Developing an Online Learning

pielibraryInternet and Web Development

Dec 4, 2013 (3 years and 6 months ago)

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Developing an Online Learning
Community

for Educational Technology Leaders:
A Mixed Methods Study


Jon M. Bellum

Sandy Lathem

University of Vermont

VTcite.org Origins


Vermont Commons for Information
Technology Educators


Organized by two state non
-
profits &
University of Vermont


Funded through Title IID state
-
wide grant


Included 30 state educational technology
leaders



Purpose of VTcite

1.
Collect & develop resources to help
technology planning

2.
Provide strategies for professional
development with technology

3.
Build a strong catalog of content
-
based technology resources to meet
state standards

The Tool

Uses Drupal
-

open
-
source content management

System (www.drupal.org)

Communities of Practice


Educational origins in Carmichael (1982),
Fullan (1993), Astuto, et al. (1993) and in
organizational theory in Senge (2000)


“groups of people who share a concern, a set
of problems, or a passion about a topic, and
who deepen their knowledge and expertise in
this area by interacting on an ongoing basis”
Wenger, McDermott and Snyder(2002)


Online

Communities of Practice


Four levels of online community
Henry & Pudelko (2003)



Cohesion

Intentional

Community of interest

Goal
-
Oriented Community of interest

Learners’ Community

Community of Practice

The Study

1.
Explored how the VTCite project supported
the transformation of a goal
-
oriented
community of educational technology
educators into a state
-
wide community of
practice;

2.
Describes how the design of an open
-
source content management system
facilitates professional learning communities
to overcome geographical and professional
isolation;


Methodology

Parallel mixed methods study

Tashakkori & Teddlie (1998)


Online Survey

(quantitative)

Analysis of Blogs

(qualitative)

Convergence

Data were converged in the final analysis
where instances of agreement and
disagreement were identified between
the quantitative and qualitative data
(Creswell, 2003)

Findings (quantitative)

Online Learning Communities (n=19)



Findings (quantitative)

Online Tools (n=19)

Findings (qualitative)


10 of 30 participant blogs analyzed looking for
emergent themes using Nvivo


Three themes emerged within the general concept
of community evolution

Community Evolution

Personal

Course

Community as
whole

Findings (qualitative)

Themes


Personal


Participants expressed excitement


Caused them to reflect


Course


Expressed frustration with course structure but
understood the need for common language


Community as Whole


Even with other distractions felt they did build a
community though in its infancy “Whatever the
final outcome… for VTcite to be successful, it will
need continued support of those with the ‘fire in
their bellies’”

Discussion


Community Evolution


Core vision was never fully developed


Course vs. Community Structure


The course distracted from the development of
community, but community helped the course


Online Communities of Practice


They feel COPs need technology but they also
need face
-
to
-
face meetings


Next Steps


VTcite has been funded for Phase II (2007
-
2008)


15
-
20 Phase I participants will facilitate up to
50 new participants


More emphasis on community, then
professional development


Will have a regional flavor with face
-
to
-
face
meetings supported by the technology


Site will continue to be developed and new
community administrators will be trained