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Examining the Roles of the Facilitator in Online and Face-to-Face Professional Development Contexts ARTICLE

, The University of Michigan, United States ; , Vanderbilt University, United States ; , The University of Michigan, United States ; , Eastern Michigan University, United States ; , The University of Michigan, United States

Journal of Technology and Teacher Education Volume 21, Number 2, ISSN 1059-7069 Publisher: Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education, Chesapeake, VA

Abstract

Online teacher professional development has become an alternative to face-to-face professional development. Such a shift from face-to-face to online professional development, however, brings new challenges for professional development facilitators, whose roles are crucial in orchestrating teacher learning. This paper is motivated by the need to address the current gap in our understanding of what is entailed in the roles of facilitators, and how those roles might vary by context (i.e., face-to-face or asynchronous online). We drew on Anderson et al.’s (2001) “teaching presence” framework to lay the groundwork for characterizing the role of online and face-to-face facilitators. Qualitative analysis revealed that although professional development facilitators attended to similar issues irrespective of the context, the actions they engaged in to attend to these issues varied by context. Further exploration and synthesis of the findings suggests that shifting from traditional face-to-face to online professional development presents several design and instructional tensions that can impact how facilitators carry out their roles to support teacher learning. We conclude by using the findings from this study to present potential design tensions or pedagogical challenges that might arise when facilitators shift from face-to-face to online professional development contexts.

Citation

Park, G., Johnson, H., Vath, R., Kubitskey, B. & Fishman, B. (2013). Examining the Roles of the Facilitator in Online and Face-to-Face Professional Development Contexts. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, 21(2), 225-245. Chesapeake, VA: Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education.

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