Carter Distributed Supervision in a Managed Learning Environment

Carter, D. (2005). Distributed practicum supervision in a managed learning environment (MLE). Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, 11(5), pp. 481-497.

Summary: This study reports on a two year project in Western Australia where university tutor-supervisors used a managed learning environment (MLE) to supervise graduate students as teachers in a remote Australian town. The graduate students as teachers were being certified to teach high school. They used the MLE system to support the graduate students as teachers and their cooperating teachers because being face-to-face was not logistically possible. They investigated how this MLE system could offer support.

Key Words: technology, remote supervision, supervisory relationships, supervision as support


Conceptual Framework:

Harrington & Hathaway (1994) Critical self-reflection




Cross sectional, evaluation-research design

Logs, diaries, semi-structured interviews, unstructured observations



Seven graduate students as teachers (comparable to MAT students – those who have degrees elsewhere but need to be certified to teach, so they earn both their masters degree and their teaching certificate)

Three university tutor-supervisors

The students cooperating teachers


Intervention Description:

They used a course management system (MLE) to offer support as supervision to students and their cooperating teachers in a remote Australian town.




  1. “Social adaptations to the transfer of new information management technology
  2. Information-based practice as an aspect of reflective practice
  3. Supervision as a highly interactive process, involving continuity in professional discourse for thinking and acting, referenced in turn to shared information leading to evidence-based practice (p. 488)”


Key Passages:

  • “The data from this study support the qualified view that web-enabled, new information management technologies can substantially assist in improving both the effectiveness of practicum supervision and the quality of an emerging self-critical awareness on the part of student teachers, and their supervisors as supervisors too, although this was somewhat more muted in the case of all the cooperating teachers in the urban school setting (p. 492.)”
  • Technology can foster collegially-based relationships.


References cited:

Harrington, H. L., & Hathaway, R. S. (1994). Computer conferencing, critical reflection, and teacher development, Teaching and Teacher Education, 10(5), pp. 543-554.