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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Developing a web-supported community in the service of teacher professional development : a case study of Vancouver School Board early literacy project Najafi, Hedieh


This interpretive case study was conducted to explore the possibilities for development of e-VSB Literacy, a web-supported professional community, as the online component of Vancouver School Board Early Literacy Project (VSB Literacy Project), a face to face successful community of teachers. Participants were seven members of the VSB Literacy Project-two coordinators, four mentors, and a consultant-who had basic computer skills and had access to the Internet on a daily basis. Their experience with e-VSB Literacy included a resource website and an electronic bulletin board that was developed and customized for this study over a period of seven months. Informed by theories of social learning and communities of practice, this study explores participants’ perceived need for e-VSB Literacy, investigates the factors that impacted their use of e-VSB Literacy, and examines the contents of their online discussions. Data was collected from semi-structured face to face interviews---one at the beginning and one toward the end of the study-, personal journal, and contents of the bulletin board. Analysis of the data showed that although participants were aware of the potential of e-VSB Literacy, they did not perceive a significant need for it. Findings also revealed relevance, commitment, and socio-technical issues as three major factors that impact participation in e-VSB Literacy. Participants were not satisfied with their use of the bulletin board because the cost of logging into the bulletin board was more than its benefits; i.e. in general, the amount and quality of professional discussions were less than expected. Finally, based on the findings, a number of recommendations are made to guide future designs of e-VSB Literacy to become a functioning professional community.

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