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A CASE STUDY OF AN ACCELERATED BLENDED TEACHER EDUCATION

PROGRAM

Ying Wang

Submitted to the Faculty of the University Graduate School

in partial fulfillment of the requirements

for the degree

Doctor of Philosophy

in the Department of Instructional Systems Technology

Indiana University

May, 2009
UMI Number: 3358950

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ii

A Case Study of an Accelerated Blended Teacher Education Program

Accepted by the Graduate Faculty, Indiana University, in partial fulfillment of the


requirements for the degree Doctor of Philosophy

Dr. Thomas A. Brush, Ph.D.

Doctoral Dr. Curtis Bonk, Ph.D.


Committee

Dr. Robert L. Appelman, Ph.D.

Dr. Ginette Delandshere, Ph.D.

Date of Dissertation Defense: April 8, 2009


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Copyright ©2009

Ying Wang

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


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This dissertation is dedicated to


my husband, Jianzhao(沈劍釗), and
my children, Erin (沈怡然)and Matthew(沈皓然), for
their love, support, and encouragement.
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Acknowledgements

I wish to express appreciation to the following individuals who contributed to the

successful completion of my dissertation:

First, to the chairperson of my dissertation committee, Dr. Thomas Brush, for providing

me with continuous support, timely advice and constructive feedbacks. I am truly

grateful that you hold high expectations and high standards for me to attain the quality

of this dissertation. As you said, “all the revisions paid back” at the end! And to Dr. Curtis

Bonk on my dissertation committee, for the massive assistance in connecting me with Dr.

Thomas Reynolds for data collection, providing free access to the SurveyShare.com and

incentives for recruitment, and encouraging me to complete the study. I am also very

thankful to Dr. Bob Appelman and Dr. Ginette Delandshere for your great insights and

feedbacks to improve this study.

I would not be able to complete this study without help from Dr. Thomas Reynolds with

recruiting participants for this study. Dr. Reynolds, thank you for providing not only

access to the participants but also the three-blast-method for email recruitment. I look

forward to further collaboration with you on evaluating the application of blended

learning in your programs.

I would also like to thank brothers and sisters in the Chinese church in Greenwood, IN

and Wilmington, NC. Thank you for remembering me in your prayers. You have been

and will always be my family.


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I owe my biggest thanks to my immediate family. To my husband, Jianzhao, for your

unreserved love and support. Thank you for believing in me that I would complete this

study and my degree even at the times when I doubted it myself. Thank you for

supporting our family and taking care of the children to let me concentrate on this study.

To my children, Erin and Matthew, for your love and understanding. Thank you for the

time to let me work on this dissertation and not letting me feel guilty for the time spent

away from you. Your bright smiling faces and your kisses and hugs always remind me

there is more to life than this doctorate degree. I am glad I kept my promise and

completed my degree.

Finally, to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, for guiding me through the process. It is

wonderful to experience your love and blessings. May you continue to bless me and my

family!
vii

Ying Wang

A Case Study of an Accelerated Blended Teacher Education Program

Blended learning has great potential to improve teacher education in terms of both

accessibility and quality. Research studies are lacking in providing evidences for the

contributions of blended learning in teacher education, especially at the program level.

This study addresses this gap in research by examining a blended learning teacher

education program and by analyzing students’ and faculty members’ perceptions of

online learning in teacher education.

The methodology of case study with mixed methods data collection analysis was applied

in this study. Recent graduates from the chosen teacher education program, 167 in total,

completed an online survey. Eight of the survey participants were interviewed. Six

faculty members also participated in interviews. Frequency and percentage, factor

analysis, correlation, means, and standard deviation were conducted to analyze the

numerical survey data. Constant comparison methods were used for analyze the

qualitative data from open-ended questions in the survey and interviews.

Findings from this study support the viability and benefits of applying blended learning

in teacher education at the program level. The opportunities for students to take classes

and complete their program online increase the convenience, flexibility, and access of

teacher education programs. Through applying blended learning, a teacher education

program may maintain or improve the quality of teaching preparation. The increasing

trend of online learning, the need to train quality teachers, and the current budget

constrains due to the economic crisis call for teacher education programs to be more

engaged in exploring the possibilities provided by the rapid development of online


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technologies to improve the access, efficiency, cost-effectiveness and quality of teacher

preparation.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

CHAPTER 1: STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM ……………………………………… 1


Introduction …………………………………………………………………………… 1
Description of the Study ……………………………………………………………… 2
Significance of the Study ……………………………………………………………... 3
Limitations of the Study ……………………………………………………………… 5
CHAPTER 2: REVIEW OF LITERATURE ……………………………………………… 6
Introduction …………………………………………………………………………… 6
Overview of Blended Learning ……………………………………………………… 6
Current Guidelines, Models, and Theories in Blended Learning ………………... 8
Components of Effective Teacher Education Programs …………………………... 13
Applying Blended Learning in Teacher Education ………………………………... 15
Current Research on Blended Learning in Teacher Education …………………... 18
Synthesis of Literature ………………………………………………………………... 21
Gaps in Research on Blended Learning in Teacher Education …………………… 24
CHAPTER 3: METHOD ………………………………………………………………….. 26
Overview ………………………………………………………………………………. 26
Research Design ………………………………………………………………………. 26
Online Teaching Education Programs ……………………………………………… 28
Context …………………………………………………………………………………. 29
Participants …………………………………………………………………………….. 31
Data Sources …………………………………………………………………………… 32
Procedure ……………………………………………………………………………… 34
Data Analysis ………………………………………………………………………….. 35
CHAPTER 4: RESULTS …………………………………………………………………... 42
Results of Analyzing Numerical Survey Data ……………………………………... 42
Results of Analyzing Open-Ended Survey Questions …………………………….. 49
Results of Analyzing Student Interviews …………………………………………... 65
Results of Analyzing Faculty Interviews …………………………………………… 87
Results of Analyzing Documents ……………………………………………………. 104
CHAPTER 5: DISCUSSION ……………………………………………………………… 107
Research Question 1 ………………………………………………………………….. 107
Research Question 2 ………………………………………………………………….. 110
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Research Question 3 ………………………………………………………………….. 115


Research Question 4 ………………………………………………………………….. 118
Implications of the Results …………………………………………………………... 123
Significance of the Results …………………………………………………………… 128
Limitations …………………………………………………………………………….. 129
Suggestions for Further Research …………………………………………………… 130
Conclusion …………………………………………………………………………….. 133
REFERENCES ……………………………………………………………………………... 135
APPENDIX A: Online Survey for Students ..…………………………………………… 142
APPENDIX B: Interview Questions for Students ……………………………………… 150
APPENDIX C: Interview Questions for Faculty ……………………………………….. 152
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Tables

Table 1: Critical components of a blended learning environment in teacher education –

Instruction

Instruction

Instructional Content Knowledge types of content (Sitzmann et al., 2006);

Right mixture of content for online and onsite instruction

(Zhao et al., 2005);

Preparing students (Painter, 2006);

Course content (Carnes, Awang, & Marlow, 2003)

Live events in instruction (Zukowski, 2006)

Content knowledge, theory, and practice in teacher education

curriculum (Korthagen & Kessels, 1999; Levine, 2006;

Russell & McPherson, 2001; Whitney et al., 2002);

Curricular coherence, curricular balance (6) *

Instructional Delivery mode (Zhao et al., 2005)

Media/Tools

Instructional methods Instructional methods, feedback (Sitzmann et al., 2006);

Instructional modes based on scenario-based learning (Boyle

et al., 2003);

Psychopedagogical instructional model (Alonso, Lopez, &

Manrique, 2005)

Instructional principles based on Anthony Giddens’s theory of

structuration (Stubbs, Martin, & Endlar, 2006)

Organization of information, demonstration, assistance of


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transfer of learning (Painter, 2006);

Adaptation to individual needs (Bunderson, 2003)

Frequent announcement and reminders, various ways to

present information (Ausburn, 2004)

Activity-based online tutorials, authentic and contextually

relevant content, incentives for participating in online

discussion (Khine & Lourdusamy, 2003)

Meaningful tasks (Motteram, 2006)

Handling cheating (Carnes et al., 2003)

Performance support materials (Zukowski, 2006)

Balance theory and practice in teacher education, close

collaboration between teacher education programs and

schools, close collaboration within the programs (Korthagen &

Kessels, 1999; Levine, 2006; Russell & McPherson, 2001;

Whitney et al., 2002)

* Underlined content applies specifically to teacher education programs.


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Table 2: Critical components of a blended learning environment in teacher education –

Learning

Learning

Learning Control Learner control (Sitzmann et al., 2006)

Self-paced learning (Zukowski, 2006)

Learner options, self-directness (Ausburn, 2004)

Learning Style Personal agency (R. T. Osguthorpe & C. Graham, 2003)

Learning styles (Ausburn, 2004)

Learning Time Length of training, learning time (Sitzmann et al., 2006)

Learning Activity Human interaction, practice (Sitzmann et al., 2006)

Design

Interaction (Zhao et al., 2005)

Collaboration (Zukowski, 2006)

Practice, tacit support from others (Painter, 2006)

Communications (Ausburn, 2004)

Learners collaborate for problem-solving (Painter, 2006)


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Table 3: Critical components of a blended learning environment in teacher education –

Evaluation

Evaluation

Learning Outcomes Transfer of learning (Painter, 2006)

Students’ application of new skills and knowledge (Painter,

2006)

Degrees (Levine, 2006)

Pupils’ learning as criteria for teacher education (Levine,

2006)

Course Evaluation Evaluation of instruction and instructor (Skylar et al., 2005)

Program Evaluation Assessment (Zukowski, 2006)

Cost effectiveness, ease of revision (R. T. Osguthorpe & C.

Graham, 2003)

View blended learning case as design studies, utilize validity-

centered design to improve measurement instruments,

formative assessment (Bunderson, 2003)

Purposes, external assessment and self-assessment, research,

finances (Levine, 2006)


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Table 4: Critical components of a blended learning environment in teacher education –

Human resources

Human Resources

Learner Learner population (Sitzmann et al., 2006); High admissions

critieria (Levine, 2006); Discipline and highly motivated

learners (Carnes et al., 2003)

Learner characteristics: Self-discipline and highly motivated

learners (Carnes et al., 2003); Learners with different

characteristics prefer various instructional features and goals

(Ausburn, 2004)

Learner roles (Bunderson, 2003)

Faculty Faculty composition (Levine, 2006)

Faculty characteristics: Organized instructors as skilled

facilitators, training and support for instructors (Carnes et al.,

2003)

Faculty roles: Roles of instructors and students (Bunderson,

2003)

Administrators Create strategic plans and directions (Bonk et. al., 2006)

Support staff Change organizational culture to accept blended learning

(Grahams, 2006)
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Table 5: Institutions that offer online teacher education programs leading to elementary

and/or secondary teacher credentials

Name of Institution Degrees Areas for

Teaching

1 Marin University BA| MA | Teacher Certificate Elementary,

Secondary, Special

Education

2 B University BA | MA | Teacher Certificate Elementary &

(Post-Bachelor) Secondary , TESOL

3 C University BS | MA | Elementary,

Secondary, Special

Ed

4 D University BA | MA | MED Elementary,

Secondary

5 E University BA | Teacher Certificate Elementary,

Secondary

6 F University Teacher Certificate (Post- Elementary,

Bachelor) Secondary (math &

science), TESL

7 G College Teacher Certificate (Post- Elementary,

Bachelor) Secondary

8 H University MA | MED Elementary,

Secondary, Special

Education

9 I College Teacher Certificate (Post- Elementary,


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Bachelor) Secondary, Special

Education

10 J University Teacher Certificate (Post- Secondary

Bachelor)

11 J University Teacher Certificate (Post- Not indicated

Bachelor)

12 K University MED Secondary


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Table 6: Demographics of Survey Participants

Question Categories N (%)

Gender Female 111 (68%)

Male 53 (32%)

Current Yes 97 (59%)

Teacher No 68 (41%)

Age 20-24 25 (15%)

25-34 69 (41%)

35-44 41 (25%)

45+ 30 (18%)

Focus Area Multiple-subject (Elementary) 61 (37%)

Single-subject (Secondary) 65 (39%)

Cross-subject (more than one focus) 17 (10%)

Other (Special, Art, Music, PE) 21 (13%)

Graduation 2008 113 (68%)

Year 2007 38 (23%)

Working Working (Part & Full-time) 135 (82%)

Status Not Working 19 (12%)

Course All of the courses online 48 (29%)


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Format Most of the courses online with a few on site 38 (23%)

