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Course Report

The Study Group Learns About Exercise

Before the launch of Class Central’s first public Study Group, we learned how exercise benefits the body.

Dr. Robert Mazzeo, Science of Exercise instructor
Dr. Robert Mazzeo, Science of Exercise instructor

After Mindware: Critical Thinking for the Information Age, the Class Central internal Study Group was ready for a different topic. @vishnu proposed four courses and we voted via a Google Form to try Science of Exercise from University of Colorado Boulder via Coursera. Once again, we took advantage of a free certificate offer from Coursera.

It was an interesting experience. Week one delved into metabolic processes, and how the body extracts energy from the main types of food: carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Since many in our group had little previous knowledge of biology, this week proved challenging. Different members coped in different ways, from simply auditing the videos to Googling unknown terms and attempting the quizzes. Some group members were surprised that the course emphasised physiological processes rather than results of research into exercise and practical tips for exercise. Perhaps this was partly because of the highly practical approach of the Sleep Deprivation Teach-out we took during January.

Conversation in our Study Group channel on Slack:

XXX: Course science of exercise is talking about core science behind exercise.

YYY: what did you expect….?

XXX: Direct research outcomes of exercise. How to do what to do in which situation and so on.

ZZZ: I am also overwhelmed by the course. Don’t get most of the terms and have to google them. (e.g. aerobic reaction) Thought it’s about Daily exercise 🙂

XXX: You’re hard working. I didn’t bother to Google the terms.

I found the course fascinating, particularly when it explained how the body adapts to regular exercise by increased efficiency of metabolic processes including respiration and blood flow. Now I know why muscles can feel sore the day after doing vigorous exercise! We are constantly being told that exercise can lower our risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and other diseases; this course tells us how those processes work.

During the Sleep course, we discovered that almost everyone in the team has a fitness tracking device of one brand or another. Discussion in our Zoom meetings included how we exercise. Our Class Central work involves hours at the computer and some of us do little exercise. Others exercise in a variety of ways. Covid lockdown stopped Heba’s dance classes, so she now uses a rowing machine at home. Dhawal plays badminton. Some team members climb several flights of stairs every time they come home. My main exercise is walking.


Assessment was via four weekly quizzes worth 20% each, with the final 20% coming from a peer-reviewed assignment at the end of the course. After I wrote about peer assessments earlier this year, I found it hard to get motivated to complete the final assignment. With my harsh comments about plagiarism, I was paranoid about making sure the whole assignment was in my own words, rather than using a common phrase or two from the lecture videos or other sources. Finally, though, I wrote my essay and assessed several answers written by my peers without finding evidence of plagiarism. I was relieved when my results came back very quickly (overnight).

@vishnu earned his certificate before I did, while @suparn passed all the quizzes but decided not to attempt the written assignment.

As April drew to a close and Class Central’s first public study group session approached, the other group members focused on the future rather than finishing the current course. Join one of our study groups and learn together with learners around the world with weekly live sessions.

Pat Bowden Profile Image

Pat Bowden

Online learning specialist, still learning after 200+ online courses completed since 2012. Class Central customer support and help since 2018. I am keen to help others make the most of online learning, so I set up a website:  www.onlinelearningsuccess.org

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