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.”



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