Interesting class: Healthy lifestyle
Oakland University has adapted to students’ needs, expanding intellectual horizons to offer nontraditional courses that stretch beyond core subjects and allow students to explore other areas of interest. OU News Bureau reporter Emily Weitz caught up with Professor Terry Dibble to learn about a class called Healthy Lifestyle Choices (EXS 560).
It is a course that is really about changing behaviors, so the course covers a number of different theories and models related to behavior change. We use and apply them in class, so they are actually working with someone as part of the semester to help with behavior change.
How popular is it?
It’s pretty popular. We offer it every semester, and actually this semester there are two sections of it.
Why does OU offer it?
[The class is offered] for students that are wanting to learn how to work with people and getting them to change behavior, or just learning more about that whole process. It’s part of exercise science; people in the health science need that because they have people that come to them that want to change, they want to start exercising or quit smoking or whatever the case may be.
How do you teach it?
I usually teach a combination of lecture and group. Typically what I’ll do is lecture for maybe an hour and the rest is spent on group work related to the lecture, or I have them reading assignments and they’ll have discussions relating to those assignments. The course covers a number of different theories and models related to behavior change; we use and apply them in class, so they are actually working with someone as part of the semester to help with a certain behavior change. The person they’re working with isn’t necessarily in the class. It could be a friend or family member; we’ll have a discussion about how they’re doing with that.
Give an example:
One of the things we just finished talking about is called “trans-theoretical model,” and there are different aspects to it. What I had them do after the lecture was sit down and work on case studies and figure out where these people are; it’s called the “stages of change.” The idea is to figure out where that person is in their readiness to change.
How hard is it?
(Laughs) It’s not particularly hard; there is a lot of reading involved. I have them doing an assignment every week; it is a two-credit course. The hard part would be for people that are not good at writing.
What do students gain from it?
I think [students] gain a good working knowledge of how to help people make change, even for themselves. A lot of people get a lot of personal value out of it, because we all have things we want to change, right?
What’s the best lecture?
I like to think all of them are the best. I think the “stages of change” lecture is probably the best only because it’s kind of the basis for a lot of other things we do in the course.
Who takes this class?
People in health sciences, nursing, exercise science, physical therapy, and people in the wellness program.
How often is it offered?
Every semester. It’s offered in the summer too, as an online course.
How long have we offered it?
I have taught it for six years. [It has been offered] at least eight, I think.
Natalie Abrhiem, 21, of Sterling Heights took the lifestyle choices class. Here’s what she had to say:
What do you think of the class?
This class really puts into perspective our health and wellness and the right ways to approach a quality way of life. Professor Dibble presents the material very well and explains a positive coaching style towards for those who are interested in working towards a healthy approach to health and wellness in their lives. This class also explores different theories, models and interventions for health related situations. It was very useful and well worth taking as a course at Oakland University.
Why should a student take it?
A student should take this class because the material presented provides skills for those interested in entering health care professions and teaches them how to help implement a healthy lifestyle for others. This course also focuses on the psychological aspect of health as well as the dimensions of wellness, which is necessary for all health care professionals or those interested in the field of efficient health and wellness.Tweet
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