Web-based case conferencing for preservice teacher education: Electronic discourse from the field
AuthorBonk, Curtis Jay
Malikowski, Steve R.
SourceJournal of Educational Computing Research
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The purpose of this study was to foster preservice teacher learning of educational psychology by creating a Web-based learning community using actual case situations these future teachers had experienced during their field observations. In this study, 146 undergraduate educational psychology students were randomly assigned to two different electronic conferencing groups where they generated teaching vignettes related to their early field experiences and reacted to the cases of their peers. As a counterbalanced research design, half of these students received heavy scaffolding (HS) during the first three weeks of electronic case conferencing and weak scaffolding (WS) during the following three weeks; the other half received the opposite. Within these conferences, there were a total of 229 cases generated for discussion with 1,320 replies. While there were 20 percent more postings in the first three weeks, the cases and responses generated in the second three weeks were lengthier. Importantly, HS fostered 18 percent more student cases than WS, though these were of significantly lower quality than the WS cases. A coding of dialogue transcripts from fifty-eight randomly selected cases indicated that peer feedback was extremely conversational and opinionated, whereas instructor mentoring was focused on high level questioning, course related advice, and case specific feedback.