Title: The role of a web-based community in teacher professional development

Authors: John P. Cuthell

Addresses: Research and Implementation Director, MirandaNet Academy, 232A High Street, Boston Spa, Wetherby, West Yorkshire LS23 6AD, UK

Abstract: This paper explores the development of MirandaNet, an online Community of Practice (CoP) established in 1992, and its contribution to teacher Continuous Professional Development (CPD). It identifies four stages in its development. Its initial stage was as a conventional website supported by an e-mail-based listserv that built distributed cognition accessed by its members. During its second stage it analysed those factors that support (or hinder) the participation of teachers in online communities, and ensured that appropriate affordances were built into the MirandaNet model. The third stage built on Salmon|s 5-Step Theory (2002) and developed the use of discussion forums for the communal construction of knowledge. The final stage described in this paper is the use of MirandaNet as an interactive resource in which members may share, exchange and publish a range of documents and artefacts, similar to Web 2.0 affordances.

Keywords: continuous professional development; CPD; community of practice; COP; distributed cognition; online courses; practice-based research; communal construction of knowledge; web based communities; teacher professional development; virtual communities; online communities.

DOI: 10.1504/IJWBC.2008.017668

International Journal of Web Based Communities, 2008 Vol.4 No.2, pp.115 - 139

Published online: 26 Mar 2008 *

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