Exciting things ahead for GPRC Concert Choir

Spring is around the corner and GPRC’s Concert Choir has a lot to look forward to!

GPRC Fine Arts Instructor, Tina Alexander-Luna and her concert choir received a once in a life-time opportunity this past January.

Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY) extended an invitation to the group to participate in a performance of Handel’s Messiah on the DCINY Concert Series in New York City. This performance in Isaac Stem Auditorium at Carnegie Hall will take place on Sunday, November 25, 2018.

The choir will also be joining forces with the Fort St. John Community Choir in the coming weeks for their Spring Concert performance entitled “Hope Springs Eternal”! The performance will feature the famous “Schubert Mass in G” with string orchestra, as well as some well-known Canadian Folk songs, and Spirituals.

The performance will take place on Saturday, April 7 at 7:30 p.m. in the Douglas J. Cardinal Performing Arts Centre!

Come out and support your local GPRC community talent and hear a 100 voice choir sing these fabulous and timeless selections! Get your tickets here.

Congratulations to Tina and the GPRC Concert Choir singers on this wonderful achievement and recognition.


Howlers Cup Dodgeball Tournament

Howlers Cup Dodgeball Tournament

Round up your troops and come sign up for the Howlers Cup Dodgeball Tournament on Friday, April 13th!

For only $5/player you can enjoy a full day of dodgeball and chances to win many great prizes! Enjoy free food for all and cheap refreshments while supplies last.

All teams participating in Howlers Cup are expected (but not required) to wear matching themed team uniforms. An example of this would be military gear, dresses, beachwear or as hippies. Uniforms must be in good taste and must not be offensive to an individual or group and must not send a poor representation of the Campus Recreation Program or GPRC.

The winning team will receive the Howlers Cup Trophy, Championship T-Shirts, tickets to the year end meltdown party hosted by Howlers Lounge & the Students’ Association.

There will be prizes given for:

  1. First Place finishers
  2. Best Team Uniform
  3. Best Team Haka
  4. Best Team Name
  5. Draw Prizes

Get more information in the registration package which you can pick up today at the Fitness Centre. Spectators are welcome! Come celebrate the ending of another great school year with some fun dodgeball action.

And remember the 5 D’s of dodgeball… “Dodge, Duck, Dip, Dive.. and Dodge!”

For more information, visit our Facebook event page.

Open Educational Resources at GPRC

Open Educational Resources at GPRC

OERs like open access textbooks are currently used in dozens of GPRC courses.

If you’ve noticed your required reading booklist seems to be getting shorter and shorter, you’re not imagining it. Many departments at GPRC are making a push towards a much more accessible, versatile, and inexpensive type of learning material. Open Educational Resources, often abbreviated as OERs, have become increasingly common on post-secondary campuses.

What is an OER?

OERs are non-traditional learning materials that are in the public domain and can be freely and legally used, copied and shared. Increasingly, they are being used as a substitute for traditional learning materials like printed textbooks. Besides free digital textbooks, GPRC also offers OERs in the form of videos, images, sound bytes, articles, and other interactive activities.

OERs are free to use and share, but that is not their only benefit. Multiple styles and forms of OERs can accommodate students who have different needs and preferences when it comes to how they learn.

How are OERs used at GPRC?

Dr. Daryl White has become the first instructor at GPRC to use OERS in all of his courses. White, who teaches history, said he is constantly adapting his teaching style according to student feedback. His students told him not only were they unhappy about the cost of their textbooks, but most found they didn’t end up using them much anyway. Many of White’s students also reported struggling with a heavy reading load throughout the semester, and White found that providing sources students could absorb visually or audibly helped lighten the load.

Of course, not all students have the same preferences. White said that some of his students miss using textbooks – but that number has been surprisingly low. “I’d say it’s probably one or two a year who still want a textbook,” he said. Overwhelmingly, student responses to the change have been “really positive.”

GPRC Business Instructor Cibylla Rakestraw began using OERs when she noticed students were struggling to afford the textbooks she assigned. She explained many textbooks have hidden extra costs attached to them. “Textbook publishers have been enhancing their materials with a lot of peripheral online exercises and that sort of thing,” she said. “Sometimes, students pay for an access code to the online site up to $150. I just don’t think that’s right.” Instead, Rakestraw turns to OERs.

“OERs give me more flexibility,” she said. “They are just as valuable as any other learning materials.”

The OERs used by White, Rakestraw, and many other GPRC faculty members are often developed in-house by GPRC’s own Educational Technologies (Ed Tech) department. When faculty need OERs developed, Ed Tech is where they can go for help.

Further Reading

In February 2018, Labour Education Applied Research North’s (LEARN’s) Research on Digital Educational Resources in Northern Alberta Post-Secondary Education was published by Malatest. The report details current trends with OERs and Digital Education Resources (DERs) in Northern Alberta based on survey research conducted with students at four north Alberta colleges (GPRC, Northern Lakes College, Keyano College, and Portage College). Read the full report here. 

About LEARN: Labour Education Applied Research North is a joint initiative between the Northern Alberta Development Council (NADC) and four northern Alberta post-secondary institutions: Grande Prairie Regional College, Keyano College, Northern Lakes College, and Portage College. More information about LEARN can be found here.

What do you think?

Do you prefer good old ink-and-paper textbooks? Or are you excited by the idea of new, outside-the-box learning materials? Leave a comment and tell us what you think!


Don’t miss out on this incredible leadership opportunity!

Don’t miss out on this incredible leadership opportunity!

