Creating and Nurturing a Community of Practice for Language Teachers in Higher EducationReport as inadecuate

Creating and Nurturing a Community of Practice for Language Teachers in Higher Education - Download this document for free, or read online. Document in PDF available to download., Paper presented at the 2013 EUROCALL Conference (Évora, Portugal, Sep 11-14, 2013)

This case study investigates the implementation of a virtual learning environment designed for language teachers for an institution-wide language programme in a UK higher education institution. This development has taken place over a 3 year period and included a pilot virtual learning environment for 300, followed by a full implementation to more than 3,000 users. It was informed at all stages by users, usage analysis and research into best practice for language teaching and learning. The users have complete ownership of the spaces and the tools they need to facilitate interaction and communication, allowing greater freedom to experiment with learning design. Social media are used to help tutors find their personal learning network. An empirical design methodology and the Community of Practice approach to implementation embeds continuing professional development (CPD) within a supportive and open community. This case study will provide a quantitative analysis of the activity in the portal over time. It will also draw on qualitative data using Steiner Kvale's (1996) "traveler metaphor" approach in order to reach conclusions about factors important to the use of technology in CPD. It points to the need for tutors to find relative advantage in the technologies they are given as their engagement is closely linked to that of their learners (Levy, 1997). It also highlights the opportunities presented to foster interest in and discussion of the theoretical aspects of subject specific learning style. (Further data produced as part of this investigation can be accessed here: doc/172819468/Appendices-for-Eurocall-2013-Paper) [For full proceedings, see ED565044.]

Descriptors: Communities of Practice, Program Development, Sustainability, Language Teachers, Higher Education, Case Studies, Virtual Classrooms, Learning Activities, Participant Satisfaction, Faculty Development, Program Implementation, Foreign Countries, Mixed Methods Research La Grange des Noyes, 25110 Voillans, France. e-mail: info[at]; Web site:

Author: MacKinnon, Teresa


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