About my research

My research was set in the context of the European Commission’s eTwinning initiative and it looked specifically at the use of eTwinning Learning Events (non-formal learning). It examined how the community influences the development of teachers’ competence in online collaboration and discourse, and it considered the contribution of social aspects and online moderation.

I am very grateful to my supervisor, Dr. Julie-Ann Sime from Lancaster University, and to my eTwinning soulmate, Tiina Sarisalmi, for their invaluable support. And to my examiners, Prof. Marilyn Leask from the University of Bedfordshire and Dr. Don Passey from the University of Lancaster, for their valuable advice.
Keywords: online learning communities; community of inquiry; online collaboration; content analysis; social presence; social ties; teacher training

Sunday, 11 April 2010

More about my project

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).


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