UWindsor Together: Student Mental Health and Remote Learning Services
Danielle SaltersMaster’s student Danielle Salters is leading research with kinesiology professor Sara Scharoun Benson into attitudes toward inclusive physical education. The project focuses on teachers in training.

Study focuses on attitudes toward physical education that includes children with disabilities

When UWindsor’s Danielle Salters taught elementary school in London, England, she encountered children who had never participated in physical education with their classmates.

“Students with special needs were given another activity and told to go off and play by themselves,” said Salters. “I insisted on including them, and for some, that was a first.”

Perspectives on inclusive physical education (PE) are likely formed during a teacher’s own education, says Salters, a Master’s of Human Kinetics student who earned bachelor’s degrees in HK and education at the University of Windsor. So, together with UWindsor kinesiology professor Sara Scharoun Benson, Salters has begun a study on the next generation of teachers’ attitudes about the subject.

Dr. Scharoun Benson and Salters have been awarded a $10,000 research grant from the WE-Spark Health Institute, an agency founded by the University of Windsor, Windsor Regional Hospital, Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare, and St. Clair College to fund and share local research into health and well-being. It is one of five UWindsor research projects funded under WE-Spark’s Igniting Discovery grant program this year.

For the study, Salters is interviewing kinesiology students and students in UWindsor’s Bachelor of Education program, comparing the information gleaned from each group. Kinesiology students were also invited to complete an online questionnaire assessing attitudes about inclusive PE. The researchers plan to publish papers on the insights they gain and share their findings with the faculties and community agencies.

There has been little research on how teachers in training — called pre-service teachers — feel about inclusive PE, Scharoun Benson said.

“Literature to date has generally focused on the perspectives of in-service teachers, and research on pre-service teachers has primarily focused on teacher training programs,” said Scharoun Benson. “Pre-service teachers have different educational and experiential backgrounds, resulting in mixed feelings towards inclusion.”

In Ontario, most elementary PE classes are delivered by generalist teachers, instead of PE specialists with a background in kinesiology or physical education, Scharoun Benson said.

“Kinesiology students who may be interested in or intent on becoming a PE specialist teacher may have different perspectives than pre-service generalist teachers.”

The study builds on the work Salters has done in a graduate course with Scharoun Benson where she assessed pre-service teacher attitudes toward inclusive PE with an online survey. It meshes with Scharoun Benson’s research focus on motor development in children.

It has been well-established that PE and sport, when taught properly, can improve the participants’ quality of life, health, and well-being, Scharoun Benson said.

“Yet research has demonstrated  PE teachers generally lack confidence and do not feel prepared to teach inclusive PE. As a result, students with disabilities often find themselves in disjointed, non-participatory PE classes that undermine the right to a full educational experience.”

Salters said she hopes her research changes that.

“There are always ways we can include children with disabilities,” she said. “What we want is to increase the awareness of the importance of inclusive PE.”

—Sarah Sacheli

Grad photo in frameEligible graduands can win a diploma frame or gift card in a contest from the Registrar’s Office.

Contest to trade grad photos for prize ballots

UWindsor graduates will have the chance to showcase their academic achievements thanks to a contest from the Registrar’s Office.

The contest runs until May 18 and allows all eligible graduands to win one of two custom diploma frames or one of two $50 University of Windsor Book Store gift cards.

Students are asked to upload a photo of themselves to Marching Order from the 2021 Virtual Spring Convocation website to win.

Those photos will be featured in the virtual convocation, which will run from June 7 to 16.

All students who have already uploaded their photo will automatically be entered into the contest.

Winners will be randomly drawn from the pool of all entries who submitted their photos on May 19.

The Office of Alumni Affairs generously donated the two custom frames, and the Office of Enrolment Management presented the two gift cards.

For more information about the contest and to submit your photo, visit convocation.uwindsor.ca.

Anmoldeep KaurAnmoldeep Kaur pitched an AI device to create personalized experiences during remote learning as her final project in the course “Emerging Paradigms in Computing Technologies.”

Students offer high-tech improvements to distance education

In a Dragon’s Den-style pitch scenario, the students of “Emerging Paradigms in Computing Technologies,” a graduate-level course in the Master of Applied Computing program, got a chance to sell their ideas for using emerging technologies to improve distance education in Ontario.

Instructor Victoria Abboud says she developed the scenario to engage students with a series of learning activities through the semester. It posits the University of Windsor, in partnership with eCampus Ontario, investing $20 million in a five-year-plan to implement emerging technologies for distance learning.

“Students complete a series of artefacts throughout the semester, including a business case, use-case models, and risk assessments, among others, ” says Dr. Abboud.

As a wrap to the semester, the students share all of their work as one portfolio and present their pitch to the fictitious “Emerging Technology Committee,” made up of industry professionals who served as guest speakers during the semester.

“They learn how to translate their technical expertise for professional audiences by using critical review strategies and project management techniques,” says Abboud.

“These students are working remotely across the world right now — creating a strong team dynamic while juggling time zones and a completely virtual environment is difficult, to say the least. The course helps them adapt their technical knowledge and experience to address a current challenge that students and workers across the globe are trying to address.”

The teams unveiled their plans on April 7 to panellists Ziad Kobti, director of the School of Computer Science, and Yousef Jeraiseh, a strategic account manager with Next Dimension, a provider of information technology services in the Windsor area.

During 10-minute virtual presentations, students made an effort to impress the panel in hopes of securing investment from the UWindsor and eCampus Ontario partnership.

Anmoldeep Kaur and Darshil Maganbhai Bhakhar pitched an artificial intelligence (AI) device that would create personalized experiences for teachers and students during remote learning. They presented a business case, use-case model, risk assessment, and mitigation plan.

