Date of Award

8-11-2015

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Middle and Secondary Education

First Advisor

Peggy Albers

Second Advisor

Joyce Many

Third Advisor

Teresa R. Fisher

Fourth Advisor

Stephen Harmon

Abstract

Internet platforms such as Blackboard Collaborate, Desire2Learn, and Moodle have revolutionized how educators communicate by creating collaborative opportunities once limited only to the face-to-face settings (King, 2001; LaJoie, Garcia, Berdugo, Márquex, Espíndola, & Nakamura, 2006). Using computer-mediated communication tools, teachers can now participate in quality, ongoing, collaborative, and situated learning. While an abundance of research exists pertaining to teacher professional development, little is known about the use of a web seminar as a venue for online professional development. Even less is known about teacher educators’ integration of a professional development web seminar as a component of the courses they teach. The purpose of this qualitative study, then, was to understand teacher educators’ use of an open access web seminar, Global Conversatiions in Literacy Research (GCLR), whose goal is to disseminate cutting-edge literacy research and improve literacy practices within their language and literacy teacher education courses. This qualitative study sought to answer the following: (a) Why do literacy teacher educators use online professional development web seminars within their courses? (b) How do literacy teacher educators use online professional development web seminars within their courses, especially those presented by Global Conversations in Literacy Research? and (c)What value do literacy teacher educators see in working with the web seminars in their classes, especially those presented by GCLR? This study was grounded in critical situated learning, which includes theories of critical literacy (Janks, 2000), situated learning (Brown, Collins, & Duguid, 1989), collaborative learning (Borko, 2004; Brown et al., 1989; Lave & Wenger, 1991), and legitimate peripheral participation (Brown et al., 1989). Within an interview study design, the constant comparative method (Glaser & Strauss, 1967; Merriam, 2009) was used to analyze data collected from semi-structured interviews and documents, namely teacher educators’ course syllabi.

INDEX WORDS: Online teacher professional development, web seminars, teacher collaboration, online learning communities

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