Project updates

OWLympeaction: Chain Reaction Triggered by OWLympics

posted Jun 1, 2014, 6:11 PM by Rajoshi Biswas   [ updated Jun 1, 2014, 6:14 PM ]

OWLympeaction: Chain Reaction Triggered by OWLympics
By: Corina Ionita 
Chain reaction: A series of events, each caused by the previous one. 
When OWLympics started, I was the first one to jump on board. I loved the idea of our research group not only excelling in research but being a healthy and happy group while doing so. Within a day, I had figured out the name of our research group - AAZtechs, and with my advisor Behnaam’s blessing, we were on our way to becoming the dominant OWLympics group. No doubt big leaderboard successes are fun, but perhaps it is the small unseen successes which have the lasting effect. And more often than, these success stories are serendipitous. 

I have shared office with Samantha Summerson, also Behnaam’s student, for now 3+ years. I knew Sam exercises regularly but had no idea what kind of exercises she does. When we all started to log our activities publicly on OWLympics, we began to learn not only the kind of diverse activities but also who does what. When Sam posted points via a weight training session, I got curious and asked what kind of exercises she does for weights. I had always been in two minds about weights, perhaps because I had the impression that weight training leads to bulky hulk-like muscles and I have no interest in that. Sam shared her weight sessions and explained that the objective of low-weight high-rep sessions is to develop strength and firmness, and not to add bulk. It was an a-ha moment. Not only I tried it myself and loved it, I immediately shared it with Rajoshi Biswas. 

In the light of above events, I am left with no option but to define OWLympeaction: A series of healthy habits inducing events, each caused by the previous one, serendipitously triggered by OWLympics.

Week 10 - Top Teams and Individuals

posted Jun 1, 2014, 5:53 PM by Rajoshi Biswas   [ updated Jun 1, 2014, 5:54 PM ]


mwk1 - 1511 points
nox - 1345 points 
david - 1330 points 
margar - 1050 points
tsoits - 1029 points

groups (total): 
Plasmonsters - 5469 points 
AAZtechs - 4350 points
Owlstars - 3699 points

groups (avg): 
Owlumni - 1345 points
puzzle - 1330 points
MOR - 576 points

Week 8 - Top Teams and Individuals

posted Jun 1, 2014, 5:52 PM by Rajoshi Biswas   [ updated Jun 1, 2014, 5:55 PM ]

Top Individuals
gbmidd - 2026 points
abf3 - 1693 points
rb21 - 1586 points

Highest earning groups (total points)
Plasmonsters - 6317 points
RNG - 6075 points
Owlstars - 5088 points

Groups with the most points per member
Puzzle - 1384 points
Owlumni - 1109 points
RNG - 1012 points

Launch Prep Meeting (1/14/2013)

posted Jan 14, 2013, 2:51 PM by Jingwen Bai   [ updated Jan 14, 2013, 2:53 PM by Mark Knight ]

  1. Emily Page
  2. Ashu 
  3. Mark
  4. Jingwen


Mention that usernames can be whatever people want, and not linkable directly to person.

Mention that this is a SOCIAL fitness program.

In the survey, require which week of the program they're entering. A new user would be Week 1.

On survey - add "skip logic" to avoid the "why don't you exercise" question if people exercise enough.

MARK - make webpage
1) Create an account on the tracking website (registration page - includes liability waiver)
Include PAR-Q questions - if you answer YES to ANYTHING, stop and see your doctor prior to proceeding with the program.
2) Take the fitness assessment (will include consent to take assessment)
3) Register for the program with Lisa E.B. : cost $5 *cash*

For website:
 By creating an account on this website you agree to the Terms of Service.

Launch Party
Ask audience to create skits to address excuses:
 * I have no time
 * I forgot my gym bag
 * Motivation buddies Question: How do you stay active?

Use each skit as a discussion opener - "I have no time"... "Question: how do YOU make time?"

Ask that the committee brings their stuff! Bikes, balls, rackets, yoga mat,etc. Dress for the event under your street clothes.

Changing into workout clothes contest.

