ERIC Number: ED491601
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2005
Gauging and Improving Interactions in Online Seminars for Mathematics Coaches
Lalli, Cathy Bonus; Feger, Stephanie
Education Alliance at Brown University
A key characteristic of both high-quality professional development and successful online learning communities is peer-to-peer interaction. This paper describes the results of a study in which we examined the quality of peer-to-peer interaction among diverse groups of geographically dispersed educators in an online professional development project called Investigations Online. Using mixed methods, the study examined data from online seminars designed for mathematics coaches to support implementation of the standards-based, elementary school curriculum, "Investigations in Number, Data, and Space." In this paper, we describe key elements for assessing the quality of the peer-to-peer interaction in online seminars as a function of three factors (interaction patterns, word quantity, and discussion levels). Analyses of these three factors provided a systematic way to compare interaction across a series of seminars. We report on design changes to the seminars and their impact on peer-to-peer interaction. In particular, results showed the effectiveness of the change in seminar format and discussion strategy to rotating responsibility for peer-led discussions on seminar topics. Discussion excerpts of typical thematic units that were coded under each category are appended. (Contains 4 tables and 5 figures.)
Descriptors: Group Dynamics, Elementary School Curriculum, Seminars, Professional Development, Computer Mediated Communication, Online Courses, Peer Relationship, Tutors, Mathematics Teachers, Teacher Student Relationship, Instructional Design, Research Methodology
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Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Sponsor: Institute of Education Sciences (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Brown Univ., Providence, RI. Education Alliance for Equity in the Nation's Schools.; Northeast and Islands Regional Educational Lab. at Brown Univ., Providence, RI.