Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Just Another Listserv? A Longtime Participant of the NRPA Connect Networks Shares Her Views on the Value of This Member Connection Tool

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Just Another Listserv? A Longtime Participant of the NRPA Connect Networks Shares Her Views on the Value of This Member Connection Tool

Article excerpt

If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it, does it make a noise? In today's digital world, the question might sound more like this: If no one responds to a Listserv post (or any other mass digital query), then is the posting valuable? NRPA's Park Resources Network (PRN) recently put forth several questions along this line to its members via the NRPA Network Listserv hoping to learn if and how the network creates value for its members.

The first question was, perhaps, the broadest and simply asked: Is our network Listserv valuable? As a member of the PRN, my response was immediate ... most definitely! OK--I admit I rarely post responses to Listservs. In fact, I sometimes feel a bit voyeuristic since I prefer to read others' responses rather than post my own. However, while I may not often respond to posts on the network, I do find value in my colleagues' posts. For example, as an educator, I have used the questions and topics posted on our network Listserv to frame similar questions that I then pose to my students. These questions provide the catalyst for our class discussions or allow me to set the context for an entire unit of study.

Both my teaching and practice are guided by research findings, and research suggests student learning is greatly enhanced by the use of real-life and relevant issues. By using the topics generated by member Q&As to guide class sessions, I have observed students becoming increasingly engaged and more interested in critically examining the very issues they will encounter once they become practitioners.

The second question posed by the PRN addressed how we could most effectively communicate with each other. This answer can vary quite a bit, which makes it particularly challenging to address. I prefer receiving weekly postings, since daily communications quickly get overwhelming. I sometimes think of myself as a bit of a miner when it comes to processing electronic information. I typically take just a minute or two to read through the topics and short introductory descriptions in NRPA's Top 5 emails as well as the Network postings to see what might enhance that week's topics or could be useful for future class sessions. Quite regularly, I find at least one important knowledge bite that is relevant and timely.

The Top 5 postings and Network emails help me identify not only current practitioner issues, but also the range of partnerships in which our members engage (both at the network and full organization level). This provides another great source of relevant practitioner examples to share with students. …

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