Margaret Riel

Director, Center for Collaborative Action Research,  Graduate School of Education and Psychology, Pepperdine University


Margaret Riel is the Director of the Center for Collaborative Action Research where she has created a set of online tutorials for learning how to do action research now used in 142 countries.  I was one of the initiators and continue to serve on the  Executive Board of the Action Research Network of the Americas (since 2012). I recently co-edited the Palgrave International Handbook on Action Research with my colleagues.   My second and linked focus is on global education. I serve on the board of the International Education and Resource Network (iEARN) an organization that empowers school students around the world to collaboratively solve global, social and environmental challenges.   I am an active member, webmaster (and past chair) of the AERA SIG in Action Research, and I have also created a model of collaborative work called Online Learning Circles which is currently used by thousands of students working together each year. And I continue my interest in the study of social networks, to understand these overlapping collaborative efforts of change. For more information see my listing on ResearchGate.

Selected Publications

Articles and Chapters

  • Riel, M, & Rowell, L. (2016). Action Research and the Development of Expertise: Rethinking Teacher Education. In L. Rowell, C. Bruce, J. Shosh, M. Riel (Editors) Palgrave International Handbook on Action Research. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. (in press).
  • Rowell, L.,  Riel, M., Polush, E., (2016) Defining Action Research: A Dialogic Space for Constructing Shared Meanings. In L. Rowell, C. Bruce, J. Shosh, M. Riel (Editors) Palgrave International Handbook on Action Research. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. (in press).
  • Rowell, L., Polush, E., Riel, M., Bruewer, A. (2015) Action researchers’ perspectives about the distinguishing characteristics of action research: a Delphi and learning circles mixed-methods study. Educational Action Research Vol. 23, Iss. 2, 243-270.
  • Riel, M, & Lepori, K (2014) Analysis of reflections of action researchers. Educational Research for Social Change (ERSC) 3:1, pp. 52-74.
  • Penuel, W., Riel, M., Joshi, A., Pearlman, L., Min Kim, C., & Frank, K. (2010). The Alignment of the Informal and Formal Organizational Supports for Reform: Implications for Improving Teaching in Schools. Accepted by Educational Administration Quarterly 46 (1) 57-95.
  • Penuel, W., Riel, M., Krause, A., & Frank, K. (2009) Analyzing Teachers’ Professional Interactions in a School as Social Capital: A Social Network Approach. Teachers College Record Volume 111 Number 1, 2009, p. –, Date Accessed: 5/28/2008 5:52:09 PM.
  • Riel, M. & Becker, H. (2008). Characteristics of teacher leaders for Information and Communication Technology, In J. Voogt, & G.Knezek, (Eds.), International handbook of information technology and secondary education. New York: Springer, 397-417.
  • Penuel, W.R., & Riel, M. (2007). The new science of networks and the challenge of school change. Phi Delta Kappan. 88(8), 611-615.
  • Riel, M. Rhoads, J.& Ellis, E. (2006) “Culture of critique: Online learning circles and peer review in graduate education.” In (Ed) Tim Roberts Self, peer and group assessment in e-learning. London: Information Science Publishing, p. 142-168.
  • Riel, M, DeWindt, M. Chase, S. & Askgreen, J. (2005) “Multiple Strategies for Fostering Teacher Learning with Technology.” In Ed. Charalambos Vrasidas, Gene V. Glass Trends and Issues in Preparing Teachers to Teach with Technology. Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing, Inc.
  • Riel, M. Polin, L. (2004). Online Learning communities: common ground and critical differences in designing technical environments. In Barab, S. A., Kling, R., & Gray, J. (Eds.). Designing for Virtual Communities in the Service of Learning. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press, 16-52.

