An Exploration of Pre-Service Teachers' Perceptions of Learning to Teach while Using Asynchronous Discussion Board
- Lasisi Ajayi
- Educational Technology & Society
One Master’s Program, Initiatives in Educational Transformation, has integrated a computer management system (WebCT) into a learner-centered (Weimer, 2002) community of K–12 practicing teachers. Online discussions were an extension of instructional practices that supported dialogue, reflection, and self-assessment for the purpose of continuous professional improvement and facilitating independent learners. The research question that guided this study was, how can we develop self-monitoring and acceptance of online discussions so that students become independent learners? Online discussion postings and student self-assessment served as data sources. Three dominant themes emerged from the data. The first theme, Community of Practice: Dialogue Supports Independent Learning, captures the components of Wenger’s (2005) community of practice that enhance students’ personal and professional experiences in shaping online discussions. The second theme, Independent Learners: Making Sense of Theory, addresses how educational theory, classroom pedagogical practices, dialogue, and lived experiences support the transformation of practice. A third theme, SelfAssessment Informs Understanding of Self and Discussion-Group Dynamics, conveys the ways in which selfassessment informs students of their strengths, and student-identified areas of improvement support independent learners as well as foster deepened understanding of participation within online discussion groups. Online Communities of Practice (CoP) support students’ professional sharing and the development of independent learners. Faculty played an important role in structuring student reflection and self-assessment opportunities to enhance the learning experiences for students.