Title: Exploring online learning for intersecting communities of practice

Authors: Julie Mackey; Terry D. Evans

Addresses: University of Canterbury, Christchurch 8042, New Zealand. ' School of Education, Deakin University, Geelong VIC 3217, Australia

Abstract: The article reports on some research from a larger project into the connections between online learning communities and communities of practice for teachers' professional learning. The research was conducted in Aotearoa New Zealand within a university graduate diploma programme on ICT education that is provided entirely online. The research reported here explores the experiences of 15 teachers as they studied the GradDipICTEd programme while working as professionals in their school contexts. The findings indicate that online educators working on professional development courses need to work imaginatively in their curricula and pedagogies to enable learners' reflexive movements between their online and professional communities. This benefits, not only the students as professionals, but also their professional communities of practice. Furthermore, by so doing, the courses provide for productive relationships between educational institutions and related professional bodies.

Keywords: communities of practice; online learning communities; professional learning; online communities; web based communities; virtual communities; New Zealand; ICT education; e-learning; electronic learning; professional development; higher education.

DOI: 10.1504/IJWBC.2012.049562

International Journal of Web Based Communities, 2012 Vol.8 No.4, pp.486 - 503

Available online: 08 Oct 2012 *

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