Volume 6, Issue 2, Summer 2007
Using On-Line Modules for Professional Development in Action Research: Analysis of Beta Testing Results
Although research identifies a plethora of evidence-based instructional practices, classroom teachers find research difficult to access, often not implemented due to perceived lack of relevance to classroom practice. Bridging this gap between research and practice requires continued and mediated support as teachers translate and contextualize research findings through the lenses of prior knowledge, understandings, and impact on student results within their classrooms. This developmental process is both time consuming and individual. To address the need for responsive, individual, and contextualized support during the implementation process of evidenced-based instructional practices by teachers to determine impact of instruction, an on-line module in action research has been developed, implemented, and researched using a beta testing process. This manuscript describes the content of the on-line module and mediated support, outlines the specific research framework of beta testing procedures and instrumentation, analyzes the results from the pilot group of teachers who participated in this on-line module, and describes the limitations and considerations for continued research.
A Comparison of Anonymous Versus Identifiable e-Peer Review on College Student Writing Performance and the Extent of Critical Feedback
Peer review has become commonplace in composition courses and is increasingly employed in the context of telecommunication technology. The purpose of this experiment was to compare the effects of anonymous and identifiable electronic peer (e-peer) review on college student writing performance and the extent of critical peer feedback. Participants were 92 undergraduate freshmen in four English composition classes enrolled in the fall semesters of 2003 and 2004. The same instructor taught all four classes, and in each semester, one class was assigned to the anonymous e-peer review group and the other to the identifiable e-peer review group. All other elements—course content, assignments, demands, and classroom instruction—were held constant. The results from both semesters showed that students participating in anonymous e-peer review performed better on the writing performance task and provided more critical feedback to their peers than did students participating in the identifiable e-peer review.
Evaluation and Application of Andragogical Assumptions to the Adult Online Learning Environment
The usefulness and application of andragogical assumptions has long been debated by adult educators. The assumptions of andragogy are often criticized due to the lack of empirical evidence to support them, even though several educational theories are represented within the assumptions. In adult online education, these assumptions represent an ideal starting point for educators to use in their instructional approach. Application of these assumptions with respect to the type of course being taught and individual student needs can help create a learner centered approach to online education.
Internet Relationships: Building Learning Communities through Friendship
The experiences of students in an online learning community were explored in this qualitative case study using social presence theory as an interpretive lens. Participants included five undergraduate students in a certificate program at a large Midwestern university. Students who felt a sense of community online most highly valued the friendship they felt with their online teammates. Three main components were key in the development of friendship: individual learner factors, sharing, and support. All students found face-to-face contact to be essential, as it deepened their relationships considerably. Suggestions for how faculty can encourage the building of friendships online are given. Further research is recommended into the role students’ personalities and face-to-face contact play in building an online community.