Need one more credit for the semester, another reason to get in shape or just a new way to spice up the course load? Try one of the kinesiology department's physical activity courses.
The department offers a wide variety of courses, including swimming, tennis, weight training, taekwondo and ice skating. A full list can be found on the kinesiology courses catalog.
“I’ve never thought of taking a physical activity class here [at Iowa State], but I think they are a good idea if you just need one more credit to keep you a full-time student or something,” Mckenzie Berquam, junior in psychology, said.
Jennifer Smith, senior lecturer in kinesiology, said most class sizes include about 20 people because of the available space. Some courses, such as walking and running, can hold up to 40 people because they typically take place outdoors.
“If exercise hasn’t been the norm in high school, that’s going to follow people to college," Smith said. "So I think offering a physical activity program like this, especially with it providing a credit, can ￼hopefully help them, if they are in good patterns of health, to keep that up.”
While graduate students lead most of the courses, lecturers teach martial arts, golf, ice skating and dance. Smith works with the graduate students and teaches them to be better instructors.
“It’s one credit. I get that, but students are paying for that one credit,” Smith said. “It’s an experience that whether it’s helping them maintain good habits or it’s helping some of the students get back into the swing of having better habits, I really want our [teaching assistants] to leave the right impression.”
In addition to making sure the classes are scheduled in logical locations, Smith also ensures that the equipment needed for each class is available and updated and that new classes are added when needed.
Recent changes among the courses that are offered were the removal of an archery course and the addition of a racquetball class.
While the department will not add any new courses for the spring semester, Smith hopes to improve the technology used by adding more heart rate monitors and Fitbits.
“I didn’t even know we had classes like this,” Julia Youngberg, freshman in apparel, merchandising and design, said. “I think it’d be fun to try one out since it would kind of force you to exercise, but at the same time, be less stressful than normal classes.”
Smith said about 90 percent of the classes now use an online learning component that coordinates through Blackboard, but the majority of each class will be based on the actual physical activity.
The level for each class is set at beginner, however, Smith said the students will require varying levels of difficulty. She urges the instructors to make accommodations to fit the students' needs, which could mean splitting a class into two groups.
Smith welcomes curious students to contact her with any questions about the courses.
“It’s absolutely no problem for [students who are curious about the class] to stop in and watch,” she said.