The TRC Online Learning Community will support our professional development programs and enable the synergy that occurs when educators are allowed to freely communicate and collaborative on an ongoing basis. A TRC technology specialist group is being established to define the nature and functions of the online community and to provide initial testing of these environments and to help develop and test support resources. The following are first thoughts as to the primary function of the TRC Online Learning Community (TOLC).
Goals for the TRC Online Learning Community:
- Foster a greater feeling of community among instructional team members, teacher mentors, cadre members, and state TRC staff.
- Increase communications across the collaborative by providing multiple tools for synchronous and asynchronous communication.
- Support frequent sharing of effective practice, both for professional development programs, and for implementation by our classroom teachers.
- Empower TRC staff members to directly publish and maintain content for their respective projects.
- Potentially, reduce the need for travel, and the impact of distance in our professional development programs.
- Empower our community of educators to create and maintain collections of best of class Internet resources.
- Enhance the value of our face-to-face professional development academies with pre and post event content delivery, online short courses, and collaborative opportunities to share with each other and with event presenters.
The TRC Online Learning Community will be supported by a variety of infrastructure tools. To the extent possible, we would like as many of these tools to reside on TRC servers, but we will not try to re-create the wheel when it already exist, especially if we can cut down on support requirements. We will combine all the various tools into a common front end web page, hopefully giving it a feeling of "oneness." The downside of this approach is the pain that comes from having to use multiple login screens. The following graphic will communicate our initial thoughts. We will begin use of each tool with the TRC Technology Specialist group who will help test the systems and support tools required to support the larger TRC community.