Preservice teachers' response to an online learning community system (OLC) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE)
Nedal Mohamed Shurbak Altenaiji, University of Colorado at Denver, United States
University of Colorado at Denver . Awarded
The purpose of this study was to understand the effect of engaging preservice teachers in an online learning community (OLC) on their sense of community, technological proficiency, and attitude toward online learning. The web-based learning community was developed in two undergraduate courses at the College of Education in the United Arab Emirates University. Three main stages were identified for building an online learning community included Forming Community, Experiencing Community, and Functioning Effectively.
A mixed-method design was used to understand how the preservices teachers utilized the online learning community (OLC) and how it affected their sense of community and technological skills. A total of 108 preservice female teachers participated in the study voluntarily and self-enrolled into the two courses of two sections each. A questionnaire was distributed to collect quantitative and qualitative data. Data analysis included: one-way ANCOVA to detect difference between the control and the treatment groups in the sense of community and the technological proficiency; paired sample t-test to examine the development in the technological proficiency before and after the treatment; and compare means to measure attitude toward online learning. Moreover, data collected from the interviews and the electronic messages lent triangulation to the study.
Results indicated no significant differences in the preservice teachers' sense of community and technological competency among the treatment and the control groups. However, improvement in the technological proficiency was significant for the treatment groups at the end of the courses and not for the control groups. Participants indicated also positive attitudes toward using the online learning community for learning and social interaction.
Results from the qualitative analyses showed large use of the online learning community for social support and reflective learning. The preservice teachers explained in the interviews that the OLC was useful on facilitating social relationship between learners. It supported learning and exchanging of information and facilitated the interaction with peers and the instructor. Active participants indicated improvement in the technological proficiency. Electronic messages demonstrated also different intellectual activities in which the community members engaged in.
Altenaiji, N.M.S. Preservice teachers' response to an online learning community system (OLC) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Ph.D. thesis, University of Colorado at Denver.
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