Half of the courses online and half on site 16 (10%)

Most of the courses on site with a few online 46 (28%)

All of the courses on site 12 (7%)

All online except one mandatory seminar on site 3 (2%)

Only one online 2 (1%)


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Table 7: An example of the spreadsheet for coding student interview data for the category

of “Differences of the Marin University (MU) teacher education program from traditional

teacher education programs”

Student Incidents Page#

Student A month-to-month course p1

Student B quick program (1 year) & quick courses (1 month) p1

offering online classes p1

Student C accessibility: offering online classes p1

a lot of writing involved p1

student self-directed learning p5


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Table 8: An example of the spreadsheet for coding student interview data for the

category “Student Perceived Differences of the MU teacher education program from

traditional teacher education program”

Categories Themes Incidents Student Page#

Differences SU teacher education quick program (1 year) B p1

program is quicker to & quick courses (1

complete month)

faster-paced E p1

SU teacher education offers online classes B p1

program offers option to

complete online

offering online classes C p1

extensive online F p1

program

MU teacher education student self-directed C p5

program is self-directed learning

responsibility on G p1

students to complete

learning tasks
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Table 9: An example of the spreadsheet for coding faculty interview data

Categories Incidents Faculty Page

Advantages Students may take courses online or onsite C2 p6

Students may take courses based on their C2 p6

schedule

1-year program allows students to finish more

quickly

Students are more mature, average age is 33, C2 p6

with greater learning skills, highly motivated

Close relationship with student while teaching C2 p6

one-month course: “You end up with the

students for one month… you really get closer

emotionally and intellectually”

Teaching focused on curriculum development: C2 p6

Faculties are dedicated to teaching and C2 p7

students
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Table 10: An example of the spreadsheet for coding faculty interview data

Categories Themes Incidents Faculty Page

Advantages Accessibility Students may take courses online C2 p6

or onsite

60% of university courses are M p9

taught online, only 40% on site -

indication that students like online

courses

Students can choose to take course D p4

online or onsite

Open enrollment policy D p1

Students have access to all courses D p4

at the beginning of every month

“We want our students to have D p2

complete accessibility to our

courses”

Students are able to access D p6, 9

courses online, students juggle


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their time for studying, access to

library and all resources online

Provide more Master's degrees to M p9

minorities than any other

university in CA

Flexibility Students take courses based on C2 p6

their schedule

Students may work during the day C1 p5

and take courses during the

evening or weekends or take

courses online

Table 11: Students’ satisfaction of the program

Categories N (%)

Very satisfied 84 (57%)

Somewhat satisfied 56 (38%)

Not sure 5 (3%)

Not satisfied 0 (0%)

Other 2 (1%)
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Table 12: List of Eigenvalues

Item Eigenvalue Cumulative

1 4.04 0.34

2 3.00 0.60

3 2.01 0.76

4 1.25 0.87

5 0.92 0.95

6 0.69 1.01

7 0.48 1.05

8 0.40 1.08

9 0.27 1.10

10 0.18 1.12

11 0.13 1.13

12 0.11 1.14

13 0.06 1.14

14 0.03 1.15

15 -0.02 1.15

16 -0.03 1.14

17 -0.05 1.14

18 -0.08 1.13

19 -0.13 1.12

20 -0.17 1.11

21 -0.19 1.09

22 -0.23 1.07

23 -0.24 1.05
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24 -0.29 1.03

25 -0.30 1.00

Table 13: Domain of P-interaction: Student perceptions of student-instructor and

student-student interaction

Item (α=0.78) M SD Factor Item-Total

Loading 1 Correlation

Interaction with instructors was vitally 3.71 1.23 0.66 0.75

important for me to learn any subject in

my teacher education program.

(instructor interaction)

Interacting with other students in my 3.77 1.19 0.74 0.72

teacher education program helped me to

learn. (student interaction)

I believe I had adequate interaction with my 3.86 0.9 0.61 0.77

instructors in the program to help my 3

learning. (adequate instructor

interaction)

I had adequate interaction with my fellow 4.03 0.8 0.63 0.74

students in the program to help my 4

learning. (adequate student interaction)

I learned best when collaborating with other 3.30 1.19 0.67 0.73

students. (student collaboration)

1
Factor loading was generated based on orthogonal transformation.
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Table 14: Domain of P-practice: Student perceptions of practices in curriculum

Item (α=0.74) M SD Factor Item-Total

Loading Correlation

My teacher education program gave me 3.87 0.98 0.71 0.69

chances to practice what I learned in the

courses. (practice)

Students in teacher education need 4.28 0.99 0.49 0.74

opportunities to practice what they have

learned in class in order to master the

skills and knowledge.(need practice)

The field experience assignments in all 3.89 0.95 0.64 0.70

courses helped to prepare me to become

a successful teacher. (field assignments)

The program I went through serves my 4.01 1.00 0.46 0.70

needs better than a traditional teacher

preparation program. (serve needs)

I believe my program adequately prepared 4.28 0.78 0.58 0.69

me to become a successful teacher in K-

12 classrooms. (adequate prepare)

I was highly motivated to succeed in my 4.66 0.59 0.41 0.73

program. (motivated)

I spent 2-3 hours studying for each credit 3.93 1.06 0.26 0.74

hour I enrolled in; that is, I spent about

6-9 hours each week studying for a 3-

credit hour course when I was in the


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program. (study time)

Table 15: Domain of P-control: Student perceptions of control of learning

Item (α=0.74) M SD Factor Item-Total

Loading Correlation

I am a self-directed learner (self-directed) 4.21 1.00 0.76 0.62

Self-directedness was the key for students to 3.96 1.16 0.59 0.72

succeed in my teacher education program.

(self-direct for success)

Students in teacher education need to have 3.91 0.94 0.63 0.69

control of their learning in order to

achieve high learning outcomes. (learning

control)

Time engaged in learning makes a difference 4.12 1.04 0.64 0.72

in a student’s learning achievement. (time

for achievement)
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Table 16: Domain of P-supervision: Student perceptions of faculty supervision

Item (α=0.50) M SD Factor Item-Total

Loading Correlation

I wish I could have more supervision during 2.37 0.89 0.43 0.41

the field-based experiences in the

program. (more supervision)

I needed immediate feedback from my 3.56 1.08 0.44 0.47

instructor(s) when taking an online

course. (immediate feedback)

I wish I could have more online interaction 2.80 1.11 0.61 0.33

with my instructor(s) in my teacher

education program. (more interaction)

I learned best when I had chance to solve 4.04 0.73 0.38 0.50

real problems. (problem solving )


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Table 17: Domain of P-online: Perceptions of the effectiveness of online learning in

teacher education

Item (α=0.79) M SD Factor Item-Total

Loading Correlation

I believe online courses in a teacher 3.18 1.36 0.76 0.71

education program can be taught as

effectively as those face-to-face on site.

(online as effective)

I believe all content in a teacher education 2.28 1.07 0.74 0.74

program can be taught more effectively

online than face-to-face on site. (online

more effective)

I believe more teacher education programs 3.71 1.11 0.67 0.75

should have online options. (more

online)

Self-paced learning was the best of online 3.73 1.05 0.58 0.79

courses. (self-paced learning)

I believe all teacher education programs will 2.66 1.15 0.56 0.78

eventually go online. (eventually online)


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Table 18: Rotated Factor Pattern

Items P- P- P- P- P-

interaction online practice control supervision

student interaction 0.74 -0.09 0.20 0.09 0.13

student collaboration 0.67 -0.13 0.07 -0.04 0.25

instructor interaction 0.66 -0.13 0.08 -0.04 0.25

adequate student

interaction 0.63 0.00 0.21 0.05 -0.29

adequate instructor

interaction 0.61 0.03 0.18 0.02 -0.32

online as effective -0.11 0.76 0.24 0.02 -0.28

online more effective -0.06 0.74 -0.01 0.03 -0.02

more online -0.06 0.67 0.08 0.03 -0.31

self-paced learning 0.03 0.58 0.20 0.04 0.07

eventually online -0.03 0.56 -0.03 -0.03 0.13

practice 0.22 0.06 0.71 0.08 -0.07

field assignments 0.10 0.14 0.64 0.15 -0.02

adequate prepare 0.37 0.19 0.58 -0.07 -0.19

need practice 0.01 -0.09 0.49 0.37 0.22

serve needs 0.34 0.26 0.46 -0.06 -0.13

motivated 0.04 0.01 0.41 0.16 -0.06

study time 0.24 0.17 0.26 0.05 -0.09

self-direct for success -0.10 0.03 0.09 0.76 -0.02

time for achievement -0.06 0.00 0.22 0.64 0.09

learning control 0.08 -0.02 0.12 0.63 0.08


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self-directed 0.12 0.08 -0.01 0.59 -0.18

more interaction 0.03 -0.22 -0.06 -0.09 0.61

immediate feedback 0.25 0.05 -0.09 0.20 0.44

more supervision -0.09 0.02 -0.09 0.01 0.43

problem solving 0.34 0.00 0.27 -0.02 0.38

Table 19: Mean, median, and SD for all domains of student perception

Domain Minimum Maximum Mean Media SD Cronbach’s

alpha

P-interaction 1.40 5.00 3.74 3.80 0.81 0.78

P-practice 2.00 5.00 4.13 4.14 0.56 0.74

P-control 1.00 5.00 4.04 4.13 0.79 0.74

P-supervision 1.50 5.00 3.24 3.25 0.64 0.50

P-online 1.00 5.00 3.06 3.20 0.88 0.79


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Table 20: Reasons for students to choose MU teacher education program

Why did you choose to study in the teacher Number of Responses

education program? (%)

The program is quicker than traditional teacher education 57 (34%)

programs

Scheduling of courses is flexible (self-paced, evening classes, 55 (33%)

fit working schedule)

The program offers convenience of online classes 44 (26%)

Others recommended the program 31 (19%)

The program is located closely 10 (6%)

Enrollment is easy 8 (5%)

The program offers combined Master’s degree and teacher 8 (5%)

certificate program

Cost is comparatively inexpensive 7 (4%)

I want to become a full-time teacher 4 (2%)

Instructors in the program are experienced and currently 1 (<1%)

working in the field

The program helps with paperwork for credential 1 (<1%)

The program has better understanding of NCLB 1 (<1%)

requirements
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Table 21: Advantages of the MU teacher education program

“What do you think were the biggest advantages of Number of Responses (%)

your program?”

The convenience and flexibility of the program 56 (34%)

Quick to complete 42 (25%)

Offering online classes 42 (25%)*

Quality classes and program 19 (11%)

Strong and experienced instructors 17 (10%)

Offering evening classes 10 (6%)*

Easy enrollment 5 (3%)

Small class size 4 (2%)

Opportunities to meet other teachers and professionals 3 (2%)

Local campus 1 (<1%)

Serious learners 1 (<1%)

The intern program 1 (<1%)

Longer student teaching than other programs 1 (<1%)

*The themes of offering online classes and offering evening classes may be combined

into the theme of “convenience and flexibility of program” (n=108, 65%)


xxxv

Table 22: Disadvantages of MU teacher education program

“What do you think were the biggest Number of Responses (%)

disadvantages (if any) of your program?”

Cost / expensiveness of the program 29 (17%)

Irresponsive instructors 24 (14%)

None 19 (11%)

Poor quality of classes 15 (9%)

Administrator and support staff were not helpful 12 (7%)

Lack of personal interaction in online classes 11 (7%)

Overwhelming workload due to the speed of program 9 (5%)

Student teaching arrangement is not organized 5 (3%)

Some students did not take it seriously 3 (2%)

The program only works for self-motivated and self- 3 (2%)

regulated learners

Reputation of the program is not strong 3 (2%)

Not all classes were available on site 3 (2%)

Conflict of scheduling for attending observations 2 (1%)

Need further explanation of assignments and 2 (1%)

requirements for classes

Lack of collaboration in learning 1 (<1%)

Technical difficulty for completing e-portfolio 1 (<1%)

The program is disorganized 1 (<1%)

Felt rushed for the 1-month course 1 (<1%)


xxxvi

Table 23: Suggestions for improving MU teacher education program

“How do you think the program could be Number of Responses (%)

improved?”

