Deciding to go back to school is a big decision, so it makes sense to get all the facts about your online program before you begin. Especially in a hands-on major like exercise science, understanding just what health and fitness topics you’ll be studying is important. At Concordia University, St, Paul, we want to make sure you feel prepared when you begin our Bachelor of Arts in Exercise Science program. We spoke with Professor Katie Fischer to give you an inside look at what you can expect from our online exercise science program.
How many hours per week do students typically spend studying?
We tell students they will complete approximately 20 hours of coursework each week within the program. This includes weekly readings, discussion board responses, assignments, quizzes, etc., and is dependent on the coursework for the week. We try to maintain a consistent workload throughout the course so students know what to expect each week.
The time spent studying is variable depending on the course and on the student’s understanding of a given topic. Students typically need a longer time to study exercise physiology and biomechanics since they are more advanced concepts within the program.
How much reading is involved?
It depends on the course. We generally have anywhere from two to four textbook chapters to be read each week. We also use supplementary resources, which could include websites, current research articles, etc., to add to the conversation taking place in the textbook, which also adds a new perspective for students outside of the textbook.
How is this information delivered online versus in the classroom?
We use YouTube videos and other education videos (videos on demand, among others) to deliver the content. We are also able to engage students quite effectively in online courses due to their required participation in discussion boards each week.
In a face-to-face class, it is easier to avoid participating in class at times since the instructor may not be aware of each student’s participation level. Within the online courses, it is apparent when students do not participate. We need this participation from each student to help them engage with the content and to demonstrate a minimum level of competency with the content. The face-to-face versus online classes have different delivery modes, but both can be effective if designed appropriately.
What group components are there?
We utilize small groups within our Webex videoconferencing sessions. This allows students to interact with their peers regarding case studies and other course topics. In addition, we also periodically utilize group discussion boards to allow students to interact more closely with their group members about some of the course concepts. We typically avoid group assignments due to the time zone differences for students, but our goal is to get students interacting with each other as much as possible for networking purposes. It is also a great way to enhance the learning environment.
Exercise science seems hands-on/physical. How do you get that experience behind a computer?
For the KHS475 Applied Exercise Prescription course, we typically advise students to earn a personal training certification from a nationally accredited organization. This ensures they have some hands-on/physical skills since they have earned the certification from an outside organization. In addition, we use the internship experience to help students bridge theory to practice to get the hands-on/physical experience that is required for work within the field.
As to the specific coursework, we utilize case studies, videos, and other delivery methods to ensure students get a high-quality educational experience, and then they use the aforementioned strategies to ensure they have the necessary hands-on/physical competencies to be a successful professional within the field.
What are the prerequisites?
We do not have any prerequisites for the specific courses, although we have strategically developed our course sequence to have the concepts build on each other as a student moves through the program. Ideally, a student would have some background in the exercise science field, which they can use to apply the concepts in greater detail; however, we do not require any specific coursework prior to starting the program.
Are transfer credits accepted? How many are typically brought in?
Transfer credits are accepted. Each student’s academic background is different so it depends on the previous coursework they have taken. If a student has taken a comparable course at a different institution and it meets our learning objectives and competencies within a given course, we provide them with the ability to transfer that course into the program.
What can students do to be as successful as possible in the program?
There are several tips I would provide to any online student:
- Develop a schedule that you can maintain every week. Try to set aside a specific time each day that you can dedicate to studying. Along these lines, it is helpful to break up the work into several days to let the information sink in rather than try to complete all of the coursework at the end of a learning week.
- Ask questions. Most of our instructors are professionals in the field so they understand the practical application of these concepts. Use them to help you understand the topics and their application in the field. As students see the relevance of the topics for their desired career, they are able to more fully engage with the concepts since they understand their practical application.
- Network. Interact with your peers and network with them. Leverage each other’s previous experiences in the field to learn from each other and also to gain a broader view of the possible careers within the field. In addition, network with instructors, many of whom are professionals in the field. Finally, network with others in your geographic region. If you are interested in physical therapy, set up a job shadowing experience at a local physical therapy clinic to network and to gain insight into the field.
Earn Your Exercise Science Degree Online
Prepare for a role in coaching, fitness, personal training, rehabilitation, and more with the online bachelor’s in exercise science program from Concordia University, St. Paul. Our program explores exercise, kinesiology concepts in human movement, and management. Designed for busy adult students, the program’s convenient online format allows you to fit your studies into your busy schedule.