Date of Award

8-1-2012

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Killian, Joyce

Abstract

AN ABSTRACT OF THE DISSERTATION OF MORGAN E. MOSER for the Doctor of Philosophy degree with a concentration in Curriculum and Instruction, presented June 26, 2012, at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. TITLE: UNDERSTANDING HOW NOVICE TEACHERS UTILIZE ONLINE COLLABORATION MAJOR PROFESSOR: Dr. Joyce Killian This investigation focused on the different forms of online collaboration used by current novice teachers in rural districts in Illinois. Two main research questions guided this study: 1) How do novice teachers use online collaboration? and 2) How does online collaboration affect their teaching practice? This study consisted of four qualitative case studies. The case studies focused on participants who were current novice public K-12 teachers of mathematics employed in rural districts in Illinois. Three of the cases were elementary teachers, and one case was a secondary mathematics teacher. To triangulate the data, three types of data were collected from the teachers. Individual structured interviews, collection of artifacts, and an analysis of online collaboration were completed and analyzed. Analysis of the online collaboration created by one of the participants in the forms of blog entries and Twitter posts was also completed. The first research question indicated that novice teachers used online collaboration to gain ideas and curriculum material, to overcome lack of preparation and support, to enhance classroom environment, and to share ideas and resources. The results from the second research question indicated that online collaboration has impacted novice teachers' practice in several ways. It promoted teacher reflection and encouraged them to implement new teaching methods or strategies. It also encouraged them to adapt resources to meet their curriculum needs and allowed them to discover new teaching methods and strategies. Recommendations for follow-up studies include the use of focus groups rather than individual structured interviews, lengthening the time of the study to include a full school year, and a change in setting to avoid certain technical difficulties. Additionally, research should be completed on the long-term effects of online collaboration on novice teachers and whether they continue to use it as they gain more experience.

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