Master of Arts in Educational Technology (OMET) Pepperdine University  
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Journal Entry - Eighteen [posted Tuesday, March 23, 2009]

I emailed several employees within the Mathematics, Science and Technology program asking for 12 volunteers for my P2P support group. I received an overwhelming response and was able to select participants from a pool of interested staff. Richard Wenn had asked me (see email text below) to send him the list once they have been selected so that his IT group could set up special features for them. I ended up having a total of 13 members. Richard approved the 13th person but said that I could not accept any more participants. Richard also requested “measurements” to assess “the accuracy of the information shared.”

""Hi Kathleen, This reads well. Once you receive confirmation of participation please send us a list of staff who have agreed to participate so that we can make Chat available to the group. I would also appreciate any measurements you can design to consider the accuracy of the information shared. We can help you by silent monitoring of the group. Thanks - Richard"

I was able to meet with four of my five advisors today to discuss my action research project and to enlist their expertise regarding my next steps (Cycle Three). This was time well spent. Drs. Schneider, Britton, Ringstaff and Loveland were able to offer excellent advice on how to design an effective measurement tool. In order to help gather quantitative data, my advisors suggest that I ask each participant to keep a record of the times that they help one of their peers. A self-reporting form (using Excel) on which each participant would record:

o What question/s was asked? o What action was taken?

o Was the problem resolved to the requestor’s satisfaction?

o How much time did it take?

o What form of communication was used (email, chat, IM, telephone, etc.)?

The panel thought it would be advantageous to ask the same question to the help desk and see if the answer was the same and how long it took for them to respond. I thought this was a good suggestion and will ask Richard Wenn, director of IT what he thinks of the idea. We deemed, in this meeting, that it would be sufficient time if the study were to run a period of 30 days from the date that all 13 participants have received training on Zimbra. It was also suggested that I conduct one-one interviews after the 30 days with each of the P2P members giving me qualitative data for my action research report. Also, the importance of doing a pre and post survey that would help document the participants:

o Technological expertise

o Customary method of solving problems: figure it out for themselves; ask someone else; or call the help desk, etc.

o Would this usual method of solving a problem depend on what the problem is?

o How often do they normally call the help desk in any given week, month, etc.?

o What web 2.0 tools are they familiar with and how often do they use them (they would like the tools and check how often they use them, i.e. hourly, daily, weekly, etc.)

My advisors also thought it might be interesting to find out why the 13 members accepted the invitation to participate in my P2P support group: Was there any bias because they know me personally, or because the members were all within the MST program and they have some sense of loyalty? ; Did they have expertise already with Zimbra?; Did they do it because they thought it would further their career at WestEd?; Did they participate because they wanted to be the first and only ones using the chat feature in Zimbra?; or, Were they legitimately interested in helping each other in a collaborative, supportive environment?