Nothing 22 (13%)

Lower cost of the program 17 (10%)

Have better support from administrators, support staff, 17 (10%)

and advisors

Improve communication from instructors to students 15 (9%)

Offer more classes on site each month 8 (5%)

Recruit and keep good instructors 6 (4%)

Consolidate and improve classes 6 (2%)

Improve the coordination of student teaching 5 (3%)

Have a more stringent monitoring system of instructors 5 (3%)

Help students with job searching 5 (3%)

Have more time in classroom teaching 4 (2%)

Eliminate e-portfolio requirements 4 (2%)

Offer blended courses of online and in-class learning 3 (2%)

Offer more detailed information in the orientation 3 (2%)

Make the mandatory seminars online 3 (2%)

Have shorter student teaching 1 (<1%)

Increase national standing of the program 1 (<1%)

Offer more internship with local school districts 1 (<1%)

Offer test preps for CSET 1 (<1%)

Assist field experience placement 1 (<1%)

Build a on-campus bookstore 1 (<1%)


xxxvii

Help students to increase awareness of available 1 (<1%)

resources (such as library loans)

Eliminate technical problems 1 (<1%)

Table 24: Online courses that would have been better taught onsite

What online courses you took would be better Number of responses (%)

taught on site?

None 62 (37%)

All 18 (11%)

Technology in classrooms 9 (5%)

Methods of teaching 7 (4%)

It wouldn’t matter 4 (2%)

Literacy and language arts 4 (2%)

Classroom management 3 (2%)

Math classes 3 (2%)

Psychology 3 (2%)

Student teaching 2 (1%)

Special education 2 (1%)

Multicultural and diversity 2 (1%)

Seminar 1 (<1%)

Assessment 1 (<1%)

Thesis 1 (<1%)

At least ½ 1 (<1%)

All except the technology class 1 (<1%)


xxxviii

Table 25: Reasons why online courses would be better taught onsite

Why those online courses would be better Number of responses (%)

taught on site?

Need personal and direct interaction with the instructor 40 (24%)

and/or other students

Can have immediate feedback in FACE-TO-FACE classes 10 (6%)

Had a bad online instructor 4 (2%)

Be able to role play teaching on site 2 (1%)

Have clear explanation of assignments on site 2 (1%)

Online classes were too difficult (too much paper, too 2 (1%)

much busy work)

Content is hard to learn online (content is more suitable 2 (1%)

for classes on site)

It wouldn’t matter 2 (1%)

Online classes wouldn’t be better on site 2 (1%)

Don’t know 2 (1%)

It depends on learner’s learning style 1 (<1%)

More time for collaboration on site 1 (<1%)

Be able to receive more information on site (since don’t 1 (<1%)

have to learn where and how to find the information)

FACE-TO-FACE would decrease frustration 1 (<1%)


xxxix

Table 26: Courses that would be better taught in a blended learning format

What courses, if any, would be better taught Number of Responses (%)

when combining online learning and face-to-

face meeting?”

None 49 (29%)

All 15 (9%)

Technology in classrooms 6 (4%)

Not sure / Don’t know 5 (3%)

Most classes 3 (2%)

It wouldn’t matter 2 (1%)

Methods courses 2 (1%)

Student teaching 1 (<1%)

Master courses 1 (<1%)

Special education 1 (<1%)

Reading 1 (<1%)

Teaching ELL students 1 (<1%)

Math 1 (<1%)

Application of content 1 (<1%)

Few 1 (<1%)
xl

Table 27: Student and faculty reported differences of MU teacher education program

Categories \ Data Student Interviews Faculty Interviews

Sources

Differences of MU Theme 1: MU teacher MU teacher education

teacher education education program takes less program is quicker to

program from time to complete. complete.

traditional teacher

education programs Theme 2: MU teacher Students have the option to

education program complete the program online,

offers the option to onsite, or mixing online and

complete the program onsite classes.

online.

MU teacher education

program has a more mature

student population.

Field experiences are

integrated in all courses.


xli

Table 28: Reported Advantages of MU teacher education program from students and

faculty members.

Categories \ Survey Student Faculty

Data Interviews Interviews

Sources

Advantages Convenience and Theme 1: Theme 1:

flexibility of the Convenience and Convenience and

program flexibility of the accessibility of

program online courses for

Quick pace students

Theme 2: High

High quality of quality of the Theme 2: Quick pace

classes program due to its and concentrated

practical learning experiences

Experienced curriculum and

instructors experienced Theme 3: Flexibility

instructors for faculty schedule

Theme 3: The

quick pace of the

program
xlii

Table 29: Reported disadvantages of MU teacher education program

Categories \ Survey Student Interviews Faculty Interviews

Data

Sources

Disadvantages Cost: expensive Theme 1: Some online Teaching MU teacher

classes lack of personal education courses may

Irresponsive interaction with the be overwhelming due

instructors instructor and other to the quick pace of

students. courses and the

Poor quality of program.

classes Theme 2: The online

program could be Teaching online is

Inadequate disadvantageous for online is challenging.

administrator & some learning styles.

support staff The program is facing

challenge to

Lack of personal implement new state

interaction in online standards on

classes evaluating teacher

candidate

Overwhelming performance.

workload

Administration and

supervision of the

integrated field
xliii

experiences is

challenging.

Table 30: Reported best practices of MU teacher education program

Categories \ Survey Student Faculty Interviews

Data Interviews

Sources

Best practices Quick pace Theme 1: The Increased access to

of MU teacher convenience and the program by

education Flexible schedule flexibility of the offering all courses

program program allow online year round and

Offering online increased access to providing online

classes teacher education services

Others’ Theme 2: The Integrating field

recommendations program provides experience in each

students with course

Close location of concentrated learning

satellite campuses experiences in the Recruiting dedicated

one-month classes teaching-focused

faculty with extensive

Theme 3: Maintaining experience in the

high quality of the teaching profession.

program through
xliv

recruiting experienced Designing sound and

and responsive consistent online

instructors and having courses

a practical curriculum
xlv

Table 31: Suggestions for improving MU teacher education program

Categories \ Survey Student Interviews

Data Sources

Suggestions for Lower cost (10%) (1). To facilitate more real time

improving MU student-instructor, student-

teacher education Have better administrative student interaction in online

program support for students (10%) classes.

Improve communication from (2). To establish a system to

instructors to student (9%) monitor instructor's teaching

performance.

(3). To better organize and

facilitate field experiences and

student teaching

(4). To provide better

administrative help for

students in the program.


xlvi

Figures

Figure 2: Screenplot of Item Eigenvalues

P-interaction

X
P-control P-practice P-supervision

P-online

Figure 1: Possible relationships among domains of student perception

Results of Analyzing Open-Ended Survey Questions


1

CHAPTER 1 - STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

Introduction

Research studies have reported many advantages of implementing online

learning in teacher education: (a) Online learning offers an effective solution to the

teacher shortage crisis, (b) online learning provides opportunities for students to

communicate with a wider range of individuals for a more global experience (Steinweg,

Davis, & Thomson, 2005), (c) online discussion promotes students’ professional self-

reflection, and (d) online learning allows teacher educators to model the “best practice”

of teaching with technology and provides a good opportunity for students to experience

learning with technology (Beard & Harper, 2002b). However, the negative aspects of

online learning for teacher education have also been reported, such as the lack of direct

student-instructor and student-student interaction (Beard & Harper, 2002a; Hughes &

Hagie, 2005; Steinweg, Davis, & Thomson, 2005; Stephen & Barford, 2005), possible

content diminishment due to the emphasis on technology-enhanced tasks, difficulties

caused by students’ lack of technological skills, and managerial issues (Almekhlafi,

2005; Stephen & Barford, 2005).

By combining online and face-to-face formats, educators may achieve the

inherent benefits of both types of instruction through a harmonious balance of virtual

access to knowledge and physical human interaction; such an approach has been labeled

as blended learning (Osguthorpe & Graham, 2003). Findings of research on blended

learning indicate that it is more effective for teaching both declarative and procedural

knowledge (Sitzmann, Kraiger, Stewart, & Wisher, 2006); results in better outcomes

than online or face-to-face learning alone (Zhao, Lei, Yan, & Tan, 2005); leads to

increased access and flexibility, improved pedagogy, and higher cost-effectiveness

(Graham, 2006); and may foster more active and deeper learning (Bonk, Kim, & Zeng,
2

2006; King, 2002). Therefore, blended learning has great potential to improve teacher

education in terms of both accessibility and quality.

Description of the Study

The definition of “blended learning” is adopted from Graham (2006) as the

combination of online and face-to-face learning. This study addresses the contribution of

blended learning in teacher education by examining a teacher education program that

implements blended learning at the program level and by analyzing students’ and faculty

members’ perceptions of online and blended learning in teacher education. The SLOAN

Consortium (SLOAN-CTM) defines an online program as “one where at least 80 percent

of the program content is delivered online” (Allen, Seaman, & Garrett, 2007, p. 5). The

teacher education program examined for this study may be taken as an online program.

At the same time, students may choose to complete the program onsite or mixing online

and onsite classes.

This study has four research questions:

1. How does a teacher education program that applies blended learning at the

program level differ from characteristics of traditional residential teacher

education programs?

2. What are perceived advantages and disadvantages of applying a blended format

of online and onsite learning in teacher education programs?

3. What are the wise practices for applying blended learning in teacher education at

the program level?

4. How do students and teachers in a blended learning teacher education program

perceive online and blended learning?

This study applies the methodology of case study with mixed method data

collection and analysis. One teacher education program that offers the option of

completing the program online served as the case for investigation. Recent graduates
3

from the program, 167 in total, completed an online survey. The survey collected

participants’ demographic information, their experiences in the program, and their

perceptions of online and blended learning. Eight students who completed the survey

volunteered to participate in 30-minute interviews. Six faculty members, including one

program director, one program co-chair, and four key faculty members from the teacher

education program, also participated in interviews. Each faculty interview lasted

approximately 60 minutes. The interviews were conducted in person or on the phone.

Relevant documents included syllabi from two courses, one student program of studies,

and one assessment form of student teaching performance. In addition, information

from the case program’s website was collected and reported.

Significance of the Study

Online enrollment in higher education in the United States continues to grow and

by the fall of 2005 had reached 3.18 million (Allen et al., 2007). The growth has

increased substantially from previous years: 2.3 million in 2004 (Allen & Seaman, 2006)

and 1.9 million in 2003 (Allen & Seaman, 2004). The number of academic leaders who

report online education as part of their long-term strategies has also continued to grow,

from 48.8% in 2003 to 58.4% in 2006 (Allen & Seaman, 2006). More and more online

teacher education programs have become available, and all of them incorporate some

face-to-face / onsite learning experiences. Such a blended format of online and face-to-

face learning may maintain the advantages and eliminate the disadvantages of both types

of learning, offering great potential to increase both the accessibility and quality of

teacher education. Institutions such as National University have achieved great growth

of student enrollment in their online teacher education program (Reynolds & Greiner,

2005). However, online learning remains an untapped source for many universities, and

it is time for professionals in teacher education to begin promoting the viability of online

learning in teacher preparation (Young & Lewis, 2008).


4

Current research studies on blended learning in teacher education focus on

supplementing online courses with face-to-face learning activities. Research studies that

examine blended learning in teacher education at the program level are needed to

provide teacher education professionals with evidence of its success and suggestions to

apply it. The findings of this study address this gap in research and provide evidence of

contributions that blended learning can make in teacher education at the program level.

The results of this study present findings of applying blended learning in teacher

education at the program level.

Limitations of the Study

The following limitations of this study need to be acknowledged: Teacher

education programs vary wildly in size, student population, curriculum, requirements,

and faculty resources. This study examines a case of teacher education programs

applying both online and face-to-face learning at the program level. Findings may not be

generalizable for all teacher education programs.

Participants in the online survey and interviews were voluntary. Email lists were

generated randomly for recruiting participants. It was possible that the email message

for calling for participation did not reach all of the students on the email list. It was also

possible that only students who had very good or very bad experiences with the teacher

education program responded to the survey. Therefore, the participants in this study

may not fully represent students in the teacher education program that was examined for

this study.

One survey question asked students about their experiences in the program. The

choices of answer included “very satisfied,” “somewhat satisfied,” “not sure,” “not

satisfied,” and “other.” The options weighted more towards reporting satisfaction and

might lead to biased responses from participants.


5

CHAPTER 2 - REVIEW OF LITERATURE

Introduction

This study examines the contribution of blended learning to teacher education

programs. Thus, it is important to review literature on blended learning and its

application in teacher education and other disciplines. This review of literature will

provide the following:

1. An overview of the definitions and different types of blended learning

2. Current guidelines, theories, and issues of blended learning across disciplines

3. Components of effective teacher education programs as a frame of reference

4. Rationales for applying blended learning in teacher education

5. An overview of current research on online and blended learning in teacher

education

After reviewing research on blended learning and teacher education below, a

synthesis of the literature will be offered, identifying critical components in a blended

learning environment for teacher education. In addition, gaps of research on blended

learning in teacher education will be discussed to justify the significance of this study.

