ERIC Number: ED491611
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2005
The Role of Facilitation in Online Professional Development. Engendering Co-Construction of Knowledge
Feger, Stephanie; Zibit, Melanie
Education Alliance at Brown University
This paper examines the role of facilitation in the Investigations Online seminars, which support the professional learning of elementary school teachers and mathematics specialists using the Investigations in Number, Data, and Space curriculum. Our study considered how a facilitator fosters collaborative discussion that leads to co-construction of knowledge among seminar participants. We used a mixed methodology, incorporating both quantitative and qualitative approaches. Based on a technique for analyzing text messages in online courses, we first assessed levels of teaching presence (Anderson, Rourke, Garrison, & Archer, 2001) through a comparative analysis of six Web-based seminars. Although facilitation in online professional development shares characteristics of teaching presence in online courses, we observed that professional learning entails the use of additional facilitation strategies. To further investigate the role of facilitation in the context of online discussions, we adopted a grounded theory methodology. Taking examples from these discussions, this paper describes a key strategy, "steering toward others," that the facilitator uses to foster mathematical inquiry and build professional knowledge for teaching practice. Appended are: (1) Profile of the Online Facilitator; (2) Teaching Presence; (3) Initial Categories From Open Coding; and (4) Refined Coding Scheme. (Contains 2 tables.)
Descriptors: Comparative Analysis, Teaching Methods, Seminars, Online Courses, Faculty Development, Elementary School Teachers, Mathematics Teachers, Specialists, Teacher Collaboration, Web Based Instruction, Teacher Role, Discussion (Teaching Technique)
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Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Institute of Education Sciences (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Brown Univ., Providence, RI. Education Alliance for Equity in the Nation's Schools.