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

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Critical friends

I've just spent a few days at Lancaster University, meeting with my supervisor and with my fellow students. I am struck again by how valuable it was to meet with fellow researchers who are happy to listen to my ideas, critique my approach and offer me useful suggestions. This mutual support was also extremely valuable for reinforcing my confidence that I am on the right path.

It is important now for me to focus my work around my two original research questions:

In a virtual environment for teachers’ continuous professional development:
°     How does an online community support 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?
These questions should act as lenses through which I analyse the data that I've collected and write up my results. The end may be still some way off, but I can nevertheless see the light at the end of the tunnel - thanks to the support of my critical friends in Lancaster.


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