Online education has most students glued to their chairs peering into what, at times, may seem like an endless void of work and assignments. Now, USC Recreational Sports has adapted workout classes to Zoom and made them completely free to students.

USC Recreational Sports and OT 100: THRIVE, an occupational science course, are helping students fight back against the mental and physical woes of remote learning.

“Our priority is to be able to serve our campus [and] our community during these difficult times,” said Mike Munson, the associate director of USC Recreational Sports.

USC alumni Ellen Murray is taking a yoga sculpt class this semester. She said that although online workout classes don’t replace in-person instruction, they still manage to “reintroduce aspects of camaraderie and community.”

Murray said that the online workouts are great opportunities.”You’re in the comfort of your own home and can keep your mic and camera off and work out at your own pace,” she said.

Munson shared that soon, the classes will be getting a production overhaul and feature classes that deliver engagement through multiple camera angles of the instructor. “You’ll feel more part of the class, like a regular in-person class,” Munson said. The improvement in production will allow USC Recreational Sports to host interactive intramural challenges, game nights and group events.

Professors Diego Lopez and Ashley Uyeshiro conduct OT 100: THRIVE, a wellness course that Lopez said is “a course by students, for students,” that only asks for student participation. Lopez explained that OT 100 places an emphasis on community connection and student reflection.

The course is open to all undergraduate majors, currently has 59 students enrolled and begins each week off with guest speakers and a reflective topic. Guest speakers range from deans and professors to professionals outside of the campus community. “This is where students get to catch their breath, where they get to think about themselves,” Lopez said.

Political science major Christine Nguyen was a student in OT 100 last semester when the class transitioned from in-person to online instruction due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nguyen shared that the communal essence of the course persisted despite the online change. “If anything it kind of just brought us closer together,” she said. Nguyen enjoyed the fact that with OT 100 being a course, she was required to engage in self-care and constructive conversations.

“We all shared very common struggles,” Nguyen said. “Whether it be struggling with mental health or finding community and identity.”