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Online environments for teacher professional development: A pilot study

, Pepperdine University, United States

Pepperdine University . Awarded


The central motivation for this research is the concern that teachers in the United States have insufficient training and support for using the Internet in curriculum applications. The purpose of the proposed study is to identify how two types of telecommunication networks--a moderated listserv and a real-time online meeting network--can be used to support teachers as they use an Internet-based curriculum project with students. This study focused on four questions: (1) What is the impact of participating in a moderated environment for professional discourse on teachers' perceptions of their ability to use Internet-based curriculum activities? (2) What kind of evidence is there of collegial reflective communication in the synchronous and asynchronous discussions? (3) How is a teacher's perceived need for professional discourse addressed by his or her online discussion experience? (4) What is the profile of a typical OnlineClass user?

This study explored the participation and perspectives of 104 teachers engaged in two online curriculum projects. Research methods included questionnaires, brief email interviews, and content analyses.

Study results indicate that success of the online projects was found to be dependent on access to equipment, to the Internet itself, and to the availability of time to plan, work, and communicate. While teachers recognized needs for greater professional interaction, they did not bring those concerns to their online colleagues.

Less than half of the participants communicated online during their project. However, the listserv benefited both those who sent messages and those who only read them. A small fraction of participants used the online listserv as a discussion environment. Most users sent bulletin-board-like messages rather than conversational messages. The online moderator was essential in helping teachers feel comfortable using the listserv, and, ultimately, in helping them feel successful with the project itself.

Online meetings in the real-time environment were found to be highly interactive and conducive to reflective dialogue. Teachers felt that the curriculum project brought their students valuable opportunities that were otherwise unobtainable, and the online communication brought them in contact with distant peers so they did not feel isolated.


Gray, T.L. Online environments for teacher professional development: A pilot study. Ph.D. thesis, Pepperdine University. Retrieved November 16, 2019 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 23, 2013. [Original Record]

Citation reproduced with permission of ProQuest LLC.

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