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Informal social learning: an examination of teaching and social presence on a Photoshop® for beginners internet discussion forum
The overall purpose of this study was to explore the dynamics of teaching and learning in the context of an informal, online discussion forum. This investigation utilized the Community of Inquiry (CoI) elements of Teaching Presence and Social Presence along with the construct of Learning Presence to examine Adobe® Forums, Photoshop® for Beginners Forum (PfBF) an internet discussion forum designed to provide support for beginning users of Adobe Photoshop. The researcher collected four days of discussion post data comprising 62 discussion threads for a total of 202 discussion posts. During this initial pilot analysis, the discussion threads were divided into posts created by members who were deemed to be acting as teachers and posts written by members acting as learners. Three analyses were conducted. First, a pilot analysis was conducted where the researcher divided the data in half and coded 31 discussion threads and a total of 142 discussion posts with the Teaching Presence, Social Presence and Learning Presence coding schemes. Second, a reliability analysis was conducted to determine the interrater reliability of the coding schemes. For this analysis two additional coders were recruited, trained and coded a small subsample of data (4 discussion threads for a total of 29 discussion posts) using the same three coding schemes. Third, a final analysis was conducted where the researcher coded and analyzed 134 discussion posts created by 24 teachers using the Teaching Presence coding scheme. At the conclusion of the final analysis, it was determined that eighteen percent (18%) of the data could not be coded using the Teaching Presence coding scheme. However, this data were observed to contain behavioral indicators of Social Presence. Consequently, the Social Presence coding scheme was used to code and analyze the remaining data. The results of this study revealed that forum members who interact on PfBF do indeed exhibit Teaching Presence behaviors. Direct Instruction was the largest category of Teaching Presence behaviors exhibited, over and above Facilitating Discussion and Design and Organization. It was also observed that forum members serving in the role of teachers exhibit behaviors of Social Presence alongside Teaching Presence behaviors.
Our children come to school every day to learn, participate, and prepare for what the future will bring. Others come to school to find refuge and help from those who dedicate their lives to ensure they are well and safe. They come with their minds filled with hopes and dreams, while others walk around the hallways with their hearts filled with despair and uncertainty. Despite collaborative district efforts and improvements in student services, students continue to experience trauma related symptoms and other mental disorders at disconcerting rates. The school district reports that approximately 98% of students have experienced traumatic episodes and half of these students presented with significant distress from symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (Loudenback, 2016). At this school, approximately 25% of the student body has been referred, identified and treated for socio-emotional difficulties. These rates are often higher in students with learning disabilities participating in different academic programs. This action research study was conducted to evaluate how and to what extent does implementation of a resilience-based curriculum affect students’ resilience, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms, attitudes toward school and efficacy for coping. This project was implemented over ten consecutive weeks in an urban middle school in East Los Angeles to a group of twenty students in special education. The intervention consists of ten modules each with activities and strategies designed to raise the students’ resilience and overall well-being. Resilience Theory and Social Cognitive Theory provide the framework for understanding the problem of practice and informing the intervention. Research along with professional observations regarding the vulnerability of students in special education coupled with the lack of evidence-based practices that assist in their emotional development inspired this project. This action research relied on an explanatory sequential design where qualitative results explained and supported the results from the quantitative data. Following the explanatory design, quantitative data was collected analyzed followed by qualitative data upon completion of the intervention. Data collected from web-based surveys and focus groups demonstrate that their participation in the resilience-based intervention increased their resilience, more specifically self-efficacy and problem solving skills while reducing PTSD symptoms. Results also showed students improved their attitudes toward school and ability to cope with stress. Quantitative and qualitative data merging, interpretation, and relation to both theory and research are discussed along with the study’s limitations, implication for research and practice, and concluding thoughts.