Hurry Up! We Are Having A Zoom Workout!

Physical education at HSE: online courses and zoom classes for both students and instructors.

Hurry Up! We Are Having A Zoom Workout!

Time definitely does fly. It may seem like the new academic year just started but come to think of it one module has already passed by. And while this module was just as intense and packed with different activities as any other module here at HSE, a lot about it was quite different from what all of us are used to.

In order to keep both students and faculty members safe mask use was made obligatory, some of the classes were carried out online, the timetable changed… Yet another big change that HSE students had to get accustomed to had to do with PE classes. That is exactly what we are going to talk about in this article.

While some potential consequences of the pandemic were quite obvious and discussed even in the very beginning of the spread, other long-term consequences of it were overlooked by many. That of course also includes the impact that lockdowns had on people’s mental and physical health. With the introduction of restrictions regarding social distancing and outdoors activities as well as the majority of sports and fitness clubs being closed, a steep reduction in physical activity level was just a question of time. Both students who had gym membership that they could previously use to be granted a “pass” for the course and those who frequently attended various sports classes here at HSE were deprived of the opportunity to keep their exercise routine as it is. Luckily, the format of the PE classes has now changed, allowing students to continue attending PE classes provided by HSE while still staying at home.

If you still feel a bit confused and lost because of all these changes, we are here to help you out.

First things first, there are two main ways to get a “pass” on the PE class.

  • 1. Students can sign up for an online course created by the PE faculty.

    Those who manage to successfully complete the course get a “pass” – as easy as it is. In the beginning of the academic year students could sign up for the course through the studying office of their program. Now links to the google forms through which students can sign up for the course are also published in the official VK community from time to time. The course itself consists of lecture videos and tests to check what you’ve learnt. Be careful! You can only take each of the four tests one time.

    In a sense, it is extremely similar to other online courses on Coursera or other platforms which makes it easy for students to quickly get used to it. What makes this course special is the fact that it was designed and created for HSE students only, to provide us with the knowledge we actually need. Be ready to learn a lot about how our body works in general and how various sport activities affect it.

    Once the deadline for completing a google form passes, PE faculty needs to collect all the responses and send those to the HSE center responsible for online education. Later, students who completed the form in time simply receive an e-mail with all the information they might need and are free to start the online course.

    Don’t forget to follow official HSE PE community on VK so that you don’t miss anything.

  • 2. Students can choose is to attend zoom classes.

    First off, the timetable with all classes and zoom links can be found here. Students are free to choose any class they want whenever they have enough free time to attend one. As you have probably guessed by now, one of the main advantages of the new zoom format is its’ flexibility. No need to commute all the way to the campus – all you need to have is your computer, your gym clothes and, sometimes, a yoga mat. In order to join a class, you simply use the conference code and password that are included in the timetable right next to each of the classes. What you need to remember is that one of the requirements for you is to turn on your camera during the class. The other one is to keep your microphone off but that is probably something all of us are already used to. At the end of the class students can either share their screen or simply show their personal QR code on their phone to the instructor. That’s how instructors can keep track of the attendance.

By the way, all the students had to update their QR codes so if you haven’t yet done so, here’s a link. For those who want to check their attendance, you can do it here.

Another question some of you might have is “how many classes do I have to attend to get a "pass"? The answer is – you need to attend 5 classes (which equals to 10 academic hours) during the first semester. To be on track, don’t forget to always make sure that the number of classes you actually visited, and the number of classes indicated in the attendance app are the same. And if that’s not the case, don’t hesitate to leave a comment in the Q&A discussion board of the official community or contact a PE faculty member responsible for your studying program. 

Luckily there is also a third option! Students who have a gym membership that covers a whole semester can simply use it to get a “pass” just like they used to. Additionally, those students who either participate in regional and federal level competitions, master athletes, world-class athletes and others holding any kind of a special title are waived and can get a “pass” automatically. For more details please check official documents regarding the criteria for passing in the official VK group of the faculty or the faculty website.

Such drastic changes in the way our PE classes are now carried out, of course, affected not only students, but PE faculty members as well. We reached out to one of the instructors, Darya Belorukova, in hopes to get a better understanding of what it’s like to be the one conducting these zoom PE classes of the new format. She kindly agreed to participate in short interview.

Darya Belorukova
Darya Belorukova
Darya, what’s your general impression of the new format of PE classes?

I personally think that the new format of our PE classes, just like pretty much everything in life, has its’ own advantages and disadvantages. In general, life gets simpler if one focuses on the former – it makes it a lot easier to enjoy it. However, I do have to admit that I miss our offline classes. Those are all about the energy you feel in there. Additionally, there is a lot more space in the sports hall that we use for those and it’s also a lot easier to make sure everyone is doing the exercises correctly, easier to help students fix the mistakes they make. But I am very thankful for the opportunity to have such an option as online classes. Taking the current situation into account, it’s great that we can at least have that.

Since you mentioned that the new format of PE classes had some advantages, could you, please, list a couple of those?

First of all, any kind of activity, no matter what it is, is a lot better than no physical activity a lot. That is especially important to those who have to spend a lot of time sitting down, working at their desk, for students as well. Human body was created in such a way to enable people to run, do a lot of various activities, survive in the wild. Movement, in general, is essential for us. However, our modern lifestyle is completely different from that – we often have no other choice but to sit in the same chair, in the same position for hours on end. Not moving at all for such a prolonged period of time (2-6 hours) can cause serious damage to one’s health. I cannot stress enough how important staying active is. That is something everyone who cares about their health and loves themselves has to do.

The second advantage zoom PE classes have in comparison to our regular offline classes is that students don’t have to waste their time commuting to an HSE campus. All you really need to do is to change into your gym clothes and turn your computer on. Now it’s a lot harder to think of any excuses to skip a workout.

Lastly, we have a new flexible timetable and students are free to attend classes whenever they want to. And while that is also a huge advantage on its own, what I particularly like about the new PE class format is that it helps students to establish a certain routine. You simply need to check your regular timetable, figure out when you have enough energy and time to do a workout and then simply continue attending PE classes on those particular days that you’ve chosen. Apart from consistency that is extremely important, it would be nice to not only focus on a particular type of workouts but plan in such a way to include exercises of different intensity to keep the routine balanced. Since we have such a wide range of different classes students can always try out everything to figure which ones they like the best before settling for a particular routine.

All in all, this is a very interesting experience for me. Not only students have to get used to this new format of classes: instructors also have to learn how to explain and demonstrate exercises through the camera, how to check whether students are doing it correctly or not. For me personally, the most important goal is to channel positive energy, make classes uplifting, motivate students. It might be a bit hard to do that with zoom classes, but I’m very grateful to still have this opportunity to stay connected even in times like these.

P.S. Special thanks to Darya for dedicating her precious time to answer our questions and, hopefully, inspire some of you to give it a try, join us on zoom classes, stay active.

Make sure to check Darya’s social media accounts! She is absolutely amazing! Always ready to answer your questions and share various workouts and tips.

Stay active and healthy!

Text by
Nadezhda Bykova