College of Education launches online PLC

AUGUSTA, GA. – This month, the Georgia Regents University College of Education launched its first-ever online professional learning community for educators called the GRU International Research and Learning Community.

The site provides educators at all levels a chance to connect, share information, collaborate on research and develop partnerships.

“There are a lot of opportunities for international research sharing and collaboration, and for building professional relationships, especially with the launch of the Confucius Institute,” said Dr. Stacie Pettit, Professor of Education. “We want to think globally and to lead the next generation of educators both in P-12 and post-secondary institutions.”

Traditional professional learning communities (PLCs) are teams of educators who meet regularly to exchange ideas, in order to meet school districts’ interest in promoting professional development that engages teachers and administrators. But studies have found that online communities can reach the same goals of professional learning communities, according to the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance.

“We will also be meeting regularly, both on campus and over conference calls,” said Dr. Laura Rychly, Professor of Education. “But moving the discussion online means that it continues 24-7, without restrictions on time, meeting space or access to technology.”

The College hopes that facilitating discussions and collaboration across international boundaries will lead to accelerated professional development and strategic research initiatives.

“Ultimately, we are all working to ensure that students have the best possible outcomes, whether they are in kindergarten or graduate school. Creating opportunities for education professionals to improve the classroom experience is paramount to achieving this goal,” Pettit said.

Join the conversation by visiting the GRU International Research and Learning Community online. For more information, contact Dr. Stacie Pettit at or Dr. Laura Rychly at

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