I am still finalising the proposal for my research with the university, but the research questions at least seem to becoming stable.
In a virtual environment for teachers' continuous professional development:
- How does an online community influence the development of teachers' competence in online collaboration and discourse?
- How do social aspects, such as social presence and social ties, contribute to this collaboration and discourse?
Between now and the end of summer, I shall be focusing my attention on becoming more familiar with the eTwinning environment, understanding the kind of data it will be practicable for me to collect and deciding how I shall analyse this qualitative data. For the former, my plan is to participate in some of the eTwinning Groups and Learning events, observing what happens and noting the characteristics of the online discourse. For the latter, there seem to be many approaches to analysing qualitative data - including narrative analysis, discourse analysis, grounded theory approaches, conversation analysis, etc - so I am reading some of the academic books and papers to become more familiar with their relative strengths.
Here is my schedule - I hope you can read it (click on the image to see it bigger).