Date of Award

8-9-2016

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Kinesiology and Health

First Advisor

Michael W. Metzler

Second Advisor

Rachel Gurvitch

Third Advisor

Shannon Barrett-Williams

Fourth Advisor

Brendan Calandra

Fifth Advisor

Brian Mosier

Abstract

Virtual physical education (VPE) offerings have grown for over a decade in the United States, but there has been little empirical knowledge shared, specifically regarding the design of courses to support and validate these expanding programs (Buschner, 2006; Mohnsen, 2012a; b; Mosier, 2012; Mosier & Lynn, 2012). Most VPE research has been conducted at the Florida Vir- tual School (FLVS), but few studies have been completed regarding VPE in Georgia (Watson Pape, Murin, Gemin, & Vashaw, 2014). Due to the lack of research along with the growth in VPE (Daum, 2014; Mosier, 2012; Watson et al., 2014), the purpose of this study was to perform an initial, descriptive examination of a district virtual personal fitness course in Georgia and determine the degree to which its design aligns with the criteria established by the National Association of Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) Initial Guidelines for Online Physical Education (PE) (2007). This study aimed to answer the following overarching research question: To what degree does the design of the virtual personal fitness course align with the NASPE Initial Guide- lines for Online PE? A thorough document analysis of the course website and student activity tracking data along with semi-structured interviews and electronic virtual personal fitness student and teacher anonymous survey questionnaires provide a detailed description of the course and illustrate the degree to which its design aligns with the 10 guidelines. Triangulated results of this study indicate superficial strong alignment with eight of the 10 guidelines, and moderate alignment with two of the 10 guidelines, but more evidence is needed to confirm alignment in practice. The researcher concludes that revisions to the guidelines are necessary to better capture evidence of alignment to further promote quality, optimal student learning and best practice in single district virtual personal fitness environments. The results of this study contribute to the over- all knowledge base of single district virtual personal fitness programs and set the stage for future research endeavors to investigate this phenomena and add to the literature in this area.

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