Overview of Blended Learning

Definitions

Graham (2006) summarizes three definitions of blended learning as the (a)

combination of instructional delivery media, (b) combination of instructional methods,

and (c) combination of online and face-to-face instruction. The first two definitions

reflect the debate on instructional media versus instructional methods on learning and

are too broad to make blended learning a distinct phenomenon since virtually all

learning systems include a variety of methods and media. Defining blended learning as

the combination of online and face-to-face instruction more accurately reflects “the
6

historical emergence of blended learning systems” (p. 5) and, as such, will be the

definition adopted for this study.

Types of Blended Learning

Blended learning may occur at different levels of instruction: (a) at the activity

level, when a learning activity contains both face-to-face and computer-mediated

elements; (b) at the course level—the most common—where both face-to-face and

computer-mediated activities are included as part of a course; (c) at the program level,

when participants take both online and face-to-face courses in a program; and (d) at the

institutional level, with organizational commitment to blending face-to-face and

computer-mediated instruction (Graham, 2006).

Blended learning may simply meld face-to-face and distance learning within

residential courses in order to enrich students’ learning experiences and to use faculty

resources more sufficiently. At this level of blending, online learning time substitute time

spent in class for residential students. However, whether and how to provide face-to-face

instruction to students in distance programs is more problematic and challenging

(Moore, 2005).

Based on the practical question of how to blend, three categories for blended

learning systems exist:

1. “Enabling blends” focus on addressing issues of access and convenience.

2. “Enhancing blends” incorporate incremental changes to existing

pedagogy such as offering resources and supplementary materials online

while in a traditional face-to-face learning environment.

3. “Transforming blends” allow a radical transformation of the pedagogy by

taking full advantage of the capacity offered by the technology (Graham,

2006).
7

Current Guidelines, Models, and Theories in Blended Learning

Current research on blended learning focuses on practical guidelines and theory

development for designing and analyzing blended learning courses in different

disciplines. Osguthorpe and Graham (2003) reviewed the enormous potential to adapt

blended learning to different settings, students, and content. They identified six goals

educators promote when designing a blended learning environment: pedagogical

richness, access to knowledge, social interaction, personal agency, cost effectiveness, and

ease of revision. In Sitzmann and colleagues’ (2006) meta-analysis of online and

classroom instruction, they generated research design mediators for comparing the

learning effectiveness between the two delivery media. These mediators can furthermore

be used as factors in determining learning effectiveness via any media: (a) learner

population, (b) instructional methods, (c) learner control, (d) human interaction, (e)

practice and feedback, and (f) length of training.

Since blended learning involves both online and face-to-face activities, some

research studies focus on the proportion and balance of the two components. Moore

(2005) points out that online instruction can be regarded as a communication

technology, which is simple and straightforward, yet often as misapplied as other

technologies. However, online instruction may be ideal for achieving specific learning

outcomes. Zhao et al. (2005) points out the importance of the best mixture of human

and technology and that distance education may be more appropriate for certain content

and learner populations. They further emphasize that interaction is the key to effective

online learning.

Sitzmann et al. (2006) compared the effectiveness of online and classroom

instruction. They concluded that online instruction was more effective than face-to-face

teaching for declarative knowledge and that the two delivery media were equally effective

in teaching procedural knowledge. Carnes, Awang, and Marlow (2003) interviewed


8

online instructors in different disciplines in higher education about their perceptions on

what elements determine whether a class is suitable for online learning. Their findings

indicate that the quality of online learning depends upon course contents (whether they

are cognitive based), students (who need to be self-disciplined and highly motivated) and

instructors (who need to be organized and skilled facilitators). In addition, time and

training are needed for developing high quality online classes, and course management

issues such as cheating should also be taken into consideration. Carnes et. al. note that

cheating is not a unique problem with online classes, nor is it more of a problem with

than in the traditional classroom.

Many researchers and practitioners focus on guidelines for practically

implementing blended learning. Zukowski (2006) emphasizes five emerging ingredients

as important elements of a blended learning process, including live events, self-paced

learning, collaboration, assessment, and performance support materials. Painter (2006)

lists eight key steps to blended learning:

1. Prepare learners with essential skills and overall understanding to ensure

success.

2. Inform learners about objectives, facts, and key concepts of the skills they

are going to learn and explain the value of learning them.

3. Demonstrate procedures, principles, concepts, and processes so learners

can apply the skills.

4. Provide learners with opportunities to practice newly-learned skills and

build long-term retention.

5. Evaluate learners’ application of new skills and provide feedback.

6. Assist learners’ transfer of learning.

7. Provide tacit support of peers, mentors, or experts.

8. Allow learners to work collaboratively as a community to solve problems.


9

Different theories and models have been applied in blended learning. For

example, Thomson NETg’s blended learning models draw on David Merrill’s theory of

the first principles of instruction—solving real-world problems, activating existing

knowledge, demonstrating new knowledge, applying new knowledge, and integrating

new knowledge into the learner’s world—to incorporate scenario-based exercises (Boyle,

Kolosh, & L'Allier, 2003). Characteristics of NETg’s blended models include creating

scenarios for learning, aligning learning objectives with realistic possibilities, applying

newly-acquired skills and knowledge as soon as possible, providing access to live online

mentors, and offering onsite instructor-led training adapted to individual learning

differences (Boyle et al., 2003). Alonso, Lopez, and Manrique (2005) proposed a

psychopedagogical instructional model for blended learning supported by learning

objects. Their model is based on content structure, cognitive process of perception,

attention, cognitive load, coding, retrieval/transfer, metacognition, and collaborative

activities to encourage collaborative and reflective learning. Stubbs, Martin, and Endlar

(2006) proposed design principles of blended learning courses based on Anthony

Giddens’s theory of structuration, which emphasizes the mutual relationship of social

structure and individual action. Stubbs et al. drew two core design principles from

Giddens’s work: to pursue intended outcomes through structuration such as

communication, power, and sanction; and to design with a keen sense of audience.

Giddens’s structuration theory offers a meta-framework to address the challenges of

user-centered design and of systematic reinforcement of learner activities,

communications, support, and assessment when designing blended learning courses. In

these cases, blended learning was applied at the course level of instruction.

Davis and Fill (2007) reflected on their experiences of implementing blended

learning in the project, “Digital Libraries in Support of Innovative Approaches to

Teaching and Learning in Geography.” They recommend a “whole curriculum approach”


10

to identify suitable places to include blended learning, rather than changing a single

module or course within a program to include it. They also suggest including a change

agent (in their case, a learning technologist in the School of Geography) as an effective

approach to group change. Other important factors for the successful implementation of

blended learning include external funding and senior management support.

In addition to the guidelines and theories for designing blended learning courses,

Bunderson (2003) proposes four frameworks for analysis: (a) view blended cases as

design studies with an iterative process of implementation; (b) address roles of

instructors and students; (c) focus on adaptation to individual needs; and (d) utilize

validity-centered design to improve the measurement instruments, instruction,

adaptation, and implementation plans.

Major Issues in Blended Learning

Although evidence shows that blended learning is more effective than online

learning or face-to-face learning alone, Sitzmann et al.’s (2006) study indicates that

learners react more favorably towards classroom instruction than blended learning;

therefore, perceived learner satisfaction may suffer. One assumption may be that

blended learning courses are more demanding and time consuming than online

instruction due to the incorporation of both online and classroom components

(Sitzmann et al., 2006). Moreover, with blended learning becoming more and more

prevalent, it is vital for higher education and corporate training settings to create

strategic plans and directions, focusing on pedagogical techniques in blended learning

(Bonk et al., 2006).

The most common reason for applying blended learning reflected in literature is

that it combines the best of both online and face-to-face instruction. It is rarely

acknowledged that a blended learning environment can also mix the least effective

elements of both worlds if it is not designed well. Great challenges exist for
11

implementing blended learning, such as how to balance online and face-to-face

instruction (Christensen, 2003), when and why instructors should consider human

interaction, how live interaction and asynchronous interaction affect learning

experiences, how to support learner maturity and capabilities for self-regulation, what

guidance should be provided to learners in blended learning, how to provide learners

with technological skills to succeed in both online and face-to-face environments, and

how to change the organizational culture to accept blended approaches (Graham, 2006).

Components of Effective Teacher Education Programs

Traditional teacher education programs have been criticized for low quality,

incoherent programs, unbalanced curriculum reflecting the gap between theory and

practice, and poor student field placements (Korthagen & Kessels, 1999; Levine, 2006,

2006; Russell & McPherson, 2001; Whitney, Golez, Nagel, & Nieto, 2002). In response

to this criticism, researchers have been investigating effective teacher education

programs. Russell and McPherson (2001) reviewed literature on the quality of teacher

education programs, and in their results, they emphasize the following components of

successful teacher preparation programs: collaboration of all involved parties,

interaction of teacher candidates’ histories and experiences within the teacher training

process, connection of theory and practice of an induction model to focus on learning

from experiences, consensus on curriculum, and continuous professional development

for teachers.

Whitney et al. (2002) interviewed focus group of teachers to examine the

effectiveness of their teacher education programs. They found that preservice teachers

need to be equipped with adequate understanding of education theories and to gain rich

experiences to link theory to practice. An effective teacher education program needs to

bridge the division between subject-matter preparation and teacher methodology


12

courses, form close collaborative partnerships with schools, incorporate more and earlier

fieldwork experiences, assist preservice teachers with classroom management skills, and

provide opportunities for preservice teachers to develop leadership skills.

Korthagen and Kessels (1999) advocate a realistic approach, applying levels in

learning in teacher education and the ALACT model of reflection (action, looking back,

awareness of essential aspects, creating alternative methods, and trial). They suggest

that students in teacher education should first gain adequate experiences in order to

achieve understanding of theory. Close collaboration with local schools and between

different subjects in teacher education programs are suggested to achieve the realistic

approach.

Levine (2006) offers a nine-point template for judging the quality of teacher

education programs. The template encompasses previous researchers’ findings on

effective teacher education programs and includes: (a) explicit purpose focusing the

education of teachers, (b) coherent curriculum to teach the skills and knowledge needed

by teachers at different types of schools and at different stages of their careers, (c)

balanced curriculum with study in university classrooms and work in schools to integrate

theory and practice of teaching, (d) qualified faculty with both academic and practical

experience, (e) rigorous admission criteria to recruit students with the capacity and

motivation to become successful teachers, (f) high graduation standards to ensure that

candidates are adequately prepared for the classroom, (g) quality research driven by

practice and useful for practitioners and policy makers, (h) adequate finances to support

the program, and (i) continuous assessment to improve the program’s performance.

Applying Blended Learning in Teacher Education

Research studies on blended learning in different disciplines have shown

evidence to support its benefits. Sitzmann et al. (2006) conducted a meta-analysis of 96


13

experimental studies on online and classroom instruction between 1996 and 2005. Their

findings indicate that blended learning is more effective than face-to-face classroom

instruction for teaching both declarative and procedural knowledge. They concluded that

blended learning optimizes the instructional advantages of both online learning and

classroom instruction. The findings of another meta-analysis conducted by Zhao et al.

(2005) indicate no difference in overall effectiveness between online and face-to-face

learning, and they note that courses applying blended learning result in better learning

outcomes than distance or face-to-face education alone. Boyle and colleagues (2003)

examined Thomson NETg’s Structured Blended Learning software training and found

that the blended models resulted in higher quality performance than either the pure e-

learning model or the control group with no instruction.

Blended learning has been applied in higher education and workplace learning

settings throughout the world and may lead to improved pedagogy, increased access and

flexibility, and increased cost-effectiveness (Graham, 2006). In addition, blended

learning may be used to “foster learning communities, extend training events, offer

follow-up resources in a community of practice, access guest experts, provide timely

mentoring or coaching, present online lab or simulation activities, and deliver prework

or supplemental course materials” (Bonk et al., 2006, p. 560).

At most American universities, students have to commit to either an extended

period of residence on campus or study at distance. Neither option is entirely satisfactory

in terms of learning outcomes or costs to student and institution, particular with the

growing number of nontraditional student applicants:

The instructions that are able to transfer teaching resources from the classroom

to the best quality of distance education and also scientifically integrate online

methods with their other delivery systems are likely to prosper. Blended learning,
14

therefore, is in all our future, not only for faculty and students in residential

learning but also for distance education. (Moore, 2005, p.132)

The United States is facing a pressing challenge to prepare teachers in both high

quantity and quality. Teacher education needs to be redesigned in order to produce a

greater number of teachers with the skills and knowledge necessary to help all students

succeed (Levine, 2006). Along with the wide spread of online technologies, many studies

have reported positive findings of online learning in teacher education. For example,

online learning offers an alternative to traditional residential-based teacher education.

