Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Major Professor

Stephen Sanders


distance education, K-12 virtual teaching, online physical education, virtual PE


The 21st century has brought changes to education — changes that include greater distance learning options for middle and high school students. While distance learning has been around for a century, the progressive ways in which students are able to select and complete virtual courses through the internet in nearly every secondary content area are increasing. Physical education courses at the secondary level are among the courses offered online to students across the United States and Canada. One question that prevails in communities and particularly in physical education circles is, “How do you teach PE online?” In an effort to address that very question, this study sought to describe online secondary physical education instruction through the lived experiences of four teachers who were doing just that. This was a 12–week qualitative case study that included data from two interviews with each of the four online PE teachers, interviews with two distance education administrators, virtual classroom observations, field notes, and the researcher's reflections. Analysis of the data showed that these online PE teachers had similar pathways to the online setting, they provided individualized instruction to their students, they offered students choices in the online PE classes, they facilitated student success in the online PE classes, and they each implicitly ascribed to constructivist educational theories and practices as online PE teachers. The results of this study support the premise that online secondary–level PE instruction has been a viable option for some teachers in the U.S. and Canada.