COMPLETING THE CIRCLE: UNDERSTANDING THE ROLE AND CONTRIBUTION OF INSTRUCTIONAL STAFF IN A COHORT EXPERIENCE
University of Alberta (CANADA)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2015 Proceedings
Publication year: 2015
Conference name: 8th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 18-20 November, 2015
Location: Seville, Spain
Abstract:In recent years, the importance of developing learning communities has begun to receive attention in higher education (Cleveland-Innes, Garrison, & Kinsel, 2008). The concept of creating community is viewed as being essential in supporting collaboration and promoting learning (Rausch & Crawford, 2012). However, as much of the current research has focused on the student perspectives of learning communities, hearing and acknowledging the perspectives of instructors can enhance the overall understanding of this type of learning experience; it can begin to complete the circle. This paper addresses a long-term research project that has begun to interpret and understand the experiences of a group of instructors who work with a student cohort learning community. This project has utilized action research as its methodology to investigate the role of instructional staff in a cohort experience. When applied to an educational setting, action research involves systematic inquiry to gather information about, and subsequently, improve the ways of operation, teaching, and how well students learn (Creswell, 2002). This approach has resulted in an improved understanding of the thoughts, practices, and needs of the instructional staff when teaching in a cohort setting. Initial findings from Year 1 of data collection; through the identification of constructs, themes and patterns will be discussed such as the importance of recognizing the instructional team as a cohort, fostering opportunities for communication between instructors, the necessity of instructors having information on cohort matters, and providing platforms for the sharing of information.
Keywords: Cohort Learning, Instructors.