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.”



  • http://www.facebook.com/thecactusmonster Erik Blekeberg

    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?

    • 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.

  • 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:

  • 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.

  • Poop head

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

  • 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

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