Internet-based collaboration among high school teachers of students with learning disabilities

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



First Committee Member

Janette K. Klingner - Committee Chair


This study brought together two teams of high school teachers and provided them with a one-day professional development program. Teachers were presented with research-based strategies in a 'best practices' format, and were instructed in how to use an Internet-based tool for establishing and conducting collaborative discussions related to strategy implementation to meet the educational needs of students with learning disabilities. A qualitative analysis was conducted to assess the effects of the Internet-based collaborative discussions on teacher implementation of the research based strategies. In addition, the nature of Internet-based discussions was explored to determine feasibility and effectiveness of use.The major findings included: (a) teachers belief that their prior knowledge and perceived expertise with the target strategies was accurate; (b) limited engagement in Internet-based collaborations, possibly as a result of an absence of issues, concerns, or instructional complexities in target strategies that could be shared by all of the participants; (c) a lack of Internet connected computers at the teachers' desk; and (d) teachers perception that Internet collaboration could be efficient and effective if provided with the required resources, and if they possessed the necessary computer skills to participate. The literature indicated that for discussions to develop teachers should share common issues or concerns. The target strategies were based on research that showed them to be effective with secondary students with learning disabilities. Self-report data indicated that the teachers believed they were implementing the strategies, and that they were doing it correctly. This resulted in a lack of common issues or concerns regarding implementation effecting teacher's participation in collaborative discussions. However, when teachers were observed only one teacher implemented the strategies. The other teachers were not implementing the strategies as they were presented or did not engage the students in the target strategies during the observation.Teachers overwhelming identified limited access to computers and lack of time due to other responsibilities, both inside and outside of the school environment, as reasons for limited participation in on-line collaborative discussions. Other factors teachers reported as barriers to participation included a preference for face-to-face interactions and a lack of trust with the administration.


Education, Teacher Training; Education, Secondary; Education, Technology of

Link to Full Text


Link to Full Text