"If you can fit this meeting into your day, you can fit exercise into your day"

 * Ashu + Emily: complete and submit IRB by Tuesday evening
 * Emily: add skip logic to the survey, add consent to take assessment
 * Mark: develop language for registration website waiver
 * Hang: add liability waiver language to the website
 * Oscar: complete, print, display posters - mention FREE FOOD!
 * Oscar: prepare an email invitation, ask if BA can send it.
 * Mark: send email asking people to do skits. Pairs: Surbhi + Jingwen (Gym bag?),   BA + Ashu (No Time!),   Mark + Nate Hogan (Motivation!)
 * Mark: ask Hang if there's any chance to add groups, talk to M.D.

Planning Meeting (1/3/2013)

posted Jan 4, 2013, 1:11 PM by Mark Knight

  • Ashu 
  • Rajoshi
  • Mark

Status: done
Person: Bob Zheng
See file attached to this page (owls_rings.png)

Website - critical to mission success!
Status: incomplete - requires design and testing
Person: Hang Yu

Used for logging, tracking - critical for the program. 

Before it can be used, requires updates to:
  • Navigation
  • Points system
Possibly useful to have Dietz and Hang work together to complete? Mark will follow up with Hang.

Status: almost complete, only fine tuning needed
Person: Jingwen (Rajoshi, Jingwen, Mark, and Ashu can all edit if necessary)

Rajoshi developed the original survey, and has made revisions. All we need to do at this point is get input from Emily and make revisions. 

Awards - new addition to the program
Status: still being planned
Person: Mark, Rajoshi, Ashu

Instead of giving away t-shirts just for signing up, we'll use them as an incentive. If you reach level 3 in the program - which means 3 weeks with 500 pts each - then you can earn a customized OWLympics logo mug either free, or for a minimal price. Whether we charge will depend on funding availability. 

Level 7 gets you a t-shirt, either free or for a price - hopefully free if funding permits.

Facebook Group
Status: done
Person: Mark

Facebook group created. Will start getting people involved this way, and add link to the OWLympics website.

Status: not started
Person: Lisa E.B.

Lisa will handle collection of participation fee.

Launch Meeting
Status: planning in progress
Person: Ashu

This meeting should be conversational, and no one person should dominate. People should get to be their own experts, and feel they are designing their own program. 

For posting on the website, we may want a conference room with the ability to do 3D recording - Ashu will look into this.

Points System
Status: done
Person: Rajoshi & Jingwen

Parameters: time + intensity + # of people
Intensity: high, medium, low (with a plain English description of what these mean)
Low: 45 minutes (100 points)
Medium: 30 minutes (100 points)
High: 20 minutes (100 points)

Ideal is 45 minutes/day, so goal is 500 points/week minimum.

Levels: Missing a week (or failing to meet the minimum goal) drops you a level. Each successfully completed week increases you by one level. Each increased level gives a 10 point bump per level.

Doing the activity socially gives you a 10 pt bump.

Equation: (10 points if social) + (time / recommended time) * 100 points * (1+(level-1)*(0.1))

Update Meeting #2

posted Dec 10, 2012, 10:59 AM by Mark Knight

  • Mark Knight
  • Surbhi Lal
  • Oscar B.
  • Hang Yu
  • Rajoshi B.
  • Carrie T.
  • Ashu S. (via Skype)
  • Jingwen

Full IRB review not needed according to Emily Page, so we don't have to worry about the deadline. Whew!
Ashu thinks we should fill out the IRB forms anyway, though, just to make sure we're doing things by the book. Part of this is submitting the initial questionnaire, consent forms to the IRB. Key: what information is visible? Database security/privacy is important to building trust.

Wrote up a full description of the OWLympics under "OWLympics: The Exercise Habit" - people should read this, review it, make comments, etc.

Suggestion: replace "points" with plain minutes
Have the same goal for everyone: 45 minutes, 5 days/week

Rajoshi - one size fits all approach to goal doesn't necessarily work, for ex. if you're primarily a runner then 45 min/day doesn't work.

Rajoshi & Jingwen - points system idea
Parameters: time + intensity + # of people
Intensity: high, medium, low (provide a plain English description of what these mean)
Low: 45 minutes (100 points)
Medium: 30 minutes (100 points)
High: 20 minutes (100 points)

Ideal is 45 minutes/day, so goal is 500 points/week

Regular attendance at the gym: bumps you to the next level
Increased levels give a 10 point bump per level

The time levels are minimums due to scientific support for needing given time spans to achieve change in the body.

