Online support for action research in a teacher education internship in rural Australia


  • TW Maxwell University of New England
  • Jo-Anne Reid University of New England
  • Catherine McLoughlin University of New England
  • Catherine Clarke University of New England
  • Ruth Nicholls University of New England



action research, internships, online learning


The two themes of this paper are action research and online learning support in teacher internships in rural Australia. A model for the interaction of professional practise, the workplace and the university (Lee, Green and Brennan, 2000] came to inform the conceptualisation of a new final year teacher education unit which uses action research (Kemmis and McTaggart, 1988) as a learning process for interns (cf Beisser, 2000; Grundy, 1995]. This year long unit requires support in the first semester as internal students explore action research and identify potential areas for their improvement. In second semester interns (placed in 10 week internships almost exclusively in rural schools) are supported as they undertake action research to improve their practise. The unit has been piloted three times with small groups prior to full implementation in 2001. A move to online communication as the University's key support mechanism for interns at distant workplaces, and as an on campus learning strategy, was instituted in 2001. This report this paper reports upon: conceptual developments following pilots of a pre service unit in which action research during students internship is the culminating feature; online learning support for one student groups action research projects while on their internship; and early results from the action research project on online learning of neophyte teachers as internal students prior to their experience as interns.

Our move into online work, on campus and off campus in rural areas, has proved to be of particular benefit to most students. The early data vindicates this move in that (a) the students appreciated being forced to read and (b) bulletin boards can provide support for complex projects while off campus.




How to Cite

Maxwell, T., Reid, J.-A., McLoughlin, C., Clarke, C., & Nicholls, R. (2002). Online support for action research in a teacher education internship in rural Australia. Australian and International Journal of Rural Education, 12(1), 23–33.