Applications for the Ambassador Program are now available for next year here.  I encourage students to consider this co-curricular credit option.  I have enjoyed it very much.  You have so much to gain from this volunteer service group.  I found a place to belong and an opportunity to make a difference.

January 2017 was my first semester back “in school” after 25 years.  It was a tough adjustment for several reasons.  One that left the strongest impression on me was the loneliness.  Coming into school in January between academic years (taking both first and second year classes), I thought I would meet a lot of new people.  I was saddened to find that many students don’t talk to each other.  I didn’t make a single connection.

So, I started looking for ways to get connected.  I found many groups meet at Connection Hour and a few were interesting for me.  However, that unfortunately doesn’t work for me.  I don’t come to school on Wednesdays.  Other options I investigated also had similar little issues for me.

Until I found the Ambassador Program.

What better way to make friends than to join a group of fellow students in a common goal to support all students at GPRC.  We work together on small projects to bring betterment to other students’ days.  Working together is a wonderful way to get to know people and enjoy time spent together.

Alexis, we had so much fun with the Roll Back to School event.  The Spin to Win Wheel was a hoot and the dice were too much fun!  Nysha, I greatly enjoyed setting that event up with you.  It was time well spent!  I am the type of person who feels refreshed and de-stressed when I spend time with others, so this was rewarding for me.

Now, I haven’t even mentioned the perks of the Ambassador Program, and they are amazing!

You get co-curricular credit, recorded right on your transcript!  Tell future prospective employers that you’ve got some experience in leadership, having volunteered all next year with us!

You get free Professional Development (PD) opportunities.  I renewed my First Aid and took the new Mental Health First Aid.  These are just two of the PD the Ambassadors voted for this year.

Another perk is the grey Ambassador backpack you’ve surely seen some of us wearing.  It’s new this year and its been a great backpack.  We’ve already got some new ideas for “swag” for next year.  You’ll have to join us to check it out.

Yes, I do plan to return next year.  I still have to get my idea for a support group for parents-who-are-students off and running!  That’s another rewarding aspect of Ambassadors.  We can start and run new events and groups that enhance student wellness and success.  These are the perfect opportunities to gain experience in leadership.  Support from various college departments is available to Ambassadors working with a valuable idea for the betterment of GPRC students.

Coming from a background of 25 years in the workforce, I will tell you that experience like this makes your education even more valuable to prospective employers.  It helps break that cycle of education-but-no-experience we start out with when we graduate.  It’s time well spent.

For more information, check out the website, ask an Ambassador, or inquire at Student Services.

See you next year!

Tammy Buchinski,

Proud Ambassador

Reflections on Growing the North

Reflections on Growing the North

GPRC Business students attending the Growing the North Conference with GPRC President Don Gnatiuk, Minister of Energy Marg McCuaig-Boyd, Minister of Economic Development Deron Bilous, GPRC Board of Governors Chair Natalia Reiman, and members of the Research & Innovation team

Thanks to support from members of the Grande Prairie Regional Innovation Network and generous sponsors in the community, 16 GPRC students from the Business Administration program were able to attend the 9th annual Growing the North business conference this year. Terrilyn Parent was one of these lucky students. Here’s what she took away from this unique learning experience.

“I was sponsored by the Swan City Rotary Club to attend the Growing the North Business Conference in Grande Prairie on February 21 and 22. As a current GPRC business student, I thought this conference was such a huge success and has been one of the best things I have been given the chance to experience firsthand.

The entire conference, start to finish, was very informative and inspirational. The speakers were all incredibly knowledgeable in their fields and great at public and motivational speaking. The catering provided by Evergreen Park was also a great bonus.

My favourite quote that will forever change the way I look at the world was when keynote speaker, writer and community builder, Chris Fields mentioned, “We need to be the pink shirt at a table full of white shirts.” This really made me look at my own self and no longer judge my creative skills, even if my ideas are different from those of my peers. I learned that it’s okay to allow my creativity to come out in my personal and professional life and not to fear my differences.

During this conference I was given the opportunity to network with so many business professionals as well as members of the Chamber of Commerce and local government leaders. This networking gave me a bigger perspective on how the economy is running in Grande Prairie and how businesses are trying to recover after the recession we just had. I also got to see how the economy has affected local businesses in all industries and was given some great tips on how to strategically survive through future recessions.

Many of the speakers touched on the topic of fearing change and how fear can inhibit professional and personal growth. This really hit home as I often fear changes in my own life and find I thrive best in routine. Changes often throw me for a loop, but now I see these moments of change have also brought about the most growth in my life and have shown how resilient I can be when it feels as if the world is crashing down. The speakers have influenced me to believe it’s okay to be brave during these challenging times and push through, even though I may not know what the result will look like.

One final takeaway from this conference that really hit home was a quote by Bruce Vincent, President of the non-profit organization Communities for a Great Northwest. He mentioned in his speech, “The world is run by those that show up and when people lead, leaders follow.” This reminded me that showing up in life is half the battle. Whether it’s class, work or some other area of my life, the important part is that I show up and give my best in all that I do. I also took this to mean that I need to look up to and follow those that stand out of the crowd if I want to one day be considered a leader in my own career.

Overall, I really feel like this conference has changed my perspective on life and will have a great impact on my future. I will be using this newfound knowledge and change of perspective in April as I embark on a new journey to pursue my business hopes and dreams. If you are given the opportunity to attend this conference, do not let the opportunity pass you by. It is worth the commitment and the time spent.”


– By Terrilyn Parent, GPRC Business Administration Student

GPRC Business student Terrilyn Parent poses with Brian Glavin, President Elect of the Swan City Rotary Club, who sponsored Terrilyn’s conference experience.