Developing a Community of Practice in an Online Research Lab

Developing a Community of Practice in an Online Research Lab

Stephanie Cawthon (The University of Texas at Austin, USA) and Alycia Harris (Walden University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-963-7.ch064
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Abstract

The goal of this chapter is to present instructor and student perspectives on the development of a Communityof Practice within an online research laboratory for graduate students in psychology. A computer-facilitated learning environment was set up meet two goals: (1) to encourage individuals to work as a team on a live researchproject, and (2) to give students research skills needed to further their development as scholar-practitioners. The objective of this chapter is to identify, from the perspectives of the students and the instructor, how social factors influenced learning outcomes and how the group formed into a research team. This chapter begins with a brief overview of the Community of Practice literature and the context of the Online Research Lab in the School of Psychology at Walden University. The second section addresses strategies the instructor used to facilitate the sense of community in the Online Research Lab. The chapter concludes with a summary of challenges indeveloping a Community of Practice, as well as strategies instructors can use to overcome these obstacles.

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