Author(s)

Robin McLean

Date Approved

12-13-2012

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ed.D. Educational Leadership

Department

Educational Leadership

College

College of Education

First Advisor

Sudeck, Maria

Subject(s)

Agricultural education;Professional learning communities

Disciplines

Elementary and Middle and Secondary Education Administration

Abstract

The purpose of this convergent design mixed methods study was to assess the perceived sense of efficacy of teachers who use the National Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE) Communities of Practice, an online community for pre-service teachers, secondary educators, and university professors in agricultural education. The convergent design used the quantitative Teachers' Sense of Efficacy Scale and a qualitative case study with the data collected in parallel, analyzed separately and then merged at the end of the study for comparisons. Significant differences in perceived self-efficacy were not noted between mentor and neighbor users within the community. Communities of Practice content analysis and participant interviews found that Communities of Practice members support self-efficacy constructs of student engagement, classroom management, and instructional strategies through their involvement in the community. Additional interpretive categories including use, profession/ professional, and social emerged to support the value of online communities of practice in enhancing teachers' sense of perceived efficacy.

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