Encouraging Students to Attend the National Convention
Fiorentino, Leah Holland, Manson, Mara, Whalen, Shannon, JOPERD--The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance
Two years ago, the faculty from Adelphi University's Department of Health Studies, Physical Education, and Human Performance Science were discussing ways to increase graduate student involvement in AAHPERD. The undergraduate Majors Club was successful at encouraging students to attend AAHPERD conferences, especially the state conference, but graduate student attendance was always low. Graduate students were more likely to be self-supporting, to have families and jobs that prevented them from taking time off to travel, and to be reluctant to spend money on hotels, airfare, and conference fees. Although the informal strategies for encouraging conference attendance by undergraduates--advocated by Darden, Nelson, and Parsons (2005)--may have some application to graduate students as well, the Adelphi faculty pursued a more formal approach. As a result of discussions, the faculty created an elective three-credit "conference course." The course was a time intensive experience that required both conference attendance and completion of a series of assignments concerning workshop content and professional development at an AAHPERD convention.
The faculty wondered whether this course would motivate the students to travel and spend money on conference attendance. They also questioned whether the course would be sufficiently rigorous to merit three academic credits. To answer those questions, the faculty conducted a nationwide survey to discover whether conference courses were offered at other institutions. They discovered that while health education and physical education faculty at the other universities were interested in the conference course idea, few were offering similar experiences. They also discovered that in the programs offering the course, students generally earned one credit, rather than three. The faculty at those institutions were gracious in sharing ideas for assignments, which became the foundation for a course curriculum rigorous enough to earn three graduate credits.
The first conference course was organized in conjunction with the AAPHERD National Convention & Exposition in New Orleans. To ensure sufficient class enrollment, the course was offered to upper-level undergraduate students as well as to graduate students. Twelve students enrolled in and completed the course during the pilot semester. Formative and summative evaluation processes and candid feedback from the students streamlined the model, and the course is now a permanent elective. The rest of this article details the steps taken to initiate a conference course for academic credit, describes the curriculum of the course, outlines the face-to-face interactions among students and the course instructors, and provides recommendations for adopting the model on other college campuses.
Phase 1: Pre-Convention Planning
To ensure a successful conference course experience, interested faculty can follow six steps. The first step is to initiate discussion with department faculty members (early in September) to share the general concept of the conference course, as well as to gather support or recruit other faculty members interested in being a part of the effort. Once all interested faculty are identified, the second step focuses on syllabus and assignment development, including assessments. This process should begin immediately, as the material will need to be approved by both department and upper-level administrators. National and state standards should be incorporated so that the course satisfies the needs of all related disciplines, such as teacher preparation, sport management, and exercise science. Assignments for the conference course should include components that can be completed before the convention (online, if possible, to maintain the integrity of the time-intensive model), tasks to be completed at the convention, and written requirements to be submitted after the convention …
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Publication information: Article title: Encouraging Students to Attend the National Convention. Contributors: Fiorentino, Leah Holland - Author, Manson, Mara - Author, Whalen, Shannon - Author. Journal title: JOPERD--The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance. Volume: 76. Issue: 6 Publication date: August 2005. Page number: 46+. © 2009 American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD). COPYRIGHT 2005 Gale Group.
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