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Running head: FACULTY PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND VCOPS

The Impact of VCoPs on the Professional Development of Online Instructors
AEDT4200U II: Draft Submission

Jina Paima
University of Ontario Institution of Technology

Submitted to:
Jordanne Christie

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Table of Contents
List of Figures.................................................................................................................................3
List of Tables..................................................................................................................................4
Chapter 1: Introduction...............................................................................................................5
Statement of the Problem.....................................................................................................5
Significance of the Problem.................................................................................................6
Research Questions..............................................................................................................7
Definition of Terms..............................................................................................................9
Theoretical Framework......................................................................................................11
Chapter 2: Literature Review....................................................................................................13
Faculty Professional Development....................................................................................13
Virtual Communities of Practice (VCoP)..........................................................................15
Faculty use of Virtual Communities of Practice................................................................17
Social Constructivism........................................................................................................20
Chapter 3: Methods....................................................................................................................22
Research Approach............................................................................................................22
Data Collection..................................................................................................................22
Data Analysis.....................................................................................................................27
References.....................................................................................................................................28

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List of Figures
Figure

Page

1: Dependent and Independent Variables…………………………………………………8
2: Theoretical Framework……………………………………………………………….12
3: Faculty Use of Social Media………………………………………………………….19

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List of Tables
Table

Page

1: Key Search Terms……………………………………………………………………. 25
2: Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria…………………………………………………….. 26
3: Qualitative Meta-Synthesis Studies and Codes……………………………………….
4: Qualitative Meta-Synthesis Code Template…………………………………………….

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Faculty Development and Virtual Community of Practice
The purpose of this meta-synthesis research is to explore how most instructors in
Canadian higher education use a virtual community of practice (VCoP) for professional
development in online teaching. In response to this inquiry, different knowledge realms such as
higher education institutions in Canada, faculty development, online instructors, VCoP and social
constructivism theory have been examined to understand the underlying gaps and limitations in
faculty development practices.
Statement of the Problem
Over the past decade, higher education institutions in Canada are robustly moving
towards online education. In fact, it is significant to understand “online learning is occupying a
new position in the strategic thinking of Ontario colleges and universities” (Contact North, 2015,
para. 4). According to the OntarioLearn annual report (2015), the number of students enrolled in
online courses has substantially increased over the past 10 years. In 1995, OntarioLearn started
with only 500 registrations in relatively few online courses; today, however, there are 1,191
online courses available with enrollment exceeding 70,000 students (p. 9). Gabriel and Kaufield,
(2008) stated that higher education instructors are expected “to integrate information and
communication technologies in their teaching” practices to stay abreast of this transformation (p.
312). Historically, there has been a resistance to change at the faculty level, especially moving
from traditional face-to-face to online teaching methods (Keengwe & Kidd, 2010). Other
barriers to online course adoption are attributed to the lack of experience, insufficient skills in
online technologies, as well as time constraints associated with learning newer technologies
(Brownell & Tanner, 2012; Contact North, 2015). In addition, “many institutions are still
struggling to provide appropriate and effective training, development and reward opportunities

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for faculty” (Zawacki-Richter, 2005, para. 1). Therefore, the problem that needs to be addressed
is strengthening of faculty professional development with technological and educational
competencies of today’s digital world to improve online teaching practices.
Recently, there has been a shift in faculty professional development towards VCoP;
where instructors connect online to discuss work related issues and attain solutions to those
issues collectively (Eib & Miller, 2006; Reilly, Vandenhouten, Gallagher-Lepak, & Ralston-Berg,
2012). This online social interaction among faculty can “create a culture that supports a
thoughtful focus on teaching, while at the same time, nurture a sense of connectedness and
collegiality” (Eib & Miller, 2006, p. 1). VCoP are proven to be a cost-effective method of
promoting online learning as well as an effective way to support faculty professional
development in an online environment (Reilly, Vandenhouten, Gallagher-Lepak, & Ralston-Berg,
2012). Furthermore, it is important to understand how higher education institutions can integrate
a VCoP into their learning management system to share best practices and information related to
teaching and learning (Reilly, Vandenhouten, Gallagher-Lepak, & Ralston-Berg, 2012).
Significance of the Problem
Faculty professional development is a continual improvement process of instructors’
teaching abilities and practices in a lifelong learning endeavor. It can offer different avenues to
remain abreast of new technologies and new teaching strategies (Eib & Miller, 2006). However,
transitioning from traditional face-to-face teaching to online computer-mediated teaching is
tedious and requires additional skills to utilize online technologies within the learning milieu. In
addition, instructors “need ample opportunities to share ideas and information with other online
instructors and professionals” (Glowa, 2009, p. 2). Therefore, higher education institutions
should consider VCoP as an essential component of faculty professional development to foster

