Strategies for Developing a Community of Practice: Nine Years of Lessons Learned in a Hybrid Technology Education Master’s Program

Research paper by John E. Cowan

Indexed on: 08 Dec '11Published on: 08 Dec '11Published in: TechTrends


Between 2000 and 2009, 243 students in 11 cohort groups participated in the Internet-Based Masters in Educational Technology (iMet) Program. iMet is a hybrid masters program in education with an emphasis in educational technology. Students in the program work collaboratively in a problem-based approach to the integration of technology into instruction. The program completion rates are higher than other online programs and even higher than traditional face-to-face masters programs. In addition, program graduates go on to become successful educational technology leaders. A key to the program’s success is the use of a community of practice model for its participants. An analysis of 78 student course reflections and 92 post-program surveys revealed that the community building strategies used in the program were instrumental in enhancing students’ experiences and boosting program completion rates. This article describes the key strategies used to develop and maintain a successful hybrid community of practice.