Research studies indicate there is no significant difference in students’ learning and

performance between online and face-to-face learning in teacher education (Caywood &

Duckett, 2003; Jordan, Smith, Dillon, Algozzine, 2004; Skylar, Giggins, Boone, Jones,

Pierce, & Gelfer, 2005; Steinweg, Davis, & Thomson, 2005). Moreover, applying online

learning increases access to teacher education (Simmons & Mebane, 2005; Roach, 2003;

Stephen & Barford, 2005; Johnson & Briden, 2004). In addition, online learning

provides opportunities for teacher education students to communicate with a wider

range of individuals for a more global experience (Steinweg et al., 2005), promotes

teacher candidates’ collaborative learning and reflective thinking (Beard & Harper,

2002a), and exposes teacher education students to teaching and learning with updated

technology (Wilcox & Wojnar, 2000).

However, the negative aspects of online learning for teacher education have also

been identified, such as the lack of direct student-instructor and student-student

interaction (Beard & Harper, 2002a; Hughes & Hagie, 2005; Steinweg et al., 2005;

Stephen & Barford, 2005), possible content diminishment due to the emphasis on

technology-enhanced tasks, and difficulties caused by students’ lack of technological

skills. In addition, there are managerial issues such as determining class size, aligning

course goals with technological components, faculty creativity, sound educational goals
15

versus administrative drive toward technology inclusion, and managing the potential

loss of control over course content (Stephen & Barford, 2005). Through combining

online and face-to-face learning, blended learning provides a promising solution to

maintain the advantages and eliminate the disadvantages of online learning (King,

2002). Blended learning may increase accessibility to teacher education programs

without sacrificing the quality of training professional teachers.

Young and Lewis (2008) urge teacher education programs to begin considering

the viability of training teachers at a distance. They recommend that teacher preparation

programs actively recruit non-traditional students (students above the age of 25) into

distance education and provide comprehensive professional development training to

faculty who will work in distance education programs.

Current Research on Blended Learning in Teacher Education

Compared to the research on the practice and theory of blended learning in other

disciplines, little research has been done on online and blended learning in teacher

education specifically (Young & Lewis, 2008). A few studies have focused on exploring

the benefits of applying blended learning in teacher education. King’s (2002) case study

explored the dynamics and experiences of the instructor and students participating in a

hybrid/blended teacher education program. Findings indicated the importance of the

instructor’s role in adapting the direction of successful topics and encouraging students’

participation in discussion as well as in monitoring technology and class progress. The

conclusion was reached that blended learning may present an opportunity to develop

interactive and collaborative learning communities for pre-service teachers through

overcoming the drawbacks of online instruction and minimizing the inconvenience of

traditional face-to-face instruction.


16

Khine and Lourdusamy (2003) studied the blended approach of online tutorials,

content delivered on multimedia CD-ROMs, and online discussion in their Teaching and

Classroom Management course. They collected trainee teachers’ feedback and

determined that their learning was enhanced from such a blended approach, for

example, the multimedia CD provided them with examples that were well integrated

with the online tutorials and the online discussion allowed them to learn from peers.

Delfino and Persico (2007) conducted a five-year case study (from 2001-2005) of

an education technology course in teacher education. During the five years, the course in

question transformed from entirely online to a blended approach of online and face-to-

face learning. Delfino and Persico propose online learning in pre-service teacher training

since student teachers participating in online learning were more likely to use similar

methods with their students when they had first-hand experience themselves. Student

teachers’ experiences with online learning also may encourage their future participation

in communities of practice, which would further promote teachers’ development.

Harrell and Harris (2006) compared performance of candidates in the Online

Post Baccalaureate Program to those in the traditional accredited baccalaureate program

for secondary teacher preparation at the University of North Texas. The researchers

collected and compared online and traditional candidates’ age, gender, ethnicity, field of

certification, scores of state licensure examination, and self-assessments of proficiency.

Findings of the study indicated that the online program significantly increased the

number of diverse candidates entering teaching as well as the number of candidates

prepared by the university in the critical areas of science and mathematics. In addition,

they found the performance of online teacher candidates was at least equal to that of

traditional program candidates on indicators such as GRE scores, state certification

tests, and portfolio ratings. Moreover, the candidates themselves reported satisfied with

the online program.


17

Young and Lewis (2008) examined the perception of teacher candidates in

distance education programs at seven universities in the United States. They collected

participant’s responses to a survey containing questions in four categories, including the

effectiveness of course structure, overall enjoyment and satisfaction, adequacy of student

– teacher interaction, and adequacy of peer-to-peer interaction. Their findings indicate

that older students are more likely to take distance courses and the majority of students

involved in distance education in all fields are female. The researchers concluded that

teacher candidates in distance programs were generally positive about distance

education in terms of overall satisfaction and enjoyment.

A few research studies have also been conducted to examine different aspects of

blended learning in teacher education. Ausburn (2004) utilized a questionnaire and

ATLAS (Assessing the Learning Strategies of Adults) to identify the instructional goals

and course design features of blended learning valued by adult learners in teacher

education. The findings indicate that adult learners in teacher education value learner

options, variety of choices, and self-directedness in their learning opportunities. Adult

learners in teacher education benefit from frequent announcements and reminders from

the instructor and from effective two-way communication with their classmates and

instructor to establish a learning community. The study also supports the idea that in

online instruction, like other traditional environments, learners with different

characteristics prefer and benefit from a variety of instructional features and goals.

Motteram’s (2006) case study examined the perception of graduate students in

teacher education towards blended learning and provided guidelines for utilizing online

discussion forums in conjunction with face-to-face classes. Findings of the study suggest

that when tasks in a blended learning environment are relevant to learners and set up

well, the tasks will help learners to develop their knowledge and skills.
18

Synthesis of Literature

Based on the above literature review of current practical guidelines and theories

and the research on blended learning in teacher education, the following critical

components are identified by the author for an ideal blended learning environment in

teacher education:

1. Instruction, including instructional content, methods, and media/tools

(see Table 1)

2. Learning, including learning style, control, time, activities, and outcomes

(see Table 2)

3. Evaluation, including program and course evaluation and evaluation of

learning outcomes (see Table 3)

4. Human resources, including faculty, student, administrator and

supporting staff members (see Table 4)

Levin’s (2005) nine components of effective teacher education programs

(purpose, curricular coherence, curricular balances, faculty composition, admission,

degree, research, finances, and assessment) provide a frame of reference for judging the

quality of teacher education programs and can be incorporated into the critical

components of a blended learning environment in teacher education. The critical

components of a blended learning environment in teacher education may also be used as

a framework to analyze the application of blended learning in teacher education

programs.

Gaps in Research on Blended Learning in Teacher Education

Reynolds and Greiner (2005) discuss National University’s practice of integrating

field-experiences with its online teacher education programs. Even though their report is

not a research study, the authors revealed the fact that blended learning has been
19

applied in not only residential teacher education programs, but also those online. This

emerging phenomenon signifies the importance of studying the application of blended

learning in teacher education not only at the course level, but also at the program level,

especially considering the more challenging practice of integrating face-to-face learning

experiences within online teacher education programs. A few studies have emerged to

examine parts of online teacher education programs, such as online candidate

performance (Harrell & Harris, 2006) and perception (Young & Lewis, 2008). More

studies to examine blended learning systematically at both course and program levels in

teacher education are needed. There is a particular lack of research on blended learning

in teacher education at the program level, leaving unanswered questions such as what

benefits and drawbacks blended learning offers to teacher education programs; how to

balance online and face-to-face learning to maintain the structural and conceptual

coherence of a teacher education program (Hammerness, 2006); and what teacher

educators, administrators, and policy makers need to know to create strategic plans and

directions (Bonk et al., 2006). This study aims to address these questions by examining a

particular case of accelerated blended learning teacher education program.


20

CHAPTER 3 - METHOD

Overview

The purpose of this study is to provide evidence for teacher educators,

administrators, and policy makers to understand the contribution of blended learning in

teacher education programs. Four research questions guided this study:

1. How does a teacher education program that applies blended learning at the

program level differ from characteristics of traditional residential teacher

education programs?

2. What are perceived advantages and disadvantages of applying a blended

format of online and onsite learning in teacher education programs?

3. What are the wise practices for applying blended learning in teacher

education at the program level?

4. How do students and teachers in a blended learning teacher education

program perceive online and blended learning?

Research Design

This study applies a case study method with mixed methods data collection and

analysis. Research questions dictate the selection of methods. The consistency between

research questions and research design is the standard criterion for high quality studies

(Newman, Ridenour, Newman, & DeMarco, 2003). The research questions of this study

focus on “how” and descriptive “what” questions for understanding the contemporary

phenomenon of blended learning in teacher education. Utilizing a case study serves as a

preferred research strategy for answering such questions about a contemporary

phenomenon (Yin, 2003). In addition, case study methodology allows the researcher to

examine the research questions without manipulating participants’ behaviors (Yin,

2003), allowing for understanding of the phenomenon in its natural context. Both

quantitative and quality data were collected for this study including survey data
21

(quantitative and qualitative), interview data (qualitative), and documents such as

course syllabus (qualitative), and information on the programs’ Websites (quantitative).

There is a wide agreement among researchers that mixed methods of data

collection strengthen a study due to the following reasons:

1. Using multiple methods can neutralize or cancel out the limitations of

some methods.

2. Qualitative research has been accepted as a legitimate form of inquiry in

the social sciences and has been recognized for its value in obtaining

detailed contextualized information.

3. Great complexities exist in social phenomenon; therefore, different kinds

of methods are needed to best understand these complexities (Jick, 1979,

and Greene & Caracelli, 1997, as cited in Creswell, Clark, Gutmann, &

Hanson, 2003).

Applying the methodology of case study with mixed methods data collection and analysis

ensures the scientific rigor of this study.

Online Teacher Education Programs

After searching for online teacher education programs, twelve institutes were

identified that offer online programs leading to teaching credentials in elementary

and/or secondary schools (see Table 5).

The first five of the twelve institutions in Table 5, Marin University, B University,

C University, D University and E University, have more comprehensive programs,

including not only opportunities to earn teacher certificates but also Bachelor’s and

Master’s degrees. All of the five institutions that offer online teacher certification

programs require at least 20% field-based learning, including field experiences and

student teaching in their programs. All of the five programs were originally selected as

cases for investigation. However, my requests for studying the programs were rejected by
22

B, C, D, and E universities. The teacher education program at Marin University

gracefully agreed to participate in this study and served as the case for examination.

Students and faculty members from the program were recruited to participate in the

online student survey, student interviews, and faculty interviews. The university and its

teacher education program are discussed more in details in the following.

Context

Marin University (MU) is a private university in the west of the United States. It

is the second-largest private nonprofit university in its state. Currently, approximately

26,000 students are enrolled in Marin University, about half of whom are enrolled in

teacher education. Marin University offers single-subject (mainly for secondary schools)

and multiple-subject (mainly for elementary schools) teaching certificates and Master’s

degrees in education. The degrees offered at Marin University include undergraduate

degrees (Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education, Bachelor of Arts in Teaching),

graduate degrees (Master of Arts in Teaching, Master of Education, Master of Education

in Crosscultural Teaching, Master of Education in Elementary Education, Master of

Education in Elementary Education, Master of Education in Secondary Education,

Master of Education in Teaching, Master of Science in Instructional Leadership), and

teaching credential programs (Teaching Credential Internship, Teaching Credential

Preliminary Multiple Subjects, and Teaching Credential Preliminary Single Subject).

Even though the university offers undergraduate programs in its teacher education, the

main programs in teacher education are post-baccalaureate programs, meaning that

students in the program already obtained an undergraduate degree, worked in various

professions including in schools, and are enrolled in the program to obtain teaching

licensure. Students enrolled in the teaching certificate programs are required to

complete 10 courses and 18 weeks of student teaching for teaching licensure. They may

also take 4 more courses to obtain a Master’s degree. Each course at Marin University
23

lasts for four weeks or one month. Marin University has campuses called “learning

centers” throughout California and Nevada. Due to enrollment, not every course is

offered in all learning centers. However, all of the courses are available online. Students

may choose to complete the entire program online with the exception of student

teaching. They may also mix and match online and onsite courses or take all of the

courses on site. Graham (2006) defined blended learning at the program level as when

participants take both online and face-to-face courses in a program. The availability of all

courses online and the choices for students to take all courses online, on site, or in mix

and match make MU teacher education program a blended learning program

emphasizing the application of blended learning at the program level.

