Online Gym, Worth it or Not?

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Helena Haynes, Staff Writer

It seems very common for students to dislike gym class. Running, swimming, and having to change your clothes before rushing to your next class do not seem like very appealing things. This is why many students choose the alternative option of taking online gym over the summer.  It gives students more time during the year to take more classes or get a study hall and it takes away the stress that in school gym class would give you. Since this alternative option is becoming so popular, the teachers in charge of the course changed the guidelines for online gym and made it more challenging. The price was also raised to take the course.

Online gym has always been an option for students at State High. In the past, many students have said it was easy to do and stress-free. This past summer the P.E. department changed the course making it slightly harder to complete. Twenty hours of cardio and ten hours of strength are required to complete the course along with online activities and assessments. This was something students have always had to do with this course but in the past many students didn’t actually do the amount of cardio and strength at the intensity that the teachers wanted. Students would go for walks or short bike rides and log it as cardio. To prevent students from being able to easily get their hours done with simple activities, the course was changed so students had to create goals for themselves, and their activities had to help to achieve these goals. “I think the teachers made the course way too structured. There should be more wiggle room with the guidelines,” said freshman Betsy Driscoll, lacrosse player. Students are also required to write a description of each workout they do. Even though it was more challenging, it can also be viewed as beneficial for students. “We wanted the best product for the students so they could learn lifelong fitness concepts,” said P.E. teacher, Mr. Kurzinger.

The teachers being more specific with which activities could be counted made it hard to tell which activities were acceptable and which weren’t. Many teachers were not allowing students to count their main sport for hours but other teachers were not. This caused the course to be very unfair and there were many complaints made by students and parents. Freshman Meghan Hughes said, “In the summer I swam 15 hours and 42,000 yards a week but according to the gym teachers, that’s not exercise.” The official guidelines of the course say that sports practices cannot be counted, even though they include lots of physical activity. “All sports should count towards the physical activity hours. It isn’t fair,” said freshman Anna Gorenflo, dancer.

According to the North counseling office, there were 880 online gym and health courses taken over the summer in 2015. With this information, there was an estimated 500-600 students taking online gym in total. 500-600 kids is more than the amount of students in one grade at State High. These numbers really show the amount of kids that would rather take it online than doing the in school course.

There is always a price to take any online course at State High, and most of these prices are well over $100 to take just one class. The price to take online gym has increased this year from $175 to $240, because gym went from 0.4 credits to 0.5. The North counseling office claims that the price increase is partly due to the credit changing from 0.4 to 0.5 but also because of teacher’s salaries. With so many students taking the course, the district has to hire more teachers to teach it online.

The big question many people are asking is, “Is online gym worth it?” With the price increase, the change in the content of the course, and the concern of it being fair, many students are doubting if it’s worth doing. Many students are also questioning if it’s similar to gym class at school in any way. “I don’t think it’s equal to the actual gym class, you spend more time online than actually working out,” said freshman Lexi Lonsdale. The price is also a concern for a lot of students, since it did increase by such a substantial amount and if the course is said to be unfair, people are skeptical of taking the course. Even though there were some issues last year, the course will most likely be adjusted to make it more fair. “We’re trying to fix some of the problems for this coming year. There were some inconsistencies,” said Kurzinger. Overall, online gym is a good alternative for students who don’t like taking it in school but there are many things to look over and consider before deciding to take it.

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