kirsti Dyer MD, was Growing Online Education & Use: Sedentary Lifestyles, Rising Obesity, and Overweight Rates. It raised the question of whether e-learning makes us fat.  I thought she did a stellar job in motivating me to think about my health and behavior during my online era vs. my pre-online days. With straightforward questions like, “What has happened to your weight since taking or teaching online classes?  Gained, Maintained, or Lost?” and “How many hours do you spend online each day (work and non work)?” she forced me to stop and think about how time flies when we’re online and  how some of us forget to stand up every once in a while to get all that healthy circulation going that helps to prevent chronic diseases down the road.  I know that after her presentation, I found myself standing up more often from the chair and vowing to eat healthier and exercise more and this on a non New Years Day.

Dr. Dyer is right. It is a serious concern, especially for lifelong online learners and faculty.  Whether it is sitting on a bouncing ball in front of our computers or taking scheduled exercise breaks during an online class, we must find ways to integrate healthier living and sustainable housing with our online learning.

Readers: If you were an online conference participant, how were you personally affected by one or more of the presentations? Share your response by contributing a comment or two in the area below.

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6 Responses to TCC 2012 Online Conference: Day #1

  1. Nan Ketpura-Ching says:

    I’ve definitely gained weight since starting the online M.Ed. program. Since starting the program in Aug 2011, I find myself being on some kind of device either the laptop, iPhone, or iPad almost every moment while I’m awake. I didn’t realize how heavily sedentary my lifestyle has become until recently! In the last few weeks, I’ve vowed to be more mindful of what I’m eating as well as taking the time to exercise regularly.

    • Marisa says:

      Thanks for your reply! I agree, I found myself being in a technology loop where I had to check my iphone email several times a day when I wasn’t on the computer, and needing the devices near me at all times (I even use my phone as an alarm clock). I’ve been slowly weaning myself off the loop and trying to be more active. Dr. Dyer’s presentation was a wake up call!

  2. There’s no doubt in my mind that e-Learning contributes to unhealthy weight gain. I’ve always considered this aspect of my academic journey to be additional “baggage” I could do without. Ironically, for many of us who spend the majority of our day behind a work desk only to be greeted by another chair at home, these are the educational shackles we must endure for sake of improving our quality of life (monetarily speaking). For me personally, I’ve been in school for nearly 7 concurrent years now. I definitely believe there’s a strong correlation between the sedentary lifestyle associated with e-learning and my weight. When it comes to exercise, I’m usually burnt out mentally, which often times has a direct affect on my physical ability to get my energy flowing. I’m looking forward to the end of my program so I can dedicate more time getting fit instead of getting fat. :/

    @Marissa: I really like the ball idea. This weekend will be dedicated to getting an exercise ball to help build my core. The Good Lord knows I need it! 😉

    • Marisa says:

      Thank you for your comments! Did you end up getting the exercise ball for building core strength? Until the technology which allows the average worker to not be shackled to their desk becomes mainstream, work places of the near future really need to take into consideration the comfort and health of the employee.

  3. Kirsti A. Dyer MD, MS says:

    Marisa. Thanks for the comments on the Growing Online Education and Use, Sedentary Lifestyles, Rising Obesity and Overweight Rates: Are there connections? I didn’t find your post until now.

    Glad to know it made an impact.

    • Marisa says:

      Dr. Dyer,
      Thank you! Your presentation truly made an impact as I have renewed my efforts in being more active and making healthy choices. I have added jogging to my exercise routine and taking more breaks from the computer. I still remember your image of the customized Stand-Up keyboard! Making students in an online class stand up and take a 5 minute break once in a while should be a requirement for all online courses! Thank you for the inspiration.

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