Putting Education Reform To The Test

How Students Take Physical Education Online

Sarah Gonzalez / StateImpact Florida

High school senior Vanessa Richter has taken PE online for the past two summers. She says the online course is not as easy as you might expect.

Yesterday we told you Florida’s fastest growing public school district is… online.

About 148,000 students sucessfully completed 303,000 half-credit Florida Virtual School courses this past school year.

And PE — as in physical education — is a popular class, according to students.

So how do you take PE virtually?

There are two half-credit courses: Personal Fitness and Fitness Lifestyle and Design.

“They make you run, they make you do reps of crunches and you’re supposed to record it,” says student Vanessa Richter, a senior at Terra Environmental Research Institute in Miami.

Students are asked to record their heart rate before and after they exercise — its supposed to serve as proof that students did in fact complete the assignment.

But there’s a big loophole.

“There’s a lot of things online,” Richter says.

“All your test and quiz answers you can Google them and find in like 5 seconds.

Try it.

You can find the normal heart rate for your age online, and your normal heart rate after exercise.

Richter says she doesn’t like to search online for answers because sometimes its not very accurate.

“But many people have gotten by the class doing that,” she says.

For students trying to cheat the system, FLVS put another barrier in place.

Parents need to sign the chart to confirm their children did all the required exercises.

More Than Just a Run Around the Block

Richter says many students start the online course thinking it’ll be an easy class to pass.

But she says online PE is more than just a run around the block — or a Google search.

“There are written essays of different parts of the body and how the body works and on different exercises like flexibility and strength,” she says.

“So you do learn a little physiology and anatomy and stuff like that.”

She’s taken PE online for the last two summers to make room in her class schedule for electives like art or Spanish.

Other students take PE online for different reasons, Richter says.

“Some kids who aren’t very physically active or they’re embarrassed to take PE [at school], they just do it online instead.”



  • Online PE is an oxymoron and should not exist. Why not take Spainish online and take the PE class in person…and we wonder why our people are getting more injuries, getting fatter and can’t do anything about it…

    • Girl

      Because some of us don’t like school pe and some of us would actually get more from doing this than pe in person because some schools SUCK! And if you are worried about fat people then i would say just make them go to pe class why do the rest of us with many other athletic activities outside school have to suffer as well?

      • benjy

        Varsity atheletes in almost all schools are excused from PE anyway.

    • Jackson Cobb

      For schools who require a certain amount of PE credits before graduation, online PE can be a great option for high-achieving students. For instance, my school requires that I take 4 credits of PE before leaving school. Those classes interfere with the college credit communications and education classes that my school offers. I want to go into communications and education when I get out of grad school in 7 years – not exercise and overexertion. Because of that, I’d rather spend my summers jogging and meeting with an instructor online to fulfill a requirement than give up on other better and more relevant opportunities.

    • Samantha

      I must state . I am doing online homeschooling & I don’t have the option to go do PE . I have to do it online . I would prefer doing PE in person but I can’t handle my public school anymore . I exercise on a regular basis , but I also sit around & do nothing . lol . depends on how I feel that day . but I also have a high metabolism so I stay extremely thin .

    • James Nicholson

      I agree, online PE doesn’t make much sense, but at the same time, I know from experience, PE in the real world, is EXTREMELY dangerous, not to mention an environment where nerds like me are practically worthless.

      Besides, let’s be honest, PE itself is the ultimate oxymoron. Education is in the domain of the mind, not the domain of the body.

      And requiring PE credits to graduate? So stupid. That’s all that PE is, a non-intelligent waste of time and energy.

      • Addmeonps3:Mr_Russellington

        In PE we learn how to excercise and come together as a group, we don’t do EXTREMELY DANGEROUS STUFF, we just run, jog, do sit-ups, push-ups, lift weights, etc. We also learn how to take care of ourselves and be healthy. Oh and the teachers we have for PE are supposed to help the students improve themselves health wise while learning about what they’re doing especially what you call “the nerds” our teachers don’t exclude them from any activity or work nor should they be acknowledge as worthless students. Heres a smile to equal out everything. :)

        • APETEACHER

          I can see the argument about online and having course work, but as a PE teacher thank you Addmeonps3. If you have good PE teachers, yes they are supposed to do that. I think with online classes or classroom classes, students who want to cheat will find a way to cheat. It is sad to see that so many people do not want to improve their health, especially since that will matter more than your GPA in the long run. It is amusing to see the comments above, and all I can think about is how wrong our society is now and how we have placed so much emphasis on the wrong things. If people can feel more confident in an online learning, then that is good for them. For me, I hope that students will prefer to do it during the day. I love fitness, and I love teaching it to people. More importantly, I love people and seeing results. You just don’t get that with online.

