Type of Document Dissertation Author Callihan, Laurie Ann Perryman Author's Email Address email@example.com URN etd-04102011-123008 Title A Qualitative Inquiry into the Development and Facilitation of a Science Education Learning Community through Participation in an Online Graduate Program Degree Doctor of Philosophy Department Teacher Education, School of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Nancy T. Davis Committee Chair Alejandro J. Gallard Martinez Committee Member Lawrence C. Scharmann Committee Member Jeffrey A Milligan University Representative Keywords
- Community of Practice
- Science Education
- Online Graduate Program
- Qualitatitive Inquiry
- Graduate Online Learning Community
Date of Defense 2011-02-15 Availability unrestricted AbstractThis study is a qualitative inquiry considering the development and facilitation of a science education community of practice according to the definition of Wenger (1998, 1999) through participation in the graduate online science education program (GOSEP) Master’s Degree track. Three research questions were considered:
1) In what ways do interactions within the GOSEP community of practice impact development of the teacher/student from outsider to novice to apprentice to master (Wenger, 1999)?
2) In what ways does personal development impact the community of practice?
3) In what ways do the interactions of professors with students impact the development of a community of practice in the GOSEP?
The qualitative research frame was Integral Methodological Pluralism along with a hermeneutical approach to textual analysis and an autoethnographic viewpoint. The participants included seven students and two professors from the GOSEP. Data analyzed was in situ Blackboard™ and other online venues from classes dating Fall 2007 through Summer 2009 as well as semi-structured interviews, follow-ups, and member-check surveys. Results supported the assertions that 1) a community of practice (CoP) existed in the GOSEP, 2) the CoP assisted individual learning and growth from apprentice to novice to master, 3) that the CoP was most healthy and supported apprentice to master growth when a diversity of adult developmental levels existed in the group, and 4) the interactions of the professors in allowing the students to take on master roles and limiting their own control within the CoP contributed to the healthy development of students from apprentice to novice to master. Implications of this research suggest that the CoP model of online learning is effective and productive in allowing students to gain experience and knowledge in the skills, background knowledge, theory, and practice of becoming masters in the practice for which the community is designed to study. Future research engaging online CoPs with greater numbers, longer periods of study, and comparative studies with other types of online programs is suggested.
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