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Title:Distributed Mentoring: Developing Electronic Conferencing to Support New Teachers
Author(s):Klecka, Cari Lynn
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Clift, Renée T.
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Technology of
Abstract:This study examined the nature of participation in a distributed community of practice developed for the purpose of supporting new teachers in the context of the Novice Teacher Support Project (NTSP). Through the development of electronic conferencing, the NTSP provided the support for conversations about teaching and learning among new and experienced teachers in different teaching contexts across the state of Illinois. The primary research questions probed the nature of participation defined as the content, form, and conditions for participation in the distributed community of practice, in addition to what knowledge resources were made available within the community. Data sources included open-ended surveys, focus group interviews, and discussion and content analysis of the online discussions. Over a two-year period, 389 discussions were analyzed using the state standards and a framework devised to code the purpose for initiating conversations. Twenty-one discussions identified as sustained were analyzed using the Henri's (1992) analytic framework for electronic conferencing conversations. The researcher concluded that a problem-solving community of practice evolved because participants initiated online conversations to primarily pose inquiries and raise practice-based concerns from their classrooms. The goals of the NTSP helped define the interaction within the community, which evolved as commentary about the teachers' own experiences and practices emphasizing diverse perspectives across teaching contexts. Through their conversations, teachers evaluated, assessed and articulated approaches and employed planning skills in working toward solutions for one another's concerns. These interactions provided more visible thinking about one another's practices rather than reflections on teachers' own practices. The conditions for participation included responsibility, safety, and trust, all of which were bolstered through face-to-face meetings and also interacted with the degree of anonymity participants had within the electronic conferences. Finally, this dissertation raised issues in continuing research on and development of distributed communities of practice and their potential role in teacher education, specifically citing the ability for the distributed mentoring model to afford the transcendence of district and school cultural boundaries in fostering change in different teaching contexts.
Issue Date:2004
Description:262 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2004.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3130957
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:2004

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