Online Physical Education

Online Physical Education


In some ways, physical education might seem like the unlikeliest subject to be taught online. After all, how can you learn to play new sports without direct supervision? How do you dodge a virtual dodgeball? Indeed, many phys. ed. teachers resisted the idea, at least initially. But those school districts which have implemented distance-learning P.E. courses – including the Minneapolis school system, which was one of the first and most prominent systems to offer virtual P.E. on a wide scale – have seen them thrive in terms of enrollment and participation.

While there are many varieties of e-gym, most require that students complete a certain number of thirty-minute or one-hour periods of vigorous exercise every week – usually no fewer than three or four – in order for students to receive full credit. Some schools even provide such equipment as heart monitors or pedometers to measure students’ progress, although in most cases students simply have to fill out a report explaining in detail what exercises they did, and then email those reports to their teachers in order to receive a letter grade. Many P.E. teachers also require parents to digitally sign these reports to verify that these exercises periods did indeed take place. Of course, this system relies on the honor system, a system which students and even some parents may abuse from time to time.

A key strength of online physical education is the degree of flexibility it allows students. Many distance-learning phys. ed. teachers let students exercise however they want to; running, bicycling, yoga and backyard sports like football and soccer are just a few examples. In addition, as with all Internet courses, students can complete their assignments whenever it’s convenient for them to do so: first thing in the morning, right after school or late at night after returning home from a job. In addition, some educators film instructional videos which students can watch online in order to improve their form.

Online physical education also serves students who might not thrive in a typical P.E. setting. Students who are injured or disabled, for example, often have to sit out many group activities in the gym, which can make them feel isolated. And some students just don’t feel comfortable participating in competitive athletic activities, and would much prefer working out at their own pace, at their own level, and on their own time. Not to mention, some students simply dread those showers.

Online learning market place

Nov 30, 1999