Virtual Mentoring in Communities of Practice in an Online University: Technology acceptance, technology use and perceptions of the learning process
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Paper presented at the International Conference for Academic Disciplines, Prague, Czech.
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.