Fresno City College to offer ‘Pokémon Go’ class

A sign posted on the Fresno City College campus alerted students about a new walking class centered around mobile game “Pokémon Go.”
A sign posted on the Fresno City College campus alerted students about a new walking class centered around mobile game “Pokémon Go.” Fresno City College

Combing through Fresno’s endless supply of Pidgey, Rattata and Paras can now earn you college credit.

Fresno City College announced over the weekend a new walking class that will center on “Pokémon Go,” a mobile game that requires players to walk the Earth in search of tiny monsters and landmarks. The craze has rocked the gaming world, earning a reported $200 million in its first month.

College spokeswoman Cris Monahan Bremer confirmed to The Bee that the class is legitimate. It is officially listed as a physical education course, PE-6 #25718 Walking. It offers one unit of transferable credit. The course will start in the second half of the fall semester, running 9-10:25 a.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from Oct. 17 to Dec. 8.

Oliver Germond, the college’s women’s soccer coach, will teach the course.

“My dean approached me about it, and at first, I thought she was joking,” Germond said. “She explained it to me, and I agreed to teach it. It’s a fun way of making a fitness class work and attracting more students to physical fitness.”

Germond doesn’t play the game himself, but many of his friends do. He’s currently writing the curriculum for the course. One word of warning: it isn’t just about catching Pokémon. Germond said he plans to incorporate elements of the game into a fitness course focused on walking, running and other basic cardiovascular workouts.

Fresno City is one of several major hotspots in town for “Pokémon Go” enthusiasts. The campus has several Pokémon gyms – landmarks where players battle one another – and dozens of Pokéstops, which provide items and can serve as lures for wild Pokémon.

The class requires students to use their own cell phones, and they’re responsible for any data costs they incur while playing. However, Fresno City offers free Wi-Fi to all students, faculty and staff.

California’s oldest community college appears to be the first in the state to incorporate the craze into its curriculum. The University of Idaho gained considerable media attention after it announced a similar course last month.

If hunting for Snorlax in front of the Old Administration Building piques your interest, you still have time to register. The class has 26 open spots, Bremer said, and the college is looking into adding more Poké-walking classes.

Bremer said the college’s graphic designer is also working on adding Pokéstop and gym locations to the hundreds of printed campus maps given out to students at the beginning of each semester. California State University, Monterey Bay, has already added a “Pokémon Go” map to its website.

Rory Appleton: 559-441-6015, @RoryDoesPhonics