From Virtual Strangers to a Cohesive Learning Community: The Evolution of Online Group Development in a Professional Development Course
Shelley Waltonen-Moore, Denise Stuart, Evangeline Newton, Ruth Oswald, Evangeline Varonis, The University of Akron, United States
Journal of Technology and Teacher Education Volume 14, Number 2, ISSN 1059-7069 Publisher: Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education, Waynesville, NC USA
Instructors who teach in online learning environments have the unique opportunity to enhance the interaction of their students through an online threaded discussion board. With effective planning and skillful facilitation techniques, this venue for posting messages can be used as a resource to engage learners in becoming an interactive and cohesive learning community. This case study centered on participants enrolled in a web-based, graduate level professional development course for educators at a large midwestern university. Using the constant comparative method of analysis, the researchers analyzed threaded discussion board transcripts, interviews with the instructors, and formative and summative course evaluations to code for themes and categories from which emerged a model for stages of online group development. Initially "virtual" strangers, participants became an interactive and cohesive learning community by the end of the five-week course. Five stages of online group development are identified: (a) Introduction, (b) Identification, (c) Interaction, (d) Involvement, and (e) Inquiry. These stages provide implications for teaching and learning online.
Waltonen-Moore, S., Stuart, D., Newton, E., Oswald, R. & Varonis, E. (2006). From Virtual Strangers to a Cohesive Learning Community: The Evolution of Online Group Development in a Professional Development Course. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, 14(2), 287-311. Waynesville, NC USA: Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education.
© 2006 Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education
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