Ashu - have levels bump up

Mark - have level = number of consecutive weeks with 500+ points. Have a countdown on the website corresponding to your next level upgrade

Oscar - we need to make this as easy as possible to input information into the system

Carrie - suggest fitness apps
Ashu - these are useful because the help move away from subjective measures of intensity

Hang - report on the website

Possible names for the project - please vote

posted Nov 26, 2012, 6:43 PM by Ashutosh Sabharwal

Focus on fitness

- iFit or YouFit - maybe too much focus on an individual
- WeFit  - bring group nature into the name

Taglines for the program
- Together, We Get Fitter
- Fitter ECE
- Fit and Fitter
- Fitness is a habit

Notes from Update Meeting #1

posted Nov 26, 2012, 11:12 AM by Ashutosh Sabharwal

The group we'll target is ECE + friends and family

Committee members present:
  • Ashu
  • Sam
  • Eva
  • Oscar
  • Chad
  • Jingwen
  • Hang
  • Aida
  • Rajoshi
  • Carrie
  • Surbhi

Things we need to figure out:
  • Website
    • explain program
    • track points
    • Sections: "looking for an exercise buddy", "willing to mentor" - allow people to add themselves
  • Launch Party - Carrie + Aida
  • Publicity:
    • Recruitment - signup sheet, other details?
    • Registration: get a detailed description of their current state and goals:
      goal definition, list of things you already do, list of things you want to try, initial fitness test
  • Group formation - suggest group goals
    • mentoring component to help achieve goals
  • Tracking progress - points system to promote both the personal and social elements of working out
    • personal goals
    • competitive among groups
    • Carrie suggests: provide sample goals to get people started. Ashu suggests everyone on the planning committee contribute 3,4 goals. Goals can be either getting better at something, OR learning something new
  • OWLympics - end of semester
    • Plan during the semester by polling participants
  • Can we get digital IRB consent? 
  • Carrie - should the program expand to include both physical and mental well being? 

To-do items:
  1. For all: contribute ideas for personal/group goals (getting together, learning new material)
  2. Logo - Eva will take lead
  3. T-shirt design - Eva
  4. Website - Hang, Mike D.
  5. IRB - Rajoshi + Ashu + Surbhi
  6. Web material 
  7. Publicity - Oscar
  8. Points system - Jingwen, Rajoshi
  9. Mentoring - Mark, Sam
    1. Sam - suggests that the OWLympics committee contacts clubs & requests clinics, then has the responsibility for actually hosting goes to the specific student club
    2. Surbhi - mentors should be people who can just help you try something out without 'looking dumb' or being confused
  10. Group goals - Chad, Aida

Points system
  1. Names on the leaderboard: only thing visible publicly is points, not activities
  2. Questions:
    1. What is visible to others? Make this an option.
    2. Do you want to see the leaderboard? Make it an option.
  3. Points assignment to groups:
  4. Level up! Points can move you up! To another arbitrary level!

Notes from the kickoff meeting

posted Nov 16, 2012, 2:31 PM by Mark Knight   [ updated Nov 16, 2012, 2:41 PM ]

Weight is not a substitute metric for health. Health can be strongly influenced by exercise, down the cellular - and subcellular - level. Since health affects quality of life, improving the overall level of health of Rice students is an important goal. 

Building a new habit takes 40-120 days, which is ~ a semester. The new habit does not eliminate bad habits, but by layering good habits on top of old ones you can improve behavior. 

Goal is 30 minutes of exercise per day, per student, on average. 

The approach will use personal goals, peer influence, and competition together to encourage a sustainable workout habit.

Several stages that we need to address:

1) Explain + advertise the OWLympics

2) Create an initial "survey" that includes goals and quantifies initial fitness level

3) Form groups and provide experts to help people along

4) Design a website with a points system to track people's workouts, both individually and as groups. The points system should include multipliers for "low, medium, and high" intensity workouts, and then another multiplier for time.

5) Host a final, end of term "OWLympics" event where people can complete their final evaluation in a fun, celebratory atmosphere.

Project website

posted Nov 16, 2012, 1:53 PM by Mark Knight

This website is designed to facilitate collaboration between members of the Rice OWLympics project committee. If you need editing permissions, please email Mark Knight.

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