Physical education classes move to the e-learning model


Fitness classes adapt to offer students physical activity through distance learning

With the shift to online learning for the spring term and summer semesters, many classes have had to adapt to a virtual plan. And physical education classes are no exception.

For physical education teacher Mark Johnson, the transition to online classes has had a steep learning curve. Johnson is teaching strength training, aerobic running, and general fitness classes this term, and he had to figure out how to transition those classes to an online environment.

The first week of the term served as a transition period, as Johnson struggled to explain the new course structure and the new curriculum to his students. As the next week approached, he began posting homework assignments for students. Each assignment was posted to Canvas, and students were asked to respond to the post after the assignment was completed. Students were also invited to track their workouts in a fitness app of their choice.

“The second week I did too much and was doing too much homework,” Johnson said. “I had a mission for every aspect [of the class]. And I said, ‘Guys, I’m sorry. Your instructor is technically challenged. I’m a dork. ‘ And so I combined it all into one mission.

To make sure he listens to his students, Johnson has made an effort to solicit comments on the homework and instructional videos he posts. It strives to respond to all feedback from students after their workouts, whether it’s a follow-up question about how the workout is going or a smiley emoji. For him, these interactions are just as important and equal to the encouragement he would give his students if he stood next to them at the end of a practice session telling them to be safe and to have a good day.

This communication is important to Johnson, whose background as a football coach means he finds it necessary to stay in tune with the emotions of his students in order to provide them with the best experience.

“I’m big on listening to my people,” Johnson said. “So when I see my people, and I can see they’re having a bad day [where] I have to inflate them or I have to back off. i just say positive things [so] that they can understand that, ‘This guy cares about me and cares about me.’ ”

For Yvette Carillo, a second year theater and dance major, the transition to online learning hasn’t been easy either. Carillo signed up for an advanced kickboxing course for Spring Quarter after taking beginner and intermediate kickboxing classes with the same instructor in previous quarters.

When she learned that Spring Quarter classes were being moved online, she wasn’t sure what to expect from the class. But when her instructor posted an ad saying the class would no longer be a kickboxing class and instead become a physical training class, Carillo was understanding and excited that she would still be able to do a good workout. .

Despite adjusting to finish her workouts in her living room and watch the speaker demonstrate techniques through YouTube videos, Carillo found that the workouts themselves were still as physically intense as they were. been in previous quarters.

As the workouts intensified and the instructor asked the class to purchase dumbbells, Carillo decided to drop the class. While Carillo acknowledged that requiring the class to have dumbbells “makes sense because we can get a better workout with them,” she said it has proven difficult to find the weights.

“I didn’t really know anyone who had them, or there were stores that were missing, and if [the stores] had them, they were really expensive, ”Carillo said. “So I was like, ‘Well if I want to do a good workout I can probably watch and record the homework she gave us or go back to my knowledge from previous beginner or intermediate classes and do my own workouts. because she’s given us workouts in the past that are really great without those dumbbells. ‘”

Although she dropped out of the course, Carillo still uses the workouts from this course and previous courses that she has taken regularly with this instructor. She said she hoped to be able to return to class later.

Carillo said working out and staying physical every day has relieved the stress of a busy neighborhood.

“One of the reasons I was so disappointed that I decided to give it up was the fact that I’m personally the type to always find a time in my day to work out or go for a walk or a run or something. like, ”Carillo said. “And I really think it’s important to stay physical.”

For Kevin Nosek, physical education teacher and associate head coach of men’s basketball at UC Davis, teaching students about the benefits of physical activity is the mission of these fitness classes. This has remained its mission even through the changes brought about by the structure of the online courses.

“Our mission is, has been and always will be to ensure the physical and mental well-being of our students,” said Nosek. “With this in mind, we need to be aware of what each student has available to them. And we have to be a little more resourceful, a little more resourceful, to provide a platform for students to continue to have the physical and mental well-being that we have provided to so many thousands of students every year.

For Nosek, who was scheduled to teach an aerobic swimming class as well as an ultimate frisbee class this term, it required some adjustments to the students’ individual resources. Her ultimate Frisbee class became a general fitness class, and her swimming class so far has focused on training students on dry ground. It also plans to introduce workouts that can be performed in a swimming pool if a student has access to them, although it will continue to provide general workouts to students who do not have access.

YouTube and other online resources have made this process much easier. Using YouTube videos, Nosek can easily show these workouts to students and have students track their progress through online journals on Canvas. While learning to use Canvas more effectively and efficiently has, by his own admission, taken some time, Nosek said it hasn’t been a huge challenge.

Like Johnson, Nosek found that Canvas in particular allowed him to educate himself with students and stay connected through the distance learning structure. On the first day of the term, he did a wellness checkup where he listed the benefits that can come from being fit and asked the students what worried them the most.

“Almost [for everyone] anxiety was the number one choice for all of these students, ”Nosek said. “They feel stressed about their own distance learning and online courses. And hopefully across the faculty, not just in physical education [but] around the world, we are able to provide sufficient resources to eliminate anxiety. We hope our physical education classes will do this in two ways, both through activity and health and fitness, but also by providing them with an easy to manage platform. [their anxiety]. “

Written by: Priya Reddy – [email protected]

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