“Everyone is restricted to their homes and students are struggling to do their best on their own. Teachers also have lots of work and need to manage the difficulties of remote delivery,” says Kaur.

“We would provide a personalized experience, through AI, for teacher and student. The AI can predict the behaviour of the user and create a personalized timetable for them to follow so they can perform at their best.”

Abboud says the final portfolios and presentations are the culmination of the students’ semester of effort.

“This is an intense course where I guide them through different types of artefacts that are typically required of technical experts in business environments — these artefacts include actor maps, meeting agendas and minutes, team contracts, risk assessments, business cases, and budgets,” says Abboud.

“The live pitch presentation adds one more realistic real-life workplace element.”

The pitches may not result in actual investment money, but the teams were competing for the top three spots in the class with gift card prizes of $100 per member of the winning team, $75 for second place, and $50 for finishing third.

—Sara Elliott

Sheila WrightSheila Wright will receive the Ontario Volunteer Service Award for her work with the University of Windsor and its alumni association.

Alumna to receive recognition with Ontario Volunteer Service Award

The University of Windsor Alumni Association has nominated Sheila Wright (BA 1961) as a 2021 recipient of the Ontario Volunteer Service Award in recognition of her long record with the association and the University.

The awards recognize volunteers for providing committed and dedicated service to an organization, with recipients receiving a stylized trillium service pin and a personalized certificate to acknowledge their years of service.

Wright, a former member of the association’s board of directors currently serving on the alumni awards committee and the executive committee of the Alumni Sports Hall of Fame, will be honoured for the milestone of 15 years of service.

She joins previous UWindsor alumni honorees including Bill Wright (BA 1970, LLB 1973), Jean Wright (BA 1971, B.Ed 1972), Audrey Thibert (BA 1962, LLD 2004) and Roger Thibert (BA 1951, DSc 2004).

Sheila Wright retired from a 34-year teaching career focused on history and physical and health education during which she coached basketball, volleyball, track and field, gymnastics, and synchronized swimming.

She began her career as a volunteer on campus in 2002 as a director on the board of the Alumni Association. Her work on a variety of committees until 2008 made her instrumental in key projects including the establishment of the Alumni Wall of Achievement in the Student Centre and helping to establish the Alumni Odyssey Award, which recognizes distinguished alumni in the early years of their career. Wright’s other campus causes include support for the Faculty of Education, Head Start, and Convocation — not to mention Lancer athletics.

“Sheila is the ultimate alumni ambassador and fan of the University of Windsor,” says Alumni Association president Ken Alexander (BPA 1987, LLB 1992). “On behalf of the Alumni Association, we extend Sheila congratulations on this honour and thank her for her ongoing contributions to the entire campus community.”

Wright’s previous honours include the 2009 Clark Award, the 2011 A-Award, and the 2019 Richard Peddie Award. She will join other local recipients of the Ontario Volunteer Service Awards at a conferral ceremony this fall.

For more information about the Alumni Association and its volunteer programs, visit www.uwindsor.ca/alumni.

Smoke-free campus graphicThe University of Windsor will become an entirely smoke-free campus in fall 2021.

Campus to go smoke-free this fall

In fall 2021 the University of Windsor will join a growing number of post-secondary institutions in becoming an entirely smoke-free campus.

The process began in March 2020 as the University reached out to the campus community for help in shaping the Smoke-Free Campus policy and its associated education, awareness raising, supports, and enforcement strategies. The initiative was temporarily put on hold as the University moved to an essential services model in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a recent report from the Canadian Cancer Society, more than 95 Canadian universities and colleges are now 100 per cent smoke-free. As the University continues planning for a safe and gradual return to campus, the timing is now right to move forward with this important community health initiative.

Becoming a smoke-free campus — which includes tobacco, cannabis and vaping — is a significant milestone in the University’s ongoing effort to foster a healthy and safe learning and working environment for all. As well, it provides an opportunity to enhance awareness about the health risks associated with tobacco use, cannabis use, and vaping.

A smoke-free campus also provides a physical environment that supports individuals in their efforts to resist or quit smoking. There will be some exceptions to the policy, including burning of the traditional and sacred medicines that are part of Indigenous cultural and spiritual practices.

To plan and prepare for this change to campus, the University established a steering committee as well as two working groups with representation from students, staff, faculty, and subject-matter experts. The information gathered through the campus consultation activities held in 2020 will shape the work of the steering committee and working groups.

In the coming months, as the Smoke-Free Campus policy is drafted, members of the campus community will have an opportunity to provide additional feedback. Throughout the process, questions, ideas, and concerns can be shared through the “Share Your Thoughts” online form on the Smoke-Free Campus website: www.uwindsor.ca/smokefreecampus.

Did you know?

  • Smoking remains one of the leading causes of preventable death in Canada, with 37,000 Canadians dying from smoking related conditions annually (the Lung Association of Ontario, 2018);
  • Second-hand smoke causes more than 800 heart disease and lung cancer deaths in Canada annually (Health Canada);
  • Studies have determined that an individual’s health will begin to improve as soon as 20 minutes after quitting (www.smokershelpline.ca).
people building light bulbThe Entrepreneurship Practice and Innovation Centre (EPICentre) is hosting the May 14 Flourishing Social Enterprise Summit.

Online summit to explore social enterprise

An online event May 14 will provide a view to business making a positive impact on the social and environmental challenges facing the world.

The Entrepreneurship Practice and Innovation Centre (EPICentre) is hosting the Flourishing Social Enterprise Summit, which promises:

  • speaker sessions with local and regional social entrepreneurs;
  • learning opportunities focused on fundamentals to starting a social enterprise and measuring its impact;
  • connections with community members interested in social innovation.

A full program schedule will be made available closer to the event.

Registration is free; learn more on the event website.