Online support for action research in a teacher education internship in rural Australia

T.W. Maxwell, Jo-Anne Reid, Catherine McLoughlin, Catherine Clarke, Ruth Nicholls

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The two themes of this paper are action research and online learning support in teacher internships in rural Australia. A model for the interaction of professional practice, the workplace and the university came to inform the conceptualisation of a new final year teacher education unit which uses action research as a learning process for interns. This year long unit requires support in the first semester as internal students explore action research and identify potential areas for their improvement. In second semester interns (placed in ten-week internships almost exclusively in rural schools) are supported as they undertake action research to improve their practice. The unit has been piloted three times with small groups prior to full implementation in 2001. A move to online communication as the University's key support mechanism for interns at a distant workplaces, and as an on-campus learning strategy, was instituted in 2001. This paper reports upon: conceptual developments following pilots of a pre-service unit in which action research during students' internship is the culminating feature; online learning support for one student group's action research projects while on their internship; and early results from the action research project on online learning of neophyte teachers as internal students prior to their experience as interns. The move into online work, on campus and off campus in rural areas, has proved to be of particular benefit to most students. The early data vindicate this move in that (a) the students appreciated being 'forced ' to read and (b) bulletin boards can provide support for complex projects while off campus.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)23-33
    Number of pages11
    JournalEducation in Rural Australia
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2002


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