March 2014 - Parks & Recreation - 26

Member to Member
Just Another Listserv?

A longtime participant of the NRPA Connect Networks shares
her views on the value of this member connection tool
By Laurie K. Harmon, Ph.D., RLA

I

f 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 ed-

24

Parks & Recreation

ucator, 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

| M A R C H 2 0 1 4 | W W W. N R PA . O R G

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.
Recently, for instance, the NRPA
Top 5 email provided multiple innovative examples of collaborations,
which allowed me to build a series of
case studies for a two-day workshop
in a Leisure Services Management
course. The students not only re-



March 2014 - Parks & Recreation

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of March 2014 - Parks & Recreation

March 2014 - Parks & Recreation - 1
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