    • Addmeonps3:Mr_Russellington

      People take online PE to free up space on their schedule for other classes. I’m taking online PE since i can only take 1 summer school course at a time. Online PE will allow me to take a summer course to advance in my core class and have an extra PE credit in one summer break. Btw PE is a required course to take in order to pass highschool, taking it in another grade will just leave you less class space left in your schedule, meaning you will not be able to advance in any other class. It is also imprtant to take online PE because some people need to take recovery classes in summer school and a bunch of other classes that take up their entire schedule during the school year so online PE would be the optimal choice. :) just saying. :)

      -9th grade student

      • Addmeonps3:Mr_Russellington

        Oh, and another thing… Wait i forgot nevermind. Ill remember it again later.

  • Esma

    I was motivated to take the H.O.P.E (p.e) class during the summer time but now that school has started I don’t want to do it anymore. It doesn’t really even teach me anything all there is is videos on how to do an assignment.

  • ann

    i dont understand how to sign up for H.O.P.E? can somone help me? please D:

    • Addmeonps3:Mr_Russellington

      I can help you! But my counselor didn’t get the information when the online pensign ups will start. But you wint need it, i guess i just responded 3 years too late. :)

  • Wakakakakakka

    I know that for me at least, this is a great opportunity to stay fit and be healthy even though I don’t do PE in school. Like Richter said, it’s just easier for some people to take the class online instead of in front of judging peers.

  • Kathy

    I like this option. I’m taking p.e online this summer because that way I will be able to fit in a Spanish elective next year. I am a physically active person, so it’s not laziness or apathy. It’s just the way some people have to set up their schedules.

    • Addmeonps3:Mr_Russellington

      Great response. :) hehe i’m just responding to a bunch of old comments. :)

  • Poop head

    I hate pe. Little people invented this little bitchy class.

    • Addmeonps3:Mr_Russellington

      Not all people hate PE, but i’m not supposed to tell you what to say and not to, according the first amendment giving the freedom to speech(anyone can share their opinion on something). I’m just trying to say that some people like it and some people don’t, but it doesn’t mean you had to call out the people who introduced it. Heres a quote. :)

      “From the late 1700s to the mid-1800s, three nations–Germany, Sweden, and England–influenced the early development of physical education in the United States. German immigrants introduced the Turner Societies, which advocated a system of gymnastics training that utilized heavy apparatus (e.g., side horse, parallel and horizontal bars) in the pursuit of fitness. In contrast, the Swedish system of exercise promoted health through the performance of a series of prescribed movement patterns with light apparatus (e.g., wands, climbing ropes). The English brought sports and games to America with a system that stressed moral development through participation in physical activities. The influence of these three nations laid the foundation for sport and physical education in America” quote by (MURRAY MITCHELL, 2012).

  • alyson taylor

    i need to have a online class to pass hope my teacher is mean and she dose not like white people . some one help me

    • Addmeonps3:Mr_Russellington

      Tell your mom, and direct her to the principle and get that teacher fired for being very selective for the “types” of people she will accept. But you probably wont because you wrote this a year ago and most likely forgot about it. :)

  • Addmeonps3:Mr_Russellington

    You are wrong, and lol, in responding to year old comments. :)

  • CoachLeo

    Georgia Educator Chime in:
    I feel sad for those who’s PE or schools don’t measure up to your expectations. It is boring to me in the gym when the coaches roll out the balls and do not engage students in learning. For those of you who are in that situation, you can always control your behavior and become motivated and help to inspire your PE program. As for Online, I see the positive and negative aspects. Online is great if you moved from another state and are a Senior suddenly expected to take Health and PE with a bunch of Freshmen, or the kid who is trying to get the grades, but in truth, I hope that schools will continue to require PE or at the very least a Activity credit. It might not matter to the 14-19 year old now, but as an adult, you will need to know those things. We can’t require you to come back when you are 40+ and are on the brink of a heart attack. I hope that you can do either online or in person. I hope that you get good teachers at your school, because it makes a world of difference in any subject area. Good Luck

  • lexis

    It is perfectly fine for a student to want to take online pe. Whether it is because they are insecure or because it is easier. That doesn’t matter. This helps people who suffer from health things or insecurities. You are not going to do you best because u feel insecure around others. When you run a mile or do anything else and u r slow because u are fatter than the rest or just aren’t as fast that makes you even more insecure. Online pe helps prevent that. They can do it alone on their own and not have to worry about being to slow or insecure. Another thing is health reasons. Such as me. I have a heart condition that prevents me from doing a lot of things along with horrible asthma. In gym class I can’t run as fast or do anything as fast as a normal person. Some schools would fail you because of that. This helps prevent me from failing. This should not be taken away from people just because there are some slackers and cheaters out there. They are evrywhere, in English class, history or biology. You can’t escape them and if you take this away because of cheaters then u should take away other classes as well because god knows they are in those to.

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