Communications Project

Document Type:Dissertation
Name:Todd Robert Pennington
Title:Exploring the Use and Influence of the USPE-L Listserv on K-12 Physical Educators
Degree:Doctor of Philosophy
Department:Teaching and Learning
Committee Chair: Dr. George Graham
Committee Members:Dr. John Burton
Dr. Jerry Niles
Dr. Jon Poole
Dr. Sandy Stroot
Keywords:Internet, Listserv, Physical Education, Teacher Isolation, Professional Development
Date of defense:July 29, 1998
Availability:Release the entire work for Virginia Tech access only.
After one year release worldwide only with written permission of the student and the advisory committee chair.


Two themes appear to be prevalent today in K-12 physical education-- the challenges of workplace conditions in relationship to teachers professional development, and the increasing use of the Internet and its services. These two themes are reflected in this study. The purpose of this study was to explore how USPE-L was being used by its subscribers and describe the influence, if any, it had on K-12 physical education teachers. USPE-L is a physical education listserv which encourages teachers to discuss and share ideas about improving their teaching and programs--and perhaps also gain support from distant colleagues when it may not be immediately available in a local community.

This study used multiple sources of data collection including an on-line (electronic mail) survey (N=113), follow-up phone interviews (N=10), and the investigator’s fieldnotes. Data analysis included quantitative descriptive statistics and a qualitative inductive content analysis. The findings revealed two overarching themes--benefits of participation and factors limiting participation. These findings indicated that teachers read messages almost daily, yet prefer to interact with others through private e-mail. Participation on the listserv appeared to be a valued resource leading subscribers to teaching activities, teaching resources, curricular materials, and reduced feelings of isolation. Implications are provided for listserv owners and K-12 physical educators.

List of Attached Files


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