Crackin’ Cases

Crackin’ Cases

This past weekend, your GPRC Deans of Business Case Team competed in the 13th annual Alberta Deans of Business Case Competition in Edmonton. This year’s competition was co-hosted by Grant MacEwan and Norquest, which took place between March 22 and 24. Every spring the top business and commerce students in the province gather to solve a case regarding a specific company and it’s potential problems, with the focus being on accounting, marketing, business strategy, and finance areas of the company. The teams only get 9 hours to read, analyze, crunch numbers, prepare a PowerPoint, and present a solution to the business’ problems. It’s a fast paced, high stakes day with a cash reward of $4,000 for the first-place team that creates the winning presentation – and if that doesn’t sound intense enough, the following day you must present your PowerPoint to a panel of judges. That’s right- it also includes public speaking (gasps of horror come from all the terrified students that public speaking claims victim to).

This year’s team consisted of (from left to right in the featured picture)

  • Riley Kjemhus– Second year Business Admin., Accounting Major
  • Mykel Lewsaw– Second year Business Admin., Accounting Major
  • Alexis Nellis (captain)- Second year Business Admin., Accounting Major
  • Brittney Commet– Second year Business Admin., Accounting Major
  • Kiersten Giesbrecht– Third year BBA SAIT collaboration, Accounting Major
  • Josh Hrushka– First year Business Admin., Marketing Major

Sound interesting? Well you’re in luck! If you read on, you’ll be walked through a summarized day-by-day play of how this weekends events unfolded, and at the end I’ll tell you how you can be a part of this prestigious event for 2019’s team.

On Thursday, the team met at GPRC and travelled to Edmonton in one of the college’s luxurious vans (thanks GPRC!). The team’s coaches rallied their husbands to be designated drivers for the weekend (thanks husbands!) and they got us there safe and sound with plenty of stops for Timmies on the way. Once in Edmonton, the first stop was the closest grocery store to gather provisions for the following day, tons of fruit and veggies were purchased to keep the team full and energized for the weekends activities. After the grocery store escapades, we made our way to the hotel where we got nice and festive for the opening ceremonies. The theme this year was Mardi Gras (interesting theme for a business competition) so on top of our business attire we donned the traditional green, purple, and gold beads and headed off to Norquest. The dinner was a delicious Cajun inspired dish of chicken, gumbo, and beignets for dessert. Following the dinner, the duo of Earth Group gave an inspiring presentation about their company and how they help children all over the world (google them, they’re amazing!) with the captains of each team picking presentation time slots to wrap up the evening. Ours was the lucky team to pick the first time slot at 7:30 a.m., which meant less time to practice and even less sleep- so back to the hotel we went to prepare for Friday’s war room.

Now the war-room is just as terrifying as it sounds. You are “locked” in a room from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. with just your team, two school-provided laptops, writing utensils, food, and the case. No cellphones, no access to communications like email or Facebook, nothing but internet access for research and PowerPoint. This all took place on Friday, where the teams all gathered at MacEwan University to have a healthy, hearty breakfast and then escorted to their respected rooms by their hosts. Once in the room, the magic happens. You must identify the problem and essentially “solve” the case and have your PowerPoint presentation completed and handed in at 6 p.m. sharp- if you’re not done by 6, you must submit what you have- no extensions or exceptions! After we finished in the war room, we headed back to the hotel to start practicing the speeches for the presentation to the judges the next day. Full of Subway and adrenaline, we started preparing our speeches and presentations late into the night.

Saturday morning came far too early and fast, as we met in one of the hotel rooms at 4 a.m. for more practicing. And let met tell you- 4 a.m. is a hard time to sound excited and confident in your presentation, but our coaches kept us on our toes and eventually dragged the excitement out of us. Once we had a few more rounds of practice in, we went back to our rooms to get prim and proper in our best business attire to address the judges. 7:30 a.m. came, and your team did your College proud as we not only executed a flawless presentation but answered ALL of the judge’s questions to the point where they ran out! (did I mention the judges also have 5 minutes to ask you ANYTHING about the case, and you get marked on how you answer? Yeah, this just keeps getting better).

Feeling like kings and queens, we went straight to the closest Tim Horton’s for a victory coffee and to talk about the thrill and rush from achieving what we just did. 9-weeks of practise with nine different cases, on an average of 9-hours a week spent on these cases, and one final case being presented to the Business Department faculty the day before we left, had all lead up to this. Each one of us had poured our heart and souls into this team on-top of part time work and full course loads, and it was over in 15 minutes.

Although we didn’t place this year, the feelings we all had and the sense of family and devotion we developed towards each other made us feel like the true winners. We didn’t mind that we didn’t place, we knew that what we had just accomplished was more than most students got to experience, and we were thankful for every bit of the journey we got to participate in. We did some serious Storming, Forming, Norming this semester and although the team is officially done for another season, we realized friendships and bonds that will last much longer.

Try-outs for next years time will take place this upcoming November/December, and although you need to be nominated by faculty- I encourage all Business and Commerce students to inquire about the team and how you can go above and beyond to receive a nomination to try-out. I guarantee the extra time and effort you put out will reward you with skills, abilities, and friendships that will last a life time.

Submitted by Case Team Captain and Student Ambassador- Alexis Nellis

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