Date of Award





Doctor of Education


Counseling, Foundations & Leadership

First Advisor

Michael D. Richardson

Second Advisor

Robert Waller

Third Advisor

Christopher Garretson


With the sudden growth of distance education at the turn of the century, online offerings of fitness and wellness courses spread quickly across college curriculums. However, the emergence of rigorously designed research regarding the ability of online, concepts-based fitness and wellness classes to significantly improve student health has progressed at a more leisurely pace, leaving stakeholders within higher education unsure of its effectiveness. The purpose of this study was to examine changes of levels health-related fitness among 28 undergraduate students enrolled in an online, 15-week fitness and wellness course. The study centered around the concept of health-related fitness having five components: cardiovascular endurance, body composition, flexibility, muscular strength, and muscular endurance. Participants underwent a battery of fitness tests administered by a graduate assistant before and after a mandatory period of exercise that spanned 8 weeks of Lifetime Fitness & Wellness at Tennessee Technological University during the Fall 2018 semester. The assessments included the YMCA 3-Minute Step Test to measure cardiovascular endurance, bioelectrical impedance calculation of body composition, the Sit and Reach Test of trunk flexibility, the use of a dynamometer to determine grip strength, and the American College of Sports Medicine Push-Up Test to measure muscular endurance. Statistical analysis using paired samples t-tests revealed significant improvements among levels of cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, and muscular endurance. Changes to muscular strength and body composition were not statistically significant. The results of this study support the existing literature in that online, concepts-based fitness and wellness courses are an effective means of improving student health.