PROFESSORS AS LEARNERS: ANALYZING FORUM INTERACTIONS FROM A COLLABORATIVE VIRTUAL LEARNING EXPERIENCE
, J. Salinas2
1Universidad Autónoma de Baja California (MEXICO)
2Universitat de les Illes Balears (SPAIN)
As a result of a research project, a Professors´ Self Managed Virtual Learning Environment was designed, implemented and assessed. In order to assess how well the Virtual Learning Environment helped teachers understand, learn and apply collaborative work, content analysis was performed based on L`Ecuyer methodology and on interpsicological mechanisms from Casanova 2009. The virtual environment was a space where professors performed activities which promoted learning about collaborative work while at the same time they applied collaborative work. Based on the instructional designed used to set up the activities for the professors, they first worked on Google Docs then they went to Blackboard where they mostly interacted at the forums. From there the Wiki and was the next space to continue with the activities. The reason they went from one space to the other was to have the participants experience working with different Web 2.0 technologies. The forums were organized according to the activities to be performed in them. There was a forum for informal interaction named Cappuccino, other forums were for teams organization, to discuss a certain theme, etc. The texts from the forums were analysed word by word and the frequencies for the interpsicological mechanisms were graphed. As a result we could see how important forum organization was, in order to encourage a high and orderly participation. Participants interactions at the forums also represented a positive experience in applying collaborative work. We can conclude, from the content analysis of the virtual learning environment that the tasks at the forums helped participants apply positive interdependence thus promoting collaborative learning, which was the virtual environment`s goal.