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best practices and meaningful instructional skills especially to reflect the unique needs of online
instructors (Teeter et al., 2011).
Research Question
The aim of this thesis is to understand online faculty learning experiences through the use
of VCoP in higher education institutions across Canada. Therefore, it will answer the following
question: What impact does a virtual community of practice have on professional development
of online instructors?

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Figure 1. Dependent and Independent Variables

Figure 1. This diagram depicts the use of social constructivist theory as a framework for
participation in a VCoP (independent variables) to gain online teaching skills and knowledge
(dependent variable) and the evidence (indicators) are based on increased online course adoption
and indication of faculty improvement in teaching and learning experiences.

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Definition of Terms
For the purpose of this research paper, the following definition of terms was used:
Community of Practice (CoP): The term community of practice refers to “a group of people who
share a concern, a set of problems, or a passion about a topic, and who deepen their knowledge
and expertise in this area by interacting on an ongoing basis” (Wenger, McDermott, & Snyder,
2002, p. 4).
Faculty Development: The term faculty development refers to “activities and programs designed
to improve instruction” (Amundsen, Abrami, McAlpine, Weston, Krbavac, Mundy, & Wilson,
2005, p. 1).
Faculty Members: The term faculty members encompasses educators, facilitators, instructors,
and professors and may be used interchangeable within the context of this paper, it may also
include part time, sessional and lecturers.
Online Learning: The term online learning refers to computer-mediated learning and/or webbased learning.
Online Teaching: The term online teaching refers to computer-mediated teaching and/or webbased teaching.
Professional Development: The term professional development refers to acquisition of
information, knowledge, and skills related to the teaching and learning of students.
Social Constructivism: The term social constructivism refers to the “collaborative and social
nature of learning” which was developed by post-revolutionary Soviet psychologist Lev
Vygotsky (McLeod, 2014).

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Teaching Practices: The term teaching practices refer to student learning in higher education.
Virtual Communities of Practice (VCoP): “A community becomes a “virtual” community when
its members use information and communication technology as their primary mode of
interaction” (Dubé, Bourhis, & Jacob, 2005, p. 147).

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Theoretical Framework
In this paper, Lev Vygotsky’s social constructivism theory was examined in relation to the
VCoP)and faculty professional development. According to social constructivist theory,
“knowledge is not simply constructed it is co-constructed” when individuals collaborate with
each other (University of California, 2015, para 3). This theoretical framework strongly supports
the role of social interaction in respect to community building, and through this social interaction
faculty members make sense of the world around them (Brooks, 2010; McLeod, 2014).
Consequently, the social aspect of constructivism theory influences learners to construct their
own knowledge through a dialectic process and then disseminate the perceived knowledge to
other community members (see Figure 2) to create a new and more meaningful collaborative
learning environment (Stacey, 2002). Thus, the social interaction among instructors can
“perpetuate and serve as a reinforced foundation for reflective practice and constructivist
discovery” (King, 2002, p. 240).
In addition, building and sustaining a VCoP ought to “incorporate collaborative models
of learning” and in exchange “decrease instructor-dependency” (King, 2002, p. 240).
Furthermore, constructivist theory suggests “knowledge can be generated, negotiated and
expanded” in a VCoP through social interaction among its members (Brooks, 2010, p. 265).

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Figure 2. Theoretical Framework

Figure 2. This multi-method chart demonstrates a full dimension of VCoP in relation to its
outcomes. It shows how instructors can use social constructivist theory in a VCoP to co-create
knowledge and meaning and then reflect, transform, and reinforce these learning. Adapted from
“Building online learning communities: effective strategies for the virtual classroom,” by R. M.
Palloff and K. Pratt, 2007, John Wiley & Sons. Copyright 2007 by the American Psychological
Association.

