Ethics & Exercise
‘Ethics’ and ‘Exercise’ in My First Course at CSP Online
One class complete! It was a bit of a whirlwind, but I made it through the first course of my online master’s in exercise science program at Concordia University, St. Paul. To be honest, I wasn’t completely ready for how quickly the semester went by! Each class lasts just seven weeks, which is a very short timeline to soak in all the information provided. Luckily, the instructor of my ethics course provided enough structure to the class that it allowed me to stay super attentive. I can’t say it wasn’t a challenge to keep up with the frequent logging on and assignments as I was on the road traveling during the entirety of the first course.
For those of you who see me traveling, racing, working and taking on this graduate program, do not be mistaken! It is not an easy workload. There are mandatory live class sessions on Mondays, weekly discussion posts on Thursdays, follow-up discussions on Sundays, and additional written assignments due throughout the course. So, yes, a big challenge, but one that only solidified my choice that this was a worthy commitment for my future. Plus, I got really good at using my phone’s calendar app to add due dates and reminders!
What really matters, which isn’t the schedule, is the actual course work and what I learned. One of the best parts about being enrolled in a grad program is the access to a scientific library. Full-text journals are hard to come by without this access, and being able to freely browse has allowed me to geek out on exercise and nutrition info. In this course specifically, I used the university’s library to search for peer-reviewed journals and research using criteria like “exercise” and “ethics”. It’s really fun to browse what comes up with simple search criteria, and I found several reads that really piqued my interest. One was about persons with eating disorders potentially endangering the ethics of instructors, trainers and coaches. This article was extremely enlightening and very relevant to current fitness trends and diet culture.
I referenced this article’s information for a writing assignment. Writing assignments can be difficult for some, but I generally enjoy the task (probably because I’m a published author and freelance writer). Writing about a topic requires diving into information and exploring ideas to develop your own thoughts on the story, and I find I learn a great deal when having to produce a paper. The assignment was to research an ethical situation associated with exercise. I did not have to think hard on this one as, sadly, being a long-time athlete has exposed me to many potential topics.
As I wrote a list of potential options to pick from, a tweet popped up about a few cyclists being found positive for performance enhancing drugs in a recent fondo event, and just like that, I had my topic. Most cyclists have some knowledge of how doping creeps into the sport, but I’ve never done a deep dive on the matter. I wasn’t just exploring the topic from a neutral standpoint, though; I was looking through an ethical lens. It was refreshing and gave me a completely new perspective. I had to explore how cycling culture promoted ethically compromised situations, which likely enhanced the use of performance enhancing drugs by these athletes. The paper was supposed to be around four pages, and I’m pretty sure I turned in close to seven.
Another fun aspect I enjoyed in this course was the discussion boards. Back in undergrad, sitting in a huge lecture hall and surrounded by peers, I remember how no one talked, ever. Not about the course work, anyway. If the professor asked questions, the room fell silent with each student looking nervously to the next, silently urging someone else to speak. No conversations started, and no ideas were shared due to the fear of speaking up in front of others. Online courses provide a great platform to move past this. With discussion board threads, you can read others thoughts and post your own responses much more freely. Since you can read the topic or questions and have time to think it over, you can learn more and form a much more in-depth, thought out response as opposed to just shouting out the first idea that pops into your head in a live classroom situation. I found the weekly ethics discussions to provide insight into how others interpret situations. There were many posts where my peers had viewpoints that I would have never even considered because they were coming at the topic or situation with a different perspective, background and experience. When it comes to debating ethics, it was important for me to be open to conversations and keep an open mind in order to grow in my profession.
Overall, I’m glad to step away from my first course with new viewpoints that pertain to taking exercise instruction into real-world practice. Additionally, I feel more comfortable in the online platform format and confident with my return to being a student!
Next I take on a course that I am extremely excited about; Exercise Physiology!! This course is bound to challenge and expand my knowledge of how fitness impacts the body. Can’t wait to share what I learn with you all!