Incoming freshmen at Oral Roberts University, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, need more than textbooks and writing utensils. As part of the university’s “Whole Person Education” system, each new student is required to purchase a Fitbit wearable tracking device.

In prior years, ORU students recorded their exercise pursuits in journals, although use of wearable tracking technology was encouraged. The current program began last year.

“ORU offers one of the most unique educational approaches in the world by focusing on the whole person—mind, body and spirit,” said ORU President William M. Wilson, in a press release. “The marriage of new technology with our physical fitness requirements is something that sets ORU apart. In fact, when we began this innovative program in the fall of 2015, we were the first university in the world to offer this unique approach to a fitness program.”

Although only first-year students are required to use the Fitbit, all students have access to the program. Tracking fitness activities is now easier, since Fitbit data is entered into a Brightspace™ D2L gradebook.

What do you think about this initiative? Email your thoughts to [email protected].

Ryan Halvorson

Ryan Halvorson is an award-winning writer and editor. He is a long-time author and presenter for IDEA Health & Fitness Association, fitness industry consultant and former director of group training for Bird Rock Fit. He is also a Master Trainer for TriggerPoint.

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