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Chapter 2: Literature Review
This literature review, analyzes various bodies of literature in order to consolidate and
comprehend multiple scholarly views and perspectives, concerning faculty professional
development, and VCoP. In addition, it discusses gaps in the research studies, provide potential
limitations and also function as a guideline to the design of my undergraduate thesis. The review
is structured into four core categories: (a) faculty professional development, (b) virtual
communities of practice, (c) faculty use of virtual communities of practice, and (d) social
constructivism.
Faculty Professional Development
Faculty professional development is a crucial element of the faculty profession; however,
support for professional development and improved teaching methods continues to be a
battleground throughout the institutions across Canada (Human Resources and Skills
Development Canada, 2012; Hanna, 2014). Despite the rising number of online courses in most
colleges and universities hitherto “faculty on a fixed schedule remain the core of the teaching
activity of institutions” (Contact North, 2015, p. 1). The greatest barrier encountered by
instructors is the lack of faculty program review. Professional development administrators may
neglect regular review of faculty programs; however, these reviews are necessary to determine
the efficacy of the programs for promoting pedagogical advancement, as well as to ensure
connection to the institution’s core values (Broad & Evans, 2006; Howard & Taber, 2010).
Most higher education institutions in Canada offer some sort of professional development
training, tools, and best practices to facilitate online teaching; however, instructors are often
reluctant to take advantage of these opportunities (Garcia & Albert, 2011; Human Resources and
Skills Development Canada, 2012; Contact North, 2015). Therefore, it is crucial to first

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understand instructors’ perception of professional development and then identify the reasons
behind their unwillingness to embrace these opportunities. Instructors often perceive
professional development programs as an episodic process rather than a continual procedure; but
typically, a continuous training method is believed to be a vital factor of an ongoing educational
and professional improvement. In addition, “many college teachers expect faculty development
to focus on the instrumental practicalities of teaching their particular course curriculum”
(Howard and Taber, 2010, p. 37). This expectation seems to be unreasonable and almost
impossible for professional development departments to fulfill. Online University Education in
Canada (2012) observed other challenges related to faculty resistance such as lack of
understanding and misconception of online teaching and learning, loss of control over traditional
teaching methods, and job insecurity (p. 49). Many other factors such as heavy workloads,
technology issues, time constraints, lack of training in online teaching, time consumption to
develop, design and deliver online courses are also consider being the main reasons for
instructors’ reluctance to professional development (Howard & Taber, 2010; Garcia & Albert,
2011; Contact North, 2011).
Furthermore, higher education institutions are shifting focus towards a research-based
model of learning, diminishing the value of teaching excellence in order to receive government
grants (Henard & Roseveare, 2012). Nevertheless, it is essential to acknowledge “nobody is
happier about the increasing research-intensiveness of Canadian universities than academics
themselves” (Charbonneau, 2011, para. 5). It is important to note that the research-based model
often restricts instructors’ time to get involved in professional development activities. Amundsen
and Wilson (2012) conducted research “on the improvement of teaching and learning in higher
education” and detected a gap in the development of professional training, which “remains a

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developing field” and more research is required to recommend better teaching practices (p. 91).
Faculty professional development remains a challenge across most Canadian institutions;
however, efforts to improve the quality of online teaching practices are currently undergoing
critical review.
Virtual Communities of Practice (VCoP)
Every day millions of Internet users around the globe sign in to different social
networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, or Cyworld, which supports
mobilized communities based on their interests. These communities allow users to debate
special topics, share knowledge, information and contents, discuss their daily life activities
and/or simply locate solutions to their problems (boyd & Ellison, 2008). In fact, every individual
is periodically engaged in one or more communities without being consciously aware of their
involvement.
The concept of communities of practice (CoP) is not new. Communities of practice
(CoP) date back to 1991 when Lave and Wenger first devised the term (Hara, 2008, p. 11). In
addition Wenger, McDermott and Snyder (2002) identified three core components to differentiate
their specific communities of practice (CoP) from other existing communities: (a) domain, (b)
community; and (c) practice (p. 27). Bond and Lockee (2014) elaborate by stating the “domain
refers to the shared repertoire; community addresses the interaction of members; and practice is
the knowledge building and sharing efforts required for a community of practice to thrive” (p. 2).
According to Wenger, McDermott and Snyder (2002), a community of practice is defined as “a
group of people who share a concern, a set of problems, or a passion about a topic, and who
deepen their knowledge and expertise in this area by interacting on an ongoing basis” (p. 4).
Later, Dubé, Bourhis and Jacob (2005) combined Wenger’s community of practice model with

