Dynamics of Scientific Engagement in a Blended Online Learning Environment

  • Vesal DiniEmail author
  • Lama Jaber
  • Ethan Danahy


We investigate in-service teachers’ scientific engagement in a blended online science inquiry course. We analyze a shift from teachers following instructions to doing science themselves, and we characterize it at two levels: first, in how teachers engaged in individual sense-making; and second, in how they oriented to the online community as a space for collaboration and collective knowledge building. This progress, we show, was made possible by a shift in how the teachers framed the course—how they understood and interpreted the purpose of the activities—a shift that entailed both epistemological and affective dynamics. This shift in framing was supported by the instructors’ efforts to attend to and address participants’ epistemology and affect, both in face-to-face and in online interactions. A key implication of this study is the importance of instructional attention to epistemology and affect to create online learning environments that promote productive framings of scientific inquiry.


Epistemology Affect Framing Scientific inquiry Engagement Online learning 



The authors wish to thank David Hammer for invaluable feedback on the design of the course and the development of the manuscript, as well as Lily Withington who assisted with coding and transcription.

Funding Information

This work was supported by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation under Grant No. GBMF 3475, “Dynamics of Learners’ Persistence and Engagement in Science,” and by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. DRL 1119321, “InterLACE: Interactive Learning and Collaboration Environment.” The views expressed here are those of the authors and are not necessarily endorsed by the foundations.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Physics and AstronomyTufts UniversityMedfordUSA
  2. 2.School of Teacher EducationFlorida State UniversityTallahaseeUSA
  3. 3.Department of Computer ScienceTufts UniversityMedfordUSA

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