Participants

One hundred and sixty-seven participants (n=167) from the teacher education

program at Marin University (MU) completed the online survey in 2007 and 2008

(n=148 in 2008 and n=19 in 2007). Survey participants included both female (n=111,

68%) and male (n=53, 32%) students. Most participants (n=151, 92%) completed their

teaching credentials program in 2007 or 2008. Over half of the participants (n=97, 59%)

reported current teaching positions. The majority of participants were over 25 years old

(n=140, 85%). About one-third of the participants were working towards their

Elementary Education credentials (37%), and another third towards different subjects in

Secondary Education (39%). Remaining participants’ areas of study included special

education, art education, music education, and PE. Some participants (10%) focused on

more than one area of study, for example, Elementary and Secondary English Education,

Secondary Science and PE, or Early Childhood and Secondary Math Education. The

majority of participants (n=135, 82%) were working full- or part-time when they were

enrolled. Over half of the participants (n=101, 61%) took at least half of the courses in

their program online, including 29% of them who took all of their courses online and
24

28% who took most of courses online with a few onsite. On the other hand, 28% of

participants took most of courses on site with a few online (see Table 6). The course

formats reflect the blended learning nature of MU teacher education program.

Eight survey participants were interviewed. In addition, six faculty members

from MU teacher education program, including one program director, one program co-

chair and four key faculty members, also participated in the interviews.

Data Sources

Survey

An online survey was developed for this study. The first part of the survey

collected participants’ demographic information, their opinions of the advantages and

disadvantages of MU teacher education program, and their suggestions for program

improvement. The second half of the survey contained 25 Likert-scale items and focused

on questions regarding participants’ perceptions of online learning in teacher education

programs. Survey questions were developed based on critical components of a blended

learning environment in teacher education (see Table 1 – 4). One hundred and sixty-

seven students (n=167) who recently completed teacher education programs from MU

completed the online survey.

Interview

Eight students who completed the online survey were also interviewed. The

questions for student interviews focused on students’ experiences in the program and

their perceptions of online learning in teacher education. All student interviews were

conducted on the phone. Each student interview lasted for approximately 30 minutes.

Six faculty members from the teacher education program at Marin University

(MU) also participated in interviews. The questions for faculty interviews focused on

their teaching experiences in the program, their opinions of the program, and their
25

perceptions towards online and onsite learning in teacher education. Each in-person

and phone interview lasted approximately 60 minutes.

Documents

Documents collected for this study include one copy of students’ programs of

studies, two course syllabi, and a student teaching assessment. Information was also

collected from the university’s websites, including degrees offered and requirements for

graduation.

Procedure

A professor in the teacher education program at Marin University (MU) agreed to

assist with recruitment of participants for this study. Three email lists with a total of

1250 recent graduates from MU teacher education program were randomly generated for

recruitment purposes. From August 2007 to August 2008, email messages were sent to

the email lists requesting participation in the study. Out of the 1250 invited, 167 students

completed the online survey (n=19 in 2007, n=148 in 2008; return rate of 13%).

Eight survey participants volunteered to participate in the interviews. All student

interviews were conducted on the phone. Each interview lasted for approximately 30

minutes. Six faculty members from the program participated in the interviews. Two of

the faculty interviews were conducted in person on the university’s campus, and the

other interviews were conducted on the phone. One of the faculty members was

interviewed twice on the phone. Each faculty interview lasted for approximately 60

minutes. All student and faculty interviews were recorded and transcribed for analysis.

Transcriptions were sent to participants for member check. One faculty member revised

the transcription and sent it back to me.

Documents including students’ programs of studies, two course syllabi, and a

student teaching assessment form were collected during faculty interviews. Information
26

was also collected from the program’s website at the beginning of the study and reported

in the description of MU teacher education program.

Data Analysis

Analysis of Survey Data

Frequency and percentage, factor analysis, correlation, means, and standard

deviations were conducted to analyze the numerical survey data. The second half of the

survey contained 25 Likert-scale items. For each item, the participants were asked to

choose their answers from a scale of 1-5 where 1 = Strongly Disagree, 2 = Disagree, 3 =

Undecided, 4 = Agree, and 5 = Strongly Agree. The 25 Likert scale items ask for

participants’ perspectives towards different aspects of a blended learning environment in

teacher education based on the synthesis of literature (see Table 1 – 4). Exploratory

factor analysis was used to group items and identify latent constructs in the survey for

analysis, and also to provide exploratory evidences for the theoretical relationships

among the constructs. Factors were extracted based on common variance. The number

of factors was determined using screen plot of Eigenvalues and theoretical judgment.

Factor analysis was conducted suing SAS v.8.20.

Internal consistency reliability of the survey was analyzed using Cronbach’s

alpha. Student responses to open-ended questions in the survey were tallied and

combined to generate common themes.

Analysis of Interview Data

Interview data were analyzed to identify common themes of students’ and faculty

members’ experiences in MU teacher education program and perceptions of online and

blended learning. The constant comparative method (Glaser, 1965) was used to code and

analyze interview data by following four steps: (a) comparing incidents applicable to

each category, (b) integrating categories and their properties, (c) delimiting the theory,

and (d) writing the theory.


27

Analysis of Student Interview Data

Four primary categories were generated to analyze student interview data based

on the research questions for this study: (a) student perceived advantages of the

program, (b) student perceived disadvantages of the program, (c) differences between

the program and traditional teacher education programs, and (d) wise practices from the

program. When coding the student interviews, one more category emerged: student

perceptions of online learning in teacher education programs.

A spreadsheet was created to record the incidents for each category in order to

compare them. Columns were created in the spreadsheet for student names, incidents,

and relevant page numbers in the interview transcriptions (see Table 7). The incidents

from each interview were added to the spreadsheet and continuously compared with

those from previous interviews. Themes were generated based on the coding and

comparisons of the incidents. A “Themes” column was added to the spreadsheet (see

Table 8). While coding and comparing the incidents from interviews, the themes were

frequently revised and integrated.

After coding all student interview data, I asked a professional statistician to code

one of the eight interviews based on the generated categories and themes. An 83% inter-

rater reliability rate was reached. Disagreements were resolved by discussion to reach

final agreement of coding. The coding categories and themes were also revised based on

the discussion between coders. All student interviews were reviewed based on the revised

categories and themes.

Analysis of Faculty Interview Data

Four primary general categories were generated based on the research questions

for coding faculty interview data: (a) faculty perceived advantages of the program, (b)

faculty perceived disadvantages and challenges of the program, (c) differences between

the program and traditional teacher education programs, and (d) faculty perceived best
28

practices from the program. A spreadsheet was also created for coding and organizing

faculty names, incidents, and page numbers to find the incidents in the interview

transcriptions (see Table 9 for an example).

Two additional categories were generated after coding the first faculty interview

and added to the spreadsheet: (a) faculty perception of online learning in teacher

education and (b) information about the program. Incidents from all interviews were

coded for each category and continuously compared with previous incidents. Themes

were generated based on the coding and comparisons of incidents. A Themes column

was then added to the spreadsheet (see Table 10).

During coding and through continuous comparison of incidents from faculty

interviews, the themes were constantly revised and integrated. For example, the category

of “information about the program” was integrated into the categories of “faculty

perceived differences” and “faculty perceived best practices;” the themes of

“accessibility” and “flexibility” under the category of “faculty perceived advantages” were

integrated into one theme, “accessibility and flexibility for students;” and the theme of

“more mature students,” which was originally listed under the category of “faculty

perceived advantages,” was integrated with the same theme under the category

“differences of MU teacher education program from traditional teacher education

programs”.

After the coding all faculty interview data from the primary case, the professional

statistician who coded the student interviews was asked to code one of the seven

interview transcriptions into generated categories and themes. Inter-rater reliability of

coding was 85%. The places of disagreement were discussed between the coders to reach

agreement. The coding categories and themes were revised based on the discussion

between coders. All faculty interviews were reviewed for the revised coding categories

and themes.
29

Analysis of Documents

Two course syllabi, one student program of studies, and one assessment form of

student teaching performance were collected from faculty during interviews. These

documents were examined to draw information about the courses in the program and to

support findings from the survey and interviews.


30

CHAPTER 4 – RESULTS

Data were collected in this study via three methods, including survey responses,

interviews, and documents. The results of data analysis are reported based on the data

collection methods.

Results of Analyzing Numerical Survey Data

Student Satisfaction

Participants were asked to gauge satisfaction with their teacher education

program. Almost all of the participants (95%) indicated that they were very satisfied or

somewhat satisfied with the program (see Table 11).

Domains of Student Perception

Exploratory factor analysis was used to analyze the second half of the survey

which contained 25 Likert-scale items. For each item, the participants were asked to

choose their answers from a scale of 1-5 where 1 = Strongly Disagree, 2 = Disagree, 3 =

Undecided, 4 = Agree, and 5 = Strongly Agree. Principal components were used to exact

factors. Exploratory factor analysis in 5 factors / domains explaining 95% of common

variances (Table 12, Figure 2) of the 25 items in the survey asking for participants’

experiences and perceptions:

1. Perceptions of instructor-student and student-student interaction, P-

interaction (Table 13)

2. Perceptions of practices in curriculum, P-practice (Table 14)

3. Perceptions of control of learning, P-control (Table 15)

4. Perceptions of faculty supervision, P-supervision (Table 16)

5. Perceptions of the effectiveness of online learning in teacher education, P-

online (Table 17)

The factor loading value of 0.40 was chosen as the cut-off point. Two items, “study time”

(0.26) in the domain of “perceptions of practice in curriculum” and “problem-solving”


31

(0.38) in “perceptions of faculty supervision” with the factor loading value lower than

0.40 were kept in their domains since the content of these items fit the domain even

though the loading values were a little lower than the cut-off point (Table 18) .

Mean, median, and standard deviation were calculated for each domain for an

overall understanding of student perceptions of online and face-to-face learning in

teacher education programs. Generally speaking, participants in the surveys indicated

more positive perceptions of instructor-student and student-student interaction,

practices in the curriculum, learner control, faculty supervision, and effectiveness of

online learning in teacher education programs (Table 19).

Internal Consistency Reliability

Item-total correlations of survey items ranged from 0.72 to 0.75 in the domain of

interaction, 0.69 to 0.74 in the domain of practices, 0.62 to 0.72 in the domain of

learning control, 0.33 to 0.50 in the domain of faculty supervision, and 0.71 to 0.79 in

the domain of perceived effectiveness of online learning (Tables 12-16). As shown in

Table 16, the Cronbach’s alpha coefficient was 0.78 for the domain of interaction

(perceptions of student-instructor and student-student interaction), 0.74 for the domain

of practice (perceptions of practices in teacher education), 0.74 for the domain for

learner control (perceptions of learner control), 0.50 for the domain of supervision

(perceptions of faculty supervision), and 0.79 for the domain of online (perceptions of

the effectiveness of online learning). The item-total corrections of items and Cronbach’s

alphas within domains indicate adequate internal consistency reliability for the online

survey.

Relationship of Domains of Student Perception

Five domains were extracted by using exploratory factor analysis of the survey

items on student perceptions of online and face-to-face learning. A Pearson Correlation

was conducted among the 5 domains of student perception to identify possible


32

relationships among the domains. The results indicated significantly inter-related

relationships among most of the domains. The domain of student perceptions of

practices in curriculum (P-practice) is related to 3 other domains: perceptions of

interaction (p<0.0001), perceptions of learner control (p=0.0001) and perceptions of the

effectiveness of online learning (p<0.0001). Student perceptions of faculty supervision

are also related to their perceptions of interaction (p<0.001) and perceptions of learner

control (p<0.01). Student perceptions of interaction and perceptions of faculty

supervision are significantly correlated (p=0.0002). No significant association exists

between student perceptions of faculty supervision and perceptions of practices in

curriculum (p=0.37) or between perceptions of faculty supervision and perceptions of

leaner control (p=0.42). A diagram can be drawn to illustrate the possible relationships

among domains of student perception (Figure 1).

The online student survey included open-ended questions asking for participants

to list reasons for choosing to enroll in the program, the advantages of the program, the

disadvantages of the program, online courses that should be taught on site or in a

blended format of online and face-to-face learning, and their suggestions for improving

the program. Answers to the open-ended questions were tallied and themes were

generated from the responses.

