For Jacob Goodin, Ph.D., office hours can be a bit unconventional. In addition to teaching 30 or so kinesiology students in person, he’s often flooded with emails in his inbox from across the world. Why you may ask? Goodin is a bit of a YouTube legend.
Like most other educators who abruptly pivoted to online teaching in 2020, Goodin had to flex a new muscle and get creative with teaching in the digital world.
“I couldn’t just stop teaching my students,” said Goodin. “Option one was that I could go on Zoom, which didn’t go well. Option two was to record my lectures and once COVID-19 died down go back to teaching face to face. Or, option three was, what if I did the best darn job I could on these videos and made them a resource that would stand in perpetuity for my students every semester?”
“What if I did the best darn job I could on these videos and made them a resource that would stand in perpetuity for my students every semester?”
He went with option three, and it paid off. With 10,500 subscribers and over 200 pre-recorded lectures that he can still utilize in his curriculum and pedagogy, the YouTube channel is making an impact two years later.
“I get emails every day from people all over the world saying, ‘Dr. Goodin, thank you so much because your YouTube channel helped me pass my strength and conditioning class,’ or, ‘it helped me study for the certified strength and conditioning certification.’ That’s really rewarding and satisfying to see,” said Goodin.
Despite the clout that comes from making it big on YouTube, Goodin said the main message of his channel is for students.
“It’s there to serve students. I never want it to morph into something else,” said Goodin. “It’s a way of sharing knowledge and helping others live well.”
Goodin’s knack for teaching, even in the online world, is the byproduct of not only his master’s and Ph.D. degrees, but also extensive hands-on experience in coaching, research, and his personal love of improving and achieving fitness goals. However, it took a while to find this true calling.
“I had no idea what kinesiology was when I first went to college. I thought I was going to be a business major,” said Goodin. “In one of God’s strange ways that He works, I had some poor grades my first semester, and I had to take a bunch of courses my second semester to get my grades up and keep my scholarship. One of those courses was kinesiology 101. I realized in that course that there’s this whole field that studies the human body and performance, rehab, and injury. I thought, ‘Wow, this is amazing.’ If I can study human performance for the rest of my life, I think I would be happy. Honestly, since that second semester of freshman year, I never looked back.”
“If I can study human performance for the rest of my life, I think I would be happy. Honestly, since that second semester of freshman year, I never looked back.”
Although he found the field that he was meant to be in, knowing how he could use his talents and aspirations was yet another hurdle to overcome. Goodin took on the roles of performance specialist, adjunct professor at Westmont College, and high school coach for track and field and cross-country. Choosing teaching out of all the options was a decision that happened during his master’s and Ph.D. programs.
“Long-term, I thought I wanted to be a track and field coach,” said Goodin. “I eventually went back to school because if I had a master’s in exercise physiology that would make me more marketable as a track coach. In the course of that and learning how to do research and what sports science was as a field, I also had the privilege of being a strength coach at a Division I school. Spending 14 hours a day in the weight room, while having a family, I realized that wasn’t sustainable for me.”
The grind of being a weight training coach, the lead reviewer for the International Coaching & Sport Science College Conference, and a student himself (not to mention becoming a father) was demanding.
“By the time I was done with grad school, we had all three of our kids, and I just knew that it wasn’t sustainable for me,” said Goodin. “In the course of my Ph.D., I realized teaching and coaching are very similar and involve a lot of the same components.”
With teaching, Goodin bridged his research expertise in strength and conditioning and athlete monitoring to apply it in the classroom. Within his four years at PLNU, Goodin launched the athlete monitoring initiative (AMI). AMI is a collaboration between athletics and kinesiology whereby graduate and undergraduate students are able to collect data for PLNU athletes, which is then given to the strength coach who is able to use that data to make sure training programs are meeting athletes’ needs and preventing injury.
“In the long run, it’s a better setup for athletes because now you’re able to match the training inputs with what the athlete is actually capable of,” said Goodin.
Goodin empowers students to use research within their sports and academic environments because he said that is the best way to understand the classroom materials.
“Having research and coaching experience brings the lecture material to life,” said Goodin. “Oftentimes you can teach a concept in your lecture, but the students don’t really grasp it until they see the context around it from a real-life situation.”
From YouTuber to teacher, Goodin said PLNU has been an environment that supported him and welcomed him and his family.
“From day one, it was clear to me it was more of a family atmosphere,” said Goodin. “These are good friends who will pray for you, who care about you, and ask how you’re doing. That’s been amazing. One of the biggest differentiators between PLNU and other universities I had interviews at was their hospitality. Every person I interviewed with made my family and me feel so incredibly welcome. They were so excited at the potential of having us here at PLNU. That was definitely the Holy Spirit saying all of these things are signs that this is a good place for you.”
To check out Dr. Goodin’s videos, visit https://www.youtube.com/c/DrJacobGoodin