LCHC Related Publications

  • Riel, M., & Nagy, A. L. (1983). Investigating the System of Development: The Skills and Abilities of Dysphasic Children. LCHC, University of California, San Diego.
  • Mehan, H., Riel, M. & Miller-Souviney, B., (1984). Knowledge of text editing and control of literacy skills. Language Arts, 5, 510-515.
  • Levin, J. A., Riel, M. M., Rowe, R. D., & Boruta, M. J. (1985). Muktuk meets Jacuzzi: Computer networks and elementary school writers. The acquisition of written language: Response and revision, 160-171. ** BROKEN
  • Riel, M., (1985). The Computer Chronicles Newswire: A functional learning environment for acquiring literacy skills. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 1, 317-337.
  • Riel, M. M. & Levin, J. A. (1985). Learning with interactive media: Dynamic support for students and teachers. Laboratory Report 4. LCHC, University of California, San Diego.
  • Mehan, H, Riel, M. & Moll, L. (1985). Functional learning environments for writing. In Computers in classrooms: A quasi-experiment in guided change (Final Proj. Rep. No. 6-83-0027). Washington, DC: National Institute of Education
  • Levin, J. , Riel, M., Cohen, M., Goeller, M., and Boruta, M. (1986) Reflexivity in problem solving: The social context of expertise, Proceedings of The Eighth Annual Conference of The Cognitive Science Society, Amherst, Massachusetts: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
  • Levin, J., Riel, M., Miyake, N., & Cohen, M., (1987). Education on the electronic frontier: Tele-apprentices in globally distributed educational contexts. Contemporary Educational Psychology 12 254-260.
  • Riel, M., Levin, J. & Miller-Souviney, B. (1987). Learning with interactive media: Dynamic support for students and teachers. In R. Lawler & M. Yasdani (Eds.), Artificial intelligence and education: The broad view. Norwood, NJ: Ablex.
  • Riel, M. (1988). Technology: The link to the future of education, Educational Technologies, (in Japanese) 42, 108-113.
  • Riel, M. (1989). The impact of computers in classrooms. Journal of Research on Computing in Education, 22, 180-190.
  • Riel, M. (1990a). Computer-Mediated Communications: A tool for reconnecting kids with society. Interactive Learning Environments 1, 255-263.
  • Riel, M. (1990b). Cooperative learning across classrooms in electronic learning circles. Instructional Science 19, 445-466.
  • Riel, M. (1990c). A model for Integrating Computer networking with classroom learning. in A. McDougall and C. Dowling (Eds) WCCE ”90 Proceedings of the IFIP Fifth World Conference on Computers and Education, Sydney Australia, July 9-13, Elsevier Science Publishers: The Netherlands.
  • Levin, J, & Kim, H., Riel. M. (1990) Analyzing instructional interactions on electronic message networks. In Online Education: Perspectives on a New Environment. L. Harasim (Ed.) New York: Praeger, 185-214.
  • Riel, M., & Levin, J. (1990). Building electronic communities: Successes and failures in computer networking. Instructional Science 19, 145-169.
  • Riel, M. (1992a). Making connections from urban schools. Education and Urban Society, 24 (4),485-496.
  • Riel, M. (1992b). A functional analysis of educational telecomputing: A case study of learning circles. Interactive Learning Environments 2, 15-30.
  • Riel, M. (1993). Global education through Learning Circles. In Global Networks: Computer and International Communication, L. Harasim, (Ed) Cambridge: MIT Press, 221-236.
  • Riel, M. (1994). Educational change in a technology-rich environment. Journal of Research on Computers in Education. 26, (4), p. 452-474.
  • Riel, M. & Harasim, L. (1994). Research perspectives on network learning. The International Journal of Machine-Mediated Learning 4, (2&3), p. 91-114.
  • Riel, M. (1995). Cross-classroom collaboration in global learning circles. In The Cultures of Computing, Susan Leigh Star, (Ed), Oxford: Blackwell Publishers/The Sociological Review Monograph Series, p. 219-242.
  • Riel, M. (1996). Cross-classroom-collaboration: Communication and education, in Tim Koschmann (Ed.) CSCL: Theory and practice of an emerging paradigm, Lawrence Elbaum Associates, Mahwah, New Jersey, 187-207.
  • Riel, M. (1997). Learning circles make global connections. In R. Donath & I. Volkmer (Eds.) Das Transatlantische Klassenzimmer. Hamburg, Germany: Korber-Stiftung (in German) 329-356.


  • Rowell, L. L. , Bruce, C. D., Shosh, J. M., &  Riel, M. M., (Eds.), (2016) The Palgrave international handbook of action research. US: Palgrave Macmillan  eBook ISBN 978-1-137-40523-4 DOI 10.1057/978-1-137-40523-4

Curriculum Books and Guides

  • Haddon, P., Lloyd, A., Miller, P., Riel, M., Sweitzer, J., Wee, J., & Whitt, A. (1994) Live from Antarctica Teacher’s Guide, Prentice Hall School Division.
  • Riel, M., (1991) Energy and the Environment Learning Circle Curriculum Guides: High School, Middle School and Elementary School Versions, AT&T Learning Network: Bridgewater, New Jersey.
  • Riel, M., (1991) Mindworks Learning Circle Curriculum Guides: Middle School and Elementary School Versions, AT&T Learning Network:Bridgewater, New Jersey.

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