Advantages of Teacher Education Program at Marin University (MU)

For the reasons given why to choose the program for study, participants

commented on the ability to complete the program more quickly than traditional teacher

education programs (n=57, 34%), the flexible scheduling of courses (n=55, 33%), the

availability of online classes (n=44, 26%), and others’ recommendation of the program

(n=31, 19%). Other less frequently mentioned reasons included nearby locations of the

program, easy enrollment, combined Master’s and teacher certificate program,

comparatively inexpensive cost, desire to become teachers, instructors in the program


33

are experienced and currently working in the field, the program helps with paperwork

for credentials, and the program has better understanding of NCLB requirements. See

Table 20.

In responding to the question about the advantages of MU teacher education

program, the most frequently mentioned advantages included the convenience and

flexibility of the program to fit working adults’ schedules (n=56, 34%), the quick pace of

the program (n=42, 25%), and the availability of courses online (n=42, 25%). See also

Table 21.

Students described different aspects of the advantages of the program’s

convenience and flexibility, such as the flexibility of classes to fit working adults’

schedules and how students are able to complete the program at their own pace:

“Accessibility, technological integration, resources, and schedule


flexibility”

“That I could complete it at my pace either in person or on-line with


night classes available.”

“Convenience and the month long classes”

“The flexibility was the biggest advantage”

In addition to mentioning the general convenience and flexibility of the program,

some participants (n=42, 25%) specified the availability of online classes as the biggest

advantage of the program. They also articulated the advantages of online classes because

of the eliminated need for driving and because of the focused learning time, rigor of

online classes, and genuine teaching experiences in local schools as opposed to role play

teaching in face-to-face classes:

“The ability to take on-line classes and go at my own pace. The fast pace
of the program which allowed me to get my credential sooner. The
convenience of the program.”

“I was able to focus my learning time. When I first enrolled, I had a six-
week old newborn, a 10-year old, and a 12-year old and was a substitute
34

teacher. While my husband supports me in anything I choose to pursue,


I did not feel that I could spend the amount of time necessary to be
onsite. I feel that I was better able to concentrate my energies on
reading, researching, and having meaningful on-line discussions. I was
able to do this while being available to my family.”

“By taking my classes online, to do the projects we had to go into the


local schools and teach our lessons to children. There is a difference in
teaching a lesson to children than teaching it to adults in the program. I
felt better prepared for my student teaching and my future classroom.
Second, the discussions were wonderful. I like to take my time thinking,
and when I am in the classroom I often do not join the discussion
because I am not as fast on the talking part. With the online discussions
I was able to think out my ideas and word them carefully.”

The quality of the program and instructors were also highly identified by some

students (n=33, 21%) as advantages. The praised the well-designed courses, pedagogy

methods, and the experienced and honest instructors:

“Quality classes with good texts and quick pace.”

“COURSES ARE WELL DESIGNED”

“The program in my opinion is top rated because it emphasizes how to


teach using the best pedagogy methods. I know this because I have had
friends which have gone through the more traditional university
systems and everything is a cookie cutter effect for teaching methods.”

“Having experienced and honest instructors at the helm.”

Disadvantages of MU Teacher Education Program

The survey also asked participants about the disadvantages that they perceived in

the program. Compared to the advantages of the program, many fewer disadvantages

were reported. About 10% of the participants (n=19, 11%) responded that they did not

see any disadvantages to the programs. The most frequently reported disadvantages of

the program includ the high cost (n=29, 17%), irresponsive instructors (n=24, 14%),

concerns of quality of classes (n=15, 9%), and the overwhelming workload due to the

speed of the program (n=9, 5%) See also Table 22.


35

Even though some students (n=7, 4%) regarded the comparative inexpensiveness

of the program as the major reason for enrolling in the program, more students (n=29,

17%) complained about the expensiveness of the program:

“It was expensive, especially considering the university wasn't paying


for the cost of a physical site for the class.”

“The prohibitively expensive tuition.”

“I feel the courses…are way too expensive. But I guess it's the price you
pay for 'finishing' quicker.”

Contrary to how some students (n=17, 10%) appreciated the strong and

experienced instructors, other students (n=24, 14%) criticized instructors that were

inadequate, irresponsive, and disorganized:

“I had some instructors who were non-responsive and not engaging.


That was disappointing.”

“When the teacher was not very strong or organized, the online students
suffered.”

“The teaching was inadequate. Some teachers at MU cared and they


graded assignments on time and responded to emails quickly. However
there were quite a few who did not answer emails, who did not grade
papers until the end, and some who emphasized form over content on
required papers.”

Similarly, while some students (n=19, 11%) praised the quality of classes in the

program, other students (n=15, 9%) were not satisfied with their classes. They

complained about the instructions who taught out of their field, repetitive course

contents, inconsistency of the curriculum, and lack of integration of actual classroom

teaching experiences:

“Subjects such as science, math, history were not addressed in terms of


how to teach them to students. The material was very vague and
obviously taught by professors who did not specialize in the subject
matter. The texts were too general as well. I was looking forward to
having a science/math teacher teach the science/math course.”

“I felt a few of the classes were repetitive. We talked about the same
subjects in more than one class.”
36

“Inconsistencies between the classes”

“Lack of integration of actual classroom teaching experience and course


work.”

Some participants (n=12, 7%) were disappointed at the inadequate help they

received from advisors, administrators and staff members in the program:

“The only disappointments which I encounter[ed] during the program


were not really from the teaching program but from a couple of the
support staff. They were not cooperative and at times mean.”

“Advisors were not too helpful. Had multiple problems with grades
posting late and trying to get approval for accelerated study on more
than one occasion. The student concierge services were a greater help
than my advisors, who didn't seem to care much or go out of their way
to help. Was frustrated at lack of advice and help for the price of
tuition!”

“Entire system is a joke. Administrators and support staff are largely of


little or no help. If you find someone who is helpful that is the only
person you should deal with.”

Some students (n=11, 7%) specified the lack of peer interaction and lack of

personal conversation as a disadvantage related to online learning in the program:

“Sometimes I missed the peer interaction of taking a online class.


Getting to know my classmates is half of the fun.”

“I think I did miss the online conversations with fellow students and
teachers.”

“Not able to make verbal contact and not able to see faces. I would have
liked to have had some background on the instructors-profiles so I felt
like I knew more about who they are.”

Students’ Suggestions for Improving MU teacher education program

The survey also asked for students’ suggestions for improving the program. The

most frequent answer (n=22, 13%) was “Nothing needs to be improved,” indicating that

students were very satisfied with the program. Many suggestions were closely related to

the disadvantages students pointed out, such as lowering the cost (n=17, 10%), better
37

administrative support for students (n=17, 10%), and increased instructor

communication with students (n=15, 9%). See Table 23.

Many students (n=22, 13%) were satisfied with the program and did not think it

could be improved. They appreciated the program because it enabled them to

accomplish their career goal and become terrific teachers.

“I was satisfied with the way it was run.”

“I do not have any suggestions to improve… It met my needs. It enabled


me to accomplish my goal.”

“Hard to say. I'm truly grateful and can't think of any necessary
improvements.”

“I think they are doing a wonderful job at understanding what is really


important in helping someone learn how to be a terrific teacher.”

Closely associated with the complaints of the high cost of the program, some

students (n=17, 10%) suggested a lowered cost or loan to help students finally:

“It is a great program. Maybe a student teaching loan or stipend or


something to help through student teaching.”

“Offer students a discount if they are taking 2 classes in one month


rather than paying the full price of the course.”

“The price to go to school just keeps raising, and, frankly, I don't see
that it is necessary. Think about lowering the price.”

Some students (n=17, 10%) requested the program to improve its support and help for

students from the administrators, staff, and advisors. They suggested better

communication between advisors and the academic offices, and a better counseling /

administrative department to help students throughout the program.

“Just by having a better support system at the level of office personnel


and advisors.”

“Better communication between academic advisors, credential advisors,


and the academic offices.”

“Have a better counseling/administration dept. to help students from


the time they register until they complete their coursework.”
38

Based on the complaints of the irresponsive instructors as a disadvantage of the

program, some students (n=17, 10%) suggested recruiting and retaining skilled

instructors for the program. They want instructors who are enthusiastic about teaching

and having experiences in the content areas they teach.

“Hire teachers who WANT to teach. These teachers could emphasize the
subject matter and make the assignments useful to us.”

“Hiring of professors who are comfortable in the content they are


teaching. I have had professors who were teaching because the
university was not able to find something within a specific field.”

“Better teachers with better classes”

Other students (n=15, 9%) suggested instructors in the program should communicate

better with students. Students need instructors that can respond timely to students,

provide feedbacks to student works, and organize and supervise online classes.

“Make sure all the instructors are dedicated to timely responses to their
students and [are] organized.”

“The teachers should have more communication with the students.


Some of the teachers should be better prepared and organized.”

“Some online teachers began the course but did not provide feedback on
completed work. It is important for instructors to check in with online
classes at least once per week. Some instructors were wonderful!”

Students’ Opinions towards Online Learning in Teacher Education

The survey also included questions about the participants’ experience with and opinion

of online and blended classes. One of the questions was, “Which online courses you took

would have been better taught face-to-face on site?” The most mentioned answer was

“none” (n=62, 37%). The opposite response, “all should be taught face to face onsite,”

was also heard, though much less frequently (n=18, 11%). The course of technology in

classroom (n=9, 5%) and methods of teaching (n=7, 4%) were the two most frequently

mentioned course subjects that should be taught on site (see Table 24).
39

Many students (n=62, 37%) were very satisfied with their online learning

experiences. They regarded their online classes as excellent and did not think the online

classes could be better taught on site. The online classes provide students with rich

learning experiences. In addition, they believe onsite classes can be taught as effectively

as online.

“I thought my online courses were excellent, and I don't think any of


them would be better taught on site.”

“All of the classes I took on-line were very well taught by the instructors.
You receive from a class what you expect, so my expectations were high
and I received a very exceptional amount of knowledge from the
instructors.”

“I feel that any of the courses I took could have been taken online or on
site. I did not feel deprived by taking my classes online.”

“Personally I like taking on site classes, however, I think that all of the
courses that I personally took worked fine online.”

Students believe the rigor of online classes can be much greater than classroom

instruction. They specified that online classes work better for learners who are self-

regulated, organized, and highly motivated, whose learning style fits online learning (for

example, able to learn from reading), who have critical thinking skills, and who have had

related experiences to the course content:

“The online courses are as successful as a student makes them. If you


interact with the class online, complete the reading, and work hard on
the assignments, an online class can be just as beneficial, if not more,
than a online class.”

“Frankly the on-line environment is simply BETTER if the students are


organized and motivated.”

“In my opinion, the rigor of the online coursework is much greater than
compared to classroom courses. The online courses seem to require a
greater degree of critical thinking skills and thus more fulfilling to me as
a student.”

“I have a long family history of teachers, current and retired, plus I work
at a school and am very familiar with the teaching profession therefore
doing all my classes online was fine. However if I was not working on a
school campus or [did not] have family that could answer questions or
40

let me use their students in lessons, I would probably not have done
very well and would have wanted to take almost all of my classes face to
face.”

Content was also considered as an important factor when determining the

effectiveness of online classes. Students commented that courses such as health

education and content reading were appropriate for the online environment, which

courses such as assessment, seminar, teaching methods were more appropriate for face-

to-face classroom instruction due to the need for direct guidance and personal

interaction:

“I enjoy online format. The assessment course was taught online and
this was an appropriate class to attend on the site.”

“The seminar was the only class that would not be easy to do at home
without direct guidance.”

“The two courses, a health education and content reading course, taken
on-line were adequately covered…; however, I purposely did not take
any of my teaching methods classes on-line because I felt that those
needed personal interaction.”

Students were asked to explain why they think the courses would be better taught

onsite (see Table 25). The most frequently stated reason (n=40, 24%) is the need for

personal interaction, direct feedback, and instructor modeling:

“These courses are better taught online because they are the foundation
of education. The depth of what is being taught in these courses are
better suited to the traditional classroom. It requires human interaction
and feedback.”

“The discourse is different in person. It was an important aspect of my


education. Also, we were often asked to teach in a 'jigsaw' style. This in-
person practice was vital to my development.”

“It would have been helpful to see teachers model the teaching
strategies being presented. Would also have benefitted from in-class
dialog among students”

“Human interaction is ideal in all learning environments, especially


when the focus is on interacting with children, parents, and
administrators. However, I am thankful the online program was
available to me.”
41

In addition, some students (n=10, 6%) specifically pointed out immediate feedback in

online classes as a reason why the courses should be taught on site. They expressed the

needs for one-on-one instruction, guided examples, and verbal communication:

“One-on-one help, instruction, and guided examples would be great


help. Contacting the teacher was sometimes difficult.”

