The University of Arizona

Cross-university collegiality: Supporting 21st century cooperation in preservice English Language Arts teachers

Katie Rybakova, Nicole Damico


As preservice teachers develop ideas about what it means to be and become educators, they benefit from opportunities that allow them to experience cooperative group work with diverse populations. This is especially important because during the induction phase, as they cross over from teacher education students to inservice teachers, they are often expected to engage in collegial work with their coworkers. In this article, the authors describe a cross-university project using a digital platform that afforded two sets of preservice teachers from two different universities to cooperate over the course of four weeks to inform each other’s practice. This cooperative project included peer review sessions focused on lesson plans and synchronous revision conferences as part of a digital learning community. The authors considered the affordances and limitations of using an online platform as a way to foster cooperative practice among preservice teachers. Overall, preservice teachers had a positive perception of this project. In this article, we share the planning and implementation of the project, the ways in which students engaged with both their peers and the digital tools, and the trials and tribulations of the authors as instructors of these two cohorts of preservice teachers. Ultimately, our goal is to highlight the need in teacher education for projects that engage preservice teachers in cooperative practice with both the use of digital tools and authentic conversations with others outside of their own educational communities. 


Collaboration; online learning; teacher education; collegiality; digital project

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