Investigating the role of ePortfolios and online courses in a community of practice: Assisting Bulgarian special educators with lifelong competency development
Peterson, R., Herrington, J., Konza, D., Tzvetkova-Arsova, M. and Stefanova, K. (2007) Investigating the role of ePortfolios and online courses in a community of practice: Assisting Bulgarian special educators with lifelong competency development. In: Proceedings of the 5th International ePortfolio Conference: Employability and Lifelong Learning in the Knowledge Society, 17-19 October 2007, Maastricht, The Netherlands.
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Research and development for an Internet-facilitated distributed community of practice (DCoP) for special education in Bulgaria is in its final phase. The DCoP is called Special Education Bulgaria. Results from the needs assessment indicated that special education researchers, practitioners, and parents in Bulgaria would benefit from such a community and that there is sufficient Internet access. Formative evaluation results directed website usability and sociability improvements and the incorporation of Moodle, a popular course management system. An effectiveness evaluation is currently underway to investigate the DCoP’s effect on the job performance and satisfaction of special educators. Preliminary results indicate that though a DCoP has begun to coalesce, it may remain unclear if it helps special educators do their jobs better. Partnership with the European Union 6th Framework integrated project, TENCompetence, may help address this finding. The expected outcomes of such a partnership include the implementation and testing of ePortfolios and online courses to assist Bulgarian special educators with lifelong competency development.
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