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M. Osnaya-Moreno, R. Arriaga Marín, M.L. Zorrilla Abascal

Autonomous University of Morelos State (MEXICO)
The quality of teachers and their continuing professional education and training remain central to the achievement of quality education. Yet today, the number and quality of teachers, teaching practice and teacher education are facing serious systemic challenges across the world. It is well known that just having ICT does not improve teacher’s pedagogy, even though they help to keep traditional classes on line!

The Autonomous University of Morelos State (México) is incorporating info-communicational techniques that should motivate our students by taking advantage of their computing knowledge. But, we are also trying to make courses non traditionalists. So, after finding out that teachers are transporting traditional course to virtual traditional ones, it was developed a course for them. In the course, a main tool is the e forum.

Forums are clearly powerful learning tools, but only if registered people participate in them. Even though, forums are rarely as complete as one would hope, considering the formative benefits that could be gained (Kovacic, 2004; Yang, Li, Tan, and Teo, 2007). Su, Bonk, Magjuka, Liu & Lee (2005) indicate a lack of research into learner-content interaction, and, therefore, a need for more research into participating within forums, especially in terms of engagement with content of the forum problem.
This paper examines the participation of teachers within two online discussion forum, aiming to identify the different levels of Participation, and to investigate factors that encourage or discourage teachers participation. The case involved the social presentation forum and another about analyzing conceptual maps from the classmates via a forum at the university’s virtual learning environment. The sample is composed by 12 teachers who are participating in a course for improving their virtual classes. An in-class survey and text analysis are being conducted to identify teachers’ participation in the forum.
According to model’s Salmon (2003), a five stage model is useful as a reflective framework with which to consider and review the forum task. Stage 1 is important in motivating students (called teachers in this paper) to participate, requiring quick and easy access to the technology. Stage 2 stresses the importance of strong scaffolding to encourage socialization in the forum, and Stage 3 introduces interaction between students and learning content and other participants. Stage 4 expects participants to construct knowledge by drawing on real, personal situations and experiences through critical and practical thinking. This leads to Stage 5 where continuing independent learning happens, building on the constructed ideas and reflecting on what has been learned.

By now, we are analyzing the results, but it could be said that at the social forum, there are many participations, but at the subject expertise forum, there are less participations and they have been having delay. So, at this moment, it can be observed that teachers could get to phase three without any problem, but at phase four, we are still working and improving it.
As a previous conclusion, it is possible to say that training teachers in strategies for teaching in a virtual way, has to be paid attention in knowledge construction. Afer analyzing the survey, recommendations for improving forum participation and are expected to be provided.