BELIEFS OF MEMBERS OF AN ONLINE COMMUNITY OF PRACTICE ON THE EFFECTS OF MEMBERSHIP ON TEACHING AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT Yılmaz, Beyza Nur Middle East Technical University M.A, Department of Foreign Language Education Supervisor: Assoc. Prof Dr. Gölge Seferoğlu February 2012, 115 pages This study investigated beliefs of members of an online Community of Practice (WIA) on the role of the community on professional development, teaching, and on Web 2.0 use. Through the analyses of the questionnaire, it was aimed at finding out the members’ ideas about the group as an online CoP and benefits of belonging to an online CoP. The data were collected from seventy nine members of the Webheads in Action from various countries by using an online questionnaire. Then, the responses to the multiple choice items were analyzed using PASSW. The data collected from the last section of the questionnairre were analyzed through content analysis and pattern coding. The findings revealed that the members believe that WIA plays an important role in the process of developing multiltiteracies skills and the Web 2.0 tools used in classroom teaching and for professional development. The findings further revealed that the participants believe that being a WIA member leads to motivation, collaboration and discovery. These beliefs are thought to provide insights about the advantages and disadvantages of learning in online CoPs and their effects on the members’ Web 2.0 use. The findings can also be beneficial for researchers, teacher trainers, and teachers wishing to join CoPs for professional development. They can understand the advantages and disadvantages, and the participation process in more detail. Moreover, these findings can indicate that online CoPs can provide a medium for coping with the increasing amount of information thanks to recent technological developments and acquiring new skills.
Key Words: Community of Practice (CoP), Online Community of Practice (OCoP), Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL), Teacher Development, Web 2.0 Tools