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ERIC Number: EJ843549
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Jun
Pages: 18
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0898-5952
How to Build a Better Online Community
Baek, Eun-Ok; Schwen, Thomas M.
Performance Improvement Quarterly, v19 n2 p51-68 Jun 2006
There have been many attempts to design online communities of practices (CoPs) as social contexts in which teachers can work together for their professional development. In practice, however, the realization of such a community is far from what is promised in theory. One of the most significant reasons for online community failures is our general lack of understanding of the potential influences of teachers' of-fline cultures. Thus, this study explores the interaction of online and offline teachers' cultures to better understand which offline cultural influences might affect teachers' participation in the Inquiry Learning Forum (ILF), an online community of practice hosted by the Center for Research on Learning and Technology (CRLT) at a mid-western university. Using a qualitative case-study approach, data were collected by conducting document analyses, holding online and face-to-face meetings, and conducting interviews with designers, researchers, and teachers. Weidentified seven cultural influences that negatively affected the teachers' rate of participation in the ILF: (1) lack of time, (2) their isolated working culture, (3) lack of reflection on their practices, (4) lack of technological support, (5) pressure from state-mandated standards, (6) pre-existing mistrust directed at the university, and (7) preferences for face-to-face interaction. These findings will inform future designers, so that they may continue to improve the utility of online CoPs for teachers' professional development. (Contains 1 figure and 3 tables.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A