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other online tools to create an intriguing opportunity for online users to share knowledge and
interact with each other. They defined the term as such:
A community becomes a “virtual” community when its members use information and
communication technology as their primary mode of interaction. Being virtual does not
preclude the use of face-to-face meetings, but several factors, including geographical
dispersion and busy schedules, making communicating through ICT much more efficient
(p. 147).
Although, several studies on VCoP and online communication have been conducted since
the early 1990s (Babbie, 1996), nonetheless, it is only in recent years that VCoP have become
more widespread providing possibilities for everyone to integrate this best practice into their
everyday lives (Ellison, Steinfield, & Lampe, 2007). This evolution has enabled a few Canadian
higher education institutions to adopt a VCoP within their faculty professional development. For
example, McMaster University in Ontario developed a CoP framework for their faculty, staff,
and students to empower them to share ideas and foster learning (Teeter et al., 2011). While
VCoP have gained popularity in faculty professional learning, it is pivotal to recognize the
limitation of studies on how instructors are currently using virtual communities of practices for
their professional advancement (Brooks, 2010). Importantly, it is not hard to establish a VCoP
similar to McMaster University should one wish to engage higher education faculty in
meaningful and useful professional teaching. Furthermore, this model may encourage online
educators to take part in professional learning as well as academic discussions.

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Faculty use of Virtual Communities of Practice
Most institutions across Canada recognize the need for online professional development
programs to assist instructors with acquiring necessary skills, knowledge, and tools to facilitate
online courses smoothly and effectively (Kanuka & Rourke, 2013; Hanna, 2014). In addition, an
increasing number of educators require “timely assistance” to solve “technology-related
problems” outside the campus hours (Brook, 2010, p. 262). Computer-mediated online training
offers many affordances to learners such as low-cost and high-performance delivery, which
means instructors can conceivably access learning materials from any connected device at any
time. Moreover, “online learning can be highly structured, and it can have features that are under
the employee’s control, such as pacing, review, and content depending on the learner’s abilities
and interests” (London & Hall, 2011, p. 757-758). In virtual communities of practice (VCoP),
instructors are encouraged to share ideas, information, knowledge, and resources to enhance their
online instructional practices and to solve educational problems in a systematic way (Bond &
Lockee, 2014). Therefore, VCoP can provide support needed to offset the time and technology
issues “through systematic inquiry, critique, and collaboration within a diverse community of
learners” (Hutchings, 2010, p. 70).
The notion of VCoP falls under the social constructivist pedagogical theory, which
underlies the importance of collaborative learning and knowledge co-construction through social
interaction. This seems to be an appealing concept especially for those instructors who are
unable to build social connection with other colleagues in a face-to-face environment (Brook,
2010). As a result, VCoP are highly recognized to create a sense of community and promote a
sense of belonging by bridging faculty isolation gaps (Eib & Miller, 2007; Brook, 2010).

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It is also essential to understand how faculty members use virtual communities in their
teaching and learning practices. Pearson Learning Solutions and Babson Survey Research Group
(2012) conducted research to analyze the use of VCoP in faculty members’ personal use outside
of the job; professional use including on the job, but not while teaching; and instructional use
both online and in class (p. 5). These findings showed instructors use of VCoP being the highest
in their personal life in contrast to their professional and instructional use (see Figure 3).
Likewise, if a VCoP is integrated in faculty professional development then faculty members will
likely benefit from its use.
Despite many examples of VCoP developed for faculty professional development, there
is limited literature on the use of these platforms for professional growth and further research is
required (Lock, 2006; Allard et al., 2007; Riverin & Stacey, 2008; Carey, 2012).

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Figure 3. Faculty Use of Social Media

Figure 3. This diagram illustrates the usage of Facebook, LinkedIn, Blogs, and Wikis by faculty
members for personal, professional, and teaching purpose. Adapted from “Blogs, wikis, podcasts
and Facebook: how today’s higher education faculty use social media” by M. Moran, J. Seaman,
and H. Tinti-Kane, 2012, Pearson Learning Solutions and the Babson Survey Research Group.
Copyright 2012 by the American Psychological Association.

