A case study of online communities of practice for teacher education: motivators, barriers and outcomes

Baran, Bahar
The aim of the study was to investigate the dynamics of two online communities of practice (oCoP) for preservice teachers. The research process encompassed three main phases. Phase 1 was related to the design and development of online environment. By the help of existing literature and a pilot study, a portal which is called as “Professional Development Circle (PDC)” was developed. In Phase-2, 28 preservice teachers from three different universities participated to an online course as a part of an undergraduate course. During the term, they discussed on different video cases which were recorded in real classroom environments and produced new lesson plans for these lessons in the light of given suggestions. In the third phase, the same preservice teachers got involved in a different online environment without any grading motivation in the Phase 2. They discussed on some hot topics in mathematics teaching with other preservice teachers, academicians and experienced teachers. This research study was mainly a qualitative study. Two cases of the study were two oCoP which included mandatory or voluntary participation of preservice teachers to discussions. The data were collected through written reflection reports, observations and interviews. In addition, private e-mail exchange with participants and discussion list message history were rich data sources. The data were analyzed according to qualitative data analysis techniques. The design principles and findings of this research study were discussed in the frame of Activity Theory. This study revealed outcomes of two online communities of practice environments in preservice teacher education. In addition, motivators and barriers to be active in oCoP environments were discussed. Some of the motivators were getting more responsibility, self confidance, sociable personality, altruism, sincerity in the environment, and quality of materials while some of the barriers were not wanting to enter a fight, lack of time, the idea “max benefit minimum effort”, feeling availability of others, and Internet access and computer availability.


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Citation Formats
B. Baran, “A case study of online communities of practice for teacher education: motivators, barriers and outcomes,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2007.