ABSTRACT. This article describes a continuing programme of school-based applied research. The basis of this research, which originated in a project called ‘Thinking Together’, lies in the relationship between language and cognitive development postulated by sociocultural theory. The research has developed and tested methods for improving the quality of classroom interaction amongst teachers and students, looking for improved levels of collaboration, reasoning, and academic attainment as the desirable outcomes. A key strand of this research concerns the use of digital technology for supporting classroom dialogue and students’ emerging thinking over time. As we will explain, the outcomes of several research projects pursuing this line of enquiry have yielded positive results, which have direct implications for classroom pedagogy and practice.
This article describes the research and development of the Collaborative Online Instructors Network (COIN) to help composition instructors exchange ideas and materials on the teaching of writing. Research was conducted at a large, land-grant university in the Midwest region of the United States and focused on the pedagogical needs of graduate student instructors of composition in the university’s English department. The findings, gathered through surveys and focus groups, suggested that instructors are looking for additional resources to help them prepare for class and develop their teaching methods, and that they are receptive to online venues in particular. From the data collected, the authors designed and implemented a web-based resource consisting of a community forum for facilitating discussions about pedagogical issues and a digital library of materials to allow instructors to share what works well in their classrooms. Such an online resource thus provides an additional site for the professional development of new and veteran instructors, and the curricular development of the program overall.
Article originally published as part of McGraw-Hill’s Teaching Composition Listserv in May 2007. Reprinted with permission.
This paper presents a model of professional development using collaborative coaching and networking which has been used to improve online instructor effectiveness. Components of the model are presented in the context of a ten-year-old faculty development program at a private university in the Southeast. A collaborative coaching checklist is also provided.
Article originally appeared in: “Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration”, V. 9(2006), n. 4. University of West Georgia, Distance Education Center. Reprinted with permission.