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Social Constructivism
After a thorough analysis of the literature, it is believed that Vygotsky’s social
constructivist theory offers a valuable framework to better understand the benefits of VCoP in
faculty professional development (Kalpana, 2014; Stacey, 2002; Gold, 2011). The history of
constructivist theory is rooted back to Immanuel Kant, John Dewey, and Jean Piaget; however,
Lev Vygotsky is well-known for his social constructivist theory (D’Angelo et al., 2009).
Vygotsky’s theory emphasizes on a learner-centered pedagogy, where learners construct new
knowledge and make sense of the information around them through social interaction with others
(Kalpana, 2014; Stacey, 2002). Indeed, Gold (2011) stated, “humans are active, knowledgesearching creatures that transform and interpret experience using developed biological and
mental structures” (p. 37). As a result, the social “interactions between the individual,
interpersonal, and cultural-historical factors” often help to transform old knowledge to new
knowledge (D’Angelo et al., 2009, p. 1). Brook (2010) suggested, faculty diversity in virtual
communities of practice (VCoP) usually shapes cognitive learning processes by reinforcing
knowledge dissemination among its members (p. 266). Furthermore, collaborative learning and
meaningful discussions in VCoP “support the introduction and resolution of the cognitive
conflict” (D’Angelo et al., 2009, p. 1) and build a “foundation for reflective practice and
constructivist discovery” (King, 2002, p. 240). Modern constructivist thought emphasizes on
discovery learning, cooperative learning, and cognitive apprenticeship approaches to support
instructional teaching methods (Slavin, 2003; D’Angelo et al., 2009; Kalpana, 2014). Discovery
learning encourages learners to independently analyze and manipulate information in order to
reinforce their problem-solving and critical thinking skills (Slavin, 2003; D’Angelo et al., 2009).
While using a cooperative learning approach, learners explore and understand complex concepts

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as they actively engage in group discussions to solve problems collaboratively (Slavin, 2003).
Moreover, cognitive apprenticeship is a form of mentorship learning, which helps learners to
“gradually acquire expertise through interaction with an expert such as more advanced peer”
(Slavin, 2003). Therefore, one of the primary features of constructivist theory is the cultivation
of critical thinking skills in order to foster self-directed and autonomous learners in society
(Kalpana, 2014, p. 28).
This literature demonstrated an in-depth review of faculty professional development,
virtual communities of practice, faculty use of virtual communities of practice, and social
constructivism theory. This review supported the need for further research on the use of VCoP
for faculty professional development in order to understand how instructors utilize VCoP for
their professional development practices. Therefore, a meta-synthesis approach is used in this
research study to further explore the use of VCoP in higher education.

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Chapter 3: Methods
A qualitative meta-synthesis design was adopted to generate a new interpretation of
existing qualitative studies related to faculty use of VCoP for professional development in higher
education. According to Erwin, Brotherson, and Summers (2011), a meta-synthesis is a method
that “enables researchers to identify a specific research question and then search for, select,
appraise, summarize, and combine qualitative evidence to address the research question” (p.
186). Therefore, the intent of this qualitative meta-synthesis approach is to rigorously analyze
examples of qualitative research studies using a qualitative method to answer the following
research question: What impact does a virtual community of practice have on the professional
development of online instructors?
Research Approach
The aim of “qualitative studies are often exploratory in nature and seek to generate novel
insights using inductive” approach (Curry, Nembhard, & Bradley, 2009, p. 1442). This approach
also contributes to the emergence of new theories and generalizations. Therefore, the inductive
approach is chosen for the research process of this paper. The inductive approach is also referred
to as a bottom-up approach, and is associated with the specific observation of a topic, which then
proceeds towards more abstract concepts. Subsequently, theories are developed at the end of the
research rather than the beginning as a result of the findings (Thomas, 2006).
Data Collection
The data set consists of 32 qualitative studies, which were obtained between October and
November 2015, using the following databases:

UOIT library database;

EBSCOhost research databases;

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Scholar Portal;

Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC); and

ProQuest;

Next, in order to get more specific information, the following online publications were also
searched:

Taylor Francis Online;

Sage References Online;

Wiley Online Library;

Google ebooks; and

Google Scholar

Later, the Canadian and American journals were searched to gather more data on professional
development:

The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning;

Journal of Higher Education;

Canadian Journal of Learning Technology;

