September 1996

Navigation Key
o [*] - [] *


Barriers to Getting Educators Online

by Denise Ethier and Jennifer Gold

Some ^educators are prolific telecommunications users. They exchange information with colleagues around the world, engage their students in online penpal projects, and problem-solve electronically with like-minded professionals. Recognizing the value of telecommunications networks for educators, the ^National Center to Improve Practice (NCIP) designed a professional development model that includes use of a computer-mediated communication network, -NCIPnet, to help educators improve--through ^ online discussion--the outcomes of students with disabilities.

However, as administrators of NCIPnet have found, many educators face formidable barriers in attempting to use today's network communications technology and its promise of fast and easy access to curriculum-enriching resources and rich opportunities for professional growth. This article describes the barriers educators face in attempting to use computer-mediated communication to both build and sustain online professional communities. [TOC]


Authors' Note: NCIP is funded under contract #H180N20013. The contents of this article do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the U.S. Department of Education.

Denise Ethier ( is Network Coordinator and Jennifer Gold ( is Research Assistant for the National Center to Improve Practice (NCIP), located at Education Development Center, Inc. in Newton, Massachusetts. For more information about NCIP, contact the authors or visit NCIP's Web site. The authors wish to thank all participants on NCIPnet for their continued contributions.

Copyright © 1996 by Denise Ethier and Jennifer Gold. All Rights Reserved.

Contents Archive Sponsors Studies Contact