Virtual mentoring in communities of practice in an online university: Technology acceptance, technology use, and perceptions of the learning process.

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The paper investigated virtual communities of practice in an online university in terms of the technology acceptance, the technology use, and the perceptions of the learning process. The paper has a practical and a scientific aim. The practical aim consists of the discussion of the virtual mentoring implemented in the frame of virtual communities of practice at Walden University. An evaluation is suggested that would monitor the progress and success of the implementation as well as means of optimizing the technology-enhanced learning environment. The scientific aim discusses a deeper understanding of technology-enhanced learning with special foci on the topics: learning in virtual communities of practice (vCoPs), academic help-seeking, and acceptance and use of learning technology in vCoPs. Correspondingly, the theoretical background of the study is presented concluding in a research model. The research model could be validated by collecting data in the academic vCoPs practicing virtual mentoring at Walden University. The target sample would include approximately 4600 students and faculty. Data could be collected using survey questionnaires and content analysis. The statistical data analysis would include social network analysis and path analysis.

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... The feature allows the students to freely exchange messages with their classmates which is similar to a private chat room that they usually use in some social networking sites. The acceptance and use of the technology may influence and improve the learning process and learning outcome of the students (Sagarra & Zapata, 2008;Al-Dosari, 2011;Baltes & Nistor, 2011). ...
... Thus, it is now the discretion of the instructor on how he will treat similar answers as it displays the details of uploaded file that include the session of uploading and the byte size of the file. In as much as students showed greater likelihood to use the online tool in consonance with what others students revealed in several studies (Sagarra & Zapata, 2008;Al-Dosari, 2011;Baltes & Nistor, 2011), instructors need to consider strategies to motivate students to attend faceto-face classroom sessions while they also work independently on online activities beyond class hours. Other online learning practitioners implemented those strategies especially in settings where blended learning is applied (Dow, 2008;LaPointe & Reisetter, 2008;Castle & McGuire, 2010). ...
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Learning can be extended from the traditional face-to-face classroom experience towards the virtual pedagogical environment. This study evaluated the effectiveness of the Misamis University Online Learning Environment (MUOLE) established as a supplemental tool for classroom learning in all information technology and computer science subjects. A total of 342 students filled out the researcher-made questionnaire that served as the evaluation tool. Results showed that the students perceived the MU-OLE as an effective Online learning system in downloading instructional materials and assignments, taking quizzes and examinations, submitting requirements, checking files and accessing scores from their secured personal account. It further showed that integrating online learning system with traditional teaching gives the students a great deal of convenience and ease in enhancing learning. Keywords: content management system, evaluation, web-based learning, web- based tool.
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