Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Improving the collaboration infrastructure of an online inter -institutional consortium
by Theisen, Teresa D., Ph.D., Capella University, 2008, 395; 3324825
Abstract (Summary)

More colleges are turning to inter-institutional consortiums for relief from rising expectations to educate all, an increasingly competitive education marketplace, tightening student resources, and overburdened college finances (USDOE, 2003). For consortium members, the need to overcome "transactional distances" (Peters, 1969) and connect practitioners who shared in consortium governance and operations but are otherwise involved in largely differing "life-worlds" (Berger, 2000) is evident. Curiously though, even some consortiums with strong beginnings and initially enthusiastic members fail to thrive and fall victim to coming undone (Baus & Ramsbottom, 1999; Fulmer, 2002; Johnson, 2005b; U.S. Department of Education/USDOE, 2003).

Wanting for strategies that would create "common ground" (Brennan & Clark, cited in Resnick & Levine & Teasley, 1991, pp. 127–149) sufficient to sustaining inter-institutional collaboration, the study investigated features comprising a consortium collaboration infrastructure. Influenced by field theory (Lewin, 1948), the phenomenological design incorporated concepts from sociobiology, anthropology and psychology, theories addressing learning, personal, community and organizational development, knowledge management, cooperation theory and cooperative business principles, socio-technical teams and communities of practice, and studies of two American consortiums (Fulmer, 2002; Johnson, 2005). Also considered was advice on education and action research, practices for involving insiders and participatory case study processes (Borg & Gall & Gall, 1996; Coghlan & Brannick, 2005; Elliot 1991; Herr & Anderson, 2005; Johnson, 2005b; Kinchloe, 1991; Sagor, 2005; Schmuck, 2006; Stringer, 2004; Zuber-Skerrit, 1995).

Commissioned to illuminate participant understandings and extend knowledge needed to improve collaborative practices (Saavedra, 1994, 1996; Heron, 1996) the study resulted in actionable intelligence regarding the consortium collaboration infrastructure.

Data from surveys, interviews and open meetings were translated to thick descriptions of lived experiences and used in making comparisons to virtual teams and communities of practice, assessing the engagement, imagination and alignment facilities comprising the collaboration infrastructure and designing and testing a mechanism to promote networking (Hildreth, 2000; Owens, 1991; Saint-Onge & Wallace, 2003; Wenger, 2003). Integrity of results was protected by prolonged engagement, persistent observation, triangulation, participant debriefing, diverse case analysis, referential adequacy, member checks, ANOVA and application of "5 metrics" (Kimble, 1998).

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Rossman, Mark H.
Commitee: Rossman, Maxine, Schreck, Richard
School: Capella University
Department: School of Education
School Location: United States -- Minnesota
Source: DAI-A 69/07, Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Cultural anthropology, School administration, Mass media, Higher education
Keywords: Collaboration, College, Consortium, Distance, Inter-institutional consortium, Online, Online consortium, Organization
Publication Number: 3324825
ISBN: 9780549778356
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