Authors: Paul D. Deering; Deborah K. Zuercher; Sheila Apisa;
Katie Martin; Anne Ashford; Kezia M. Curry; Tara O’Neill; Jon Yoshioka
Abstract: This action research study examined the transformation of a successful teacher professional development program from an in-country, in-person format to a transnational, distance technology environment. The University of Hawai‘i’s Master of Education Degree in Curriculum Studies with a Middle Level Emphasis has been offered in Hawai‘i since 1996, however, in 2009-2011 it was delivered online. The great distance between the university and graduate students – geographically, economically and culturaly – necessitated the centrality of a culturally responsive, critical approach to adult education. The authors conclude that a high level of supportiveness is crucial. Helping participants to become familiar and confident with the distance technology is important, along with
scaffolding relationships among participants within and beyond national boundaries. The result is a collaborative learning community that supports and challenges participants to advance their professional practices as well as to assert themselves as leaders in their schools. These insights could be applied to a wide range of distance learning contexts.