Canadian Journal of Higher Education;

Journal of University Teaching and Learning;

Innovations in Education and Teaching International;

Educause Review; and

Journal of Online Learning and Teaching (MERLOT);

Finally, to cover all the parameters of the search result these online organizations were also
examined:

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OntarioLearn;

eCampus Ontario;

Faculty Focus;

Online Learning and Distance Education Contact North;

Council of Ontario Universities;

University Affairs; and

TeachOnline.ca;

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The primary key terms “faculty development in Ontario” and “professional development
in Ontario” were used to identify potential qualitative data to be utilized in this qualitative metasynthesis study. Due to the paucity of research information in Ontario, the search terms were
broadened (see Table 1) to acquire a wider range of data in this field. Subsequently, the search
terms produced 181 articles. This search was then narrowed based on the inclusions and
exclusions criteria in Table 2. After reviewing the articles based on the relevancy of the research
question, the final data set chosen consisted of 32 articles. The articles were then organized in
separate file folders for more accessible navigation and manageable retrieval.

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Table 1
Key Search Terms
Narrow

Broader

Related Terms

Alternative Terms

faculty development
in Ontario

faculty development
in Canada

faculty adoption of
teaching and learning
technologies

reasons for resistance
to faculty
development

professional
development in
Ontario

professional
development in
Canada

faculty barrier to
change

higher education
faculty training in
Ontario

faculty professional
development in
Canada

supporting
professional
development through
community building
elearning in faculty
development in
Canada

teaching and learning
centers in Ontario

community of
practice and faculty
training in Ontario

faculty development
for sessional faculty
in Canada

higher education and
online teaching and
learning

Ontario faculty
development

online teacher faculty
development in
Canada

faculty development
for part time faculty

faculty constraints
towards attending
faculty development

faculty development
and communities of
practice in Ontario

online teaching and
learning support
Canada

educational
development
networks

reasons why faculty
resist professional
development

virtual teaching and
learning technology

online teaching and
learning communities
in Canada

college and university teaching and learning
faculty development
centers

faculty learning
communities in
Ontario

role of CoP in
teaching and learning
in Canada

educational
development
networks

sessional instructors
in Canada

teaching and learning
with online
communities of
practice
faculty development
and online
communities of
practice in Ontario

teaching in higher
education with
technologies Canada

virtual communities
of practice and
professional
development
faculty learning
communities

online instructor
support

faculty development
and online
communities of
practice in Canada

faculty development
challenges

elearning instructor
support

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Table 2
Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria
Inclusion

Exclusion

studies that used qualitative data

studies on online communities of practice in
K-12 teacher training

studies published in English that contain
qualitative data

studies on teaching training in K-12
institutions

articles published in peer-reviewed journals
and conference proceeding from 2005 to
2015 inclusive

published or unpublished dissertation and/or
thesis
newspaper, magazine, Web Pages

research on higher education institutions in
Canada or the USA

research on higher education institutions in
other countries

studies on online teaching and learning
centers in Canada or the USA

studies published before 2005 with
acceptation of learning theories

studies on faculty professional development
in Canada or the USA
studies on online communities of practice in
Canada or the USA

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Data Analysis
Qualitative data analysis is an iterative process, which relies heavily on the interpretation
of data and deeper understanding of participants’ experiences (Curry, Nembhard, & Bradley,
2009). In addition, the qualitative data analysis entails information sequencing; developing, and
applying a coding system; and formulating themes from the group of related categories (Thomas,
2006). For the purpose of this qualitative data analysis, a coding system, also known as template
analysis, will be used. The term template analysis refers to
a particular way of thematically analyzing qualitative data. Template analysis involves
the development of a coding ‘template’, which summarizes themes identified by the
researcher(s) as important in a data set, and organizing them in a meaningful and useful
manner. Analysis often starts with a priori codes, which identify themes strongly
expected to be relevant to the analysis (University of Huddersfield, 2014, para. 1).
The coding template is organized based on the themes originated from the data collected
thus far using the inductive research approach. In addition, these codes have been organized in a
hierarchical order with the broader themes first then moved towards more narrowed or specified
themes based on the textual data. The initial coding template commenced with a collection of a
priori codes then expanded as new codes emerged from other studies. Ultimately, this template
merged all the textual data along with the interpretation of all the coding (Au, 2007, p. 259).

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