Date of Award

5-2012

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Educational Psychology and Research

Major Professor

Trena M. Paulus

Committee Members

John M. Peters, Katherine H. Greenberg, Kenneth Phillips

Abstract

Blended approaches to collaborative faculty development have the potential for stimulating critical reflection, but the process of online reflection by faculty members has not been fully explored in the literature. The purpose of this qualitative action research case study was to examine a blended approach to collaborative inquiry for professional development with a particular interest in the reflections that occurred online. This study had two focal points. First, to explore the relationship between the online reflections and the overall development of the participants and second, to more closely examine the levels of reflection that occurred within the online aspect of this blended collaborative inquiry.

This dissertation employed the case study method to examine the experience of seven community college faculty members. Interviews and online discussion transcripts were used to identify themes and this study developed a rubric for identifying levels of online reflection.

This study identified six major themes as follows: (a) discussions with other faculty members create a supporting atmosphere that is beneficial to learning about teaching, (b) the online reflections can be challenging, (c) the online reflections allow the discussion to continue and allow participants to keep up while missing a meeting, (d) the online reflections allow for more immediate idea sharing and for more in-depth reflection, (e) the convenience of the course management system facilitated reflection, (f) the lack of incentives to participate and the complicated structure of the discussion boards inhibited reflection.

This study identified five levels online reflections occur as: (a) non-reflective, (b) contemplative, (c) problem/content, (d) process/product and (e) premise. This study also identified several patterns of premise level reflections.

Based on these findings, this study provides greater insight into the best practices for organizing and conducting blended collaborative faculty development and facilitating critical faculty reflection in online venues.

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