“Have someone to ask questions to and get immediate feedback rather


than sending it through email.”

“I also like to get feedback right away and to hear verbally others
opinions and thoughts.”

Participants were also asked what courses they thought would be better taught in

a blended format of online and face-to-face learning and why they thought so (see Table

26).

The most frequent answer (n=49, 29%) was that none of the courses should be

taught in a blended format. Students were satisfied with taking the course either online

or on site instead of in a blended format of combining online and face-to-face learning

experiences:

“I can't think of any of my online courses that would have been better in
that format.”

“As I said, I think the online courses I took were excellent, and I did not
and do not think online meetings would have improved them.”

“I prefer one or the other.”

The totally opposite answer that all of the courses should be taught in a blended

format, was also given (n=15, 9%). These students believed they would benefit from

online classes partnered with face-to-face interaction:

“All would benefit from self-regulation, partnered with face-to-face


interaction.”

“All classes could be done this way.”

The most frequently given reasons why students thought courses should be

taught in a blended format were the combined benefits of the convenience of online
42

learning and personal interaction in on site classes (n=16, 10%). Such a blended format

would be particularly effective for students who are visual and auditory learners.

“I think you get the best of both worlds. The convenience of online work
to do with more convenience and the face-to-face interaction with other
students and the professor.”

“I think a hybrid situation where online classes are combined with


some on site meetings would be very effective. For me, I learn better
when I can physically see and hear what is being said around me.
Having to read every interaction is often tedious and I tend to skip over
some important points.”

“The learning is self-motivated with online, and it would be nice to have


in-person discussions with other students every once in a while. I did
feel a bit of a disconnect by having threaded discussions online. A little
human contact would have been nice.”

“It is time efficient; yet combines the benefits of collaboration of


colleagues, etc.”

Results of Analyzing Student Interviews

Eight students who completed the online survey participated in interviews. Five

of them were female, and three were male. Three of them took all their classes online,

one took most of the classes online with a few onsite, three took most of the classes on

site with a few online, and one took only one class online. Seven of them are currently in

the teaching profession, working as full-time teachers or substitutes. Their teaching

areas cover multiple subjects, such as Math, English, Social Studies, and Economics in

middle and high schools.

Five categories were generated to code interview data for students:

1. student perceived differences between program and traditional teacher

education programs

2. student perceived advantages of program

3. student perceived disadvantages of program and suggestions for

improvement
43

4. student reported best practices of the program

5. student perceptions of online learning and integrated field experiences

Different themes were drawn from coding and comparing all students’ responses in the

interviews.

Differences between MU Teacher Education Program

and Traditional Teacher Education Programs

Theme 1: The teacher education program at Marin University (MU) takes less time to

complete than a traditional teacher education program. The courses in MU teacher

education program are on a monthly basis instead of a semester or quarter. The entire

program takes approximately one year or one year and a half to finish.

“I chose [this program] because it was going to be quick.”

“Just for my experience, the uniqueness is the quicker pace, which is


nice. It worked for myself to get my credential and Master’s program
and also working full time. I really liked the fast pace [of the program].”

“The facts that the courses are offered month to month, basically you
take one class a time. It only takes a month go to through a course.”

Theme 2: MU teacher education program offers the option to complete the

program online. Students reported their appreciation of the flexibility, access,

and self-pace of online classes. The program also requires students to take more

personal responsibility, be more self-directed, and direct themselves through the

program with minimum monitoring.

“The first [difference] is the accessibility; since there are internet classes
I can learn at my own pace.”

“[A]nd it was going to be easy for me to do the online classes because I


have 3 kids. I needed to do it at my own pace. If I need to do it 2 o’clock
in the morning, then I can do that “

“The only other program that’s predominantly online is the University


of xxx [other than this program]. The University of xxx has pretty poor
reputations. A lot of people prefer to go flying by a degree. [Marin
university] was somewhere kind of in the middle… When I was looking
at the program, I talked with some administrators of schools and was
44

told… if you are talking about math and science, such areas that are
hard to find [teachers], an online degree works just fine. My experience
[with the online program] was different than what people would expect.
My experience was actually very rigorous, probably more rigorous than
a lot of in-class experiences for what I heard from other students [in the
program] that had predominantly in-class experiences.”

“I think the difference is personal responsibility, that it was up to me to


get things done that’s needed to be done. The other programs expect
you to work. I don’t think they are asking a whole lot. I’ve seen teachers
who take the overwhelming responsibilities of being the lead teacher in
the classroom really not know how to do this. I think there’s a lot to ask
them, to learning to take on that mentally, and at the same time having
to write papers.”

“There is not a lot of monitoring. Like I said, it’s very self-directed. So if


a student is not really very self-directed, they won’t be very successful in
the program. But if a student is very self-directed and has a lot of self-
motivation, I think they’ll be more successful.”

Student Perceived Advantages

Theme 1: Convenience and flexibility of the program. The program gives students

the option to take all classes online. Online classes allow students access to

courses at their chosen time and places and to study at their own pace:

“The advantages of taking an online program are flexibility, being able


to be a self-directed learner, using the Internet which is available
anywhere. If I went out of town or anything, I can still access my course
online and do my discussion board, so I didn’t feel like I was tied down,
I felt like I can still live my life while going to school.”

“It was nice, it was more self-paced. I’m pretty self-disciplined, so I was
able to get a lot in my living room. It was nice… being at home and
studying, so it worked really well for me… I can work during the day and
at night to take classes. I had a lot of late nights for classes. There’re
quite a few nights I stayed up late, till 1 or 2 o’clock to finish the
assignment. It’s a lot of work, but I enjoyed it.”

“So there are benefits [for online classes], especially people who are
around the world. You know, I have students who were based overseas,
across the US. For them, there’s definitely advantage, they benefit from
that.”

Theme 2: Quality of the program due to its practical curriculum and experienced

instructors. Students value the curriculum and assignments in the program,

which are designed for concentrated learning experiences. Instructors in the


45

program have experiences in teaching and stay current in the teaching

profession.

“I still like the curriculum, and the assignments are very valuable. It’s
not just stealing class time, because a lot other classes are spreading out
the semester, you have classes where you meet together, you just
wasting time because there is too much time to address. Maybe one of
the them [topics] will not take you two hours but yet you have to stay in
a class for two hours just because of the time requirement. But in [this
program], it has been concentrated. It really forces you to focus and
concentrate on the assignments and the activities and then you move
on.”

“One of the advantages is that you do get some great instructors who
were not only from that field but still currently in that field, who can
always update you about jobs, about what’s going on. That’s one of the
main benefits.”

Theme 3: The quick pace of the program. Students also mentioned the pace of the

program as a major difference between MU teacher education program and

traditional teacher education programs. The program takes approximately one

year or one year and a half to finish, which is quicker than the two-year

traditional teacher education programs. This theme overlaps with theme one

under the category of “student perceived differences.”

“Like I said, I like that the program is quick, a lot quicker pace. It
worked good for me.”

“I don’t do well in a traditional university setting where you have to go


for a whole semester for one class. That doesn’t suit my learning style.
So I really like the format of the way that the [program] set.”

“I know personally about myself that I don’t like taking expo classes. I
learn better in a shorter time frame.”

Student Perceived Disadvantages

The discussion of disadvantages of the program was centered on the concerns of

taking the program online. Two themes were generated from analyzing the student

interviews:
46

Theme 1: Some online classes lack personal interaction with the instructor and other

students. Students complained about the lack of direct interaction with instructors and

peers, lack of responses in online discussion board, and lack of immediate feedback in

some of their online classes, especially when they had irresponsive instructors. Students

expressed concerns that online students suffered more when they had irresponsive

instructors than onsite students due to no face-to-face meeting with instructors and

peers.

“My biggest complaint about taking the courses online was the lack of
face-to-face interaction with other students, if you want an opportunity
to discuss problems and issues.”

“For the most part that went really well. The other students were very
respectful. Even if you disagree, people were very respectful and very
kind. There were some occasions when I was posting something to the
discussion board that I might not get any response at all. So that was
frustrating just because you want that interaction even though you’re
online. Or you know the instructor would simply say nice job or thanks
for sharing, so there wasn’t really a conversation going on online. For it
to be termed as discussion board and no discussion to happen, that
would be frustrating.”

“You have no one to talk to. No one to bounce ideas. I just think you’re
isolated.”

“The only disadvantages that I found were that I had a few instructors
that didn’t respond in a timely manner, or I would like to receive more
feedback from them, in an online format, I think they get away with
more as far as they don’t give you as much information, and you don’t
have the benefit of having a classroom debate if you disagree with
something as the instructor says. So for that part, I think can be a
disadvantage, if you dread about that kind of learning environment. I
really didn’t feel I needed that.”

Even though there were complaints about irresponsive instructors, there were also

positive comments from students on prompt feedbacks and adequate interaction in

online classes:

“I got really good feedback from the courses I took online. So I really
didn’t have any complaints about the interaction with the instructors.
The instructors were prompt and they answered all the questions I had
in a timely manner.”
47

Because of the lack of direct interaction in online classes, taking the program

online may give students less social networking opportunities and affect students’ later

job searching experiences. Some online students felt it was difficult for them to net work

and request recommendation letters:

“You don’t have as many connections. If you haven’t seen somebody,


how could you write a recommendation? If [the professors] have never
seen you, have no idea of what you look like, the probability of him
writing a recommendation letter for you, I think, is slim. I never asked
anybody I had online for recommendation. And I can’t imagine writing
one for somebody else.”

“The one thing I noticed because I had my last class, the seminar for
student teaching and they force you to do it in person. But I was able to
pick up a couple of things because I felt the difference. The teachers,
when we went to the class, a lot of them knew the students because of
the networking opportunities they had [in classes on site]. That would
be helpful for finding a job.”

Theme 2: The online program could be disadvantageous for some learners. Online

learning requires learners to be self-motivated and self-directed and have intermediate

computer skills. Not all learners are well prepared for online learning. They might

encounter great difficulty with the required time commitment, time management, and

computer skills to succeed in an online program. In addition, technical difficulties may

add on to students’ frustration and confusion during online classes.

“For some people, it [online learning] would be a disadvantage. Say if


people are not self-motivated. It was a lot of work in those classes, may
take up to 4 to 5 hours a day, reading, writing papers… For me, it’s a lot
of work. If someone doesn’t have that much of time, I took it during my
summer break, that worked kinda fine for me. Basically if you’re not
self-motivated or you’re not good with timeline, that wouldn’t be a good
option. There’s a lot of work.”

“People who are not used to a computer would definitely have a hard
time. They would need to take at least 3 or 4 classes to get used to doing
online class.”

“And the other disadvantage would be I didn’t have a good internet


connection when I first began the program, so I would be answering a
discussion board question and my internet session would time out, and
my work couldn’t be saved, and I had to start all over again. That was
48

very very frustrating. I had a final I had to take in one class, it was a
timed final and I had 1 hour to take it, then my internet connection
timed out with 10 minutes left on the timer, and it did not save any of
my information, so I had to take the whole final in 10 minutes. So I got a
B in that class. That’s the only class I got a B in.”

“A lot of… confusion from online students. They didn’t know what was
going on, the server was down so they couldn’t get through.”

Students in the interviews were also asked for suggestions to improve the

program. Many of their suggestions are related to the complaints they had. The

suggested:

(1). to facilitate more real time interaction with the instructors and peers in

online classes. Students reported the lack of personal contact and real-time

interaction in some online classes and suggested the program to make efforts to

increase interaction, communication, and connection in online classes. New

online technologies such as chat rooms and video conferencing tools can facilitate

more real-time interaction in online classes. Instructors also need to supervise

students’ participation in online classes.

“I have noticed that there are more opportunities now in talking to other
people who are taking them, for interaction in various chat rooms, and
requiring conversations with other students online. And I think going
more towards that trend where any way you can facilitate that
interaction with other students can only help them improve their
learning.”

“One of the activities we had to do in the technology class I took, we


actually had to put on a headset for a class discussion on the Internet.
We used Skype or something like that. We also had to use the
whiteboard so we could write and respond to each other and answer
stuff like that. It was very interactive. Even though it’s online we were
able to talk and communicate through that. I thought that was a
valuable online experience. And the forum itself, the discussion I think
is really good.”

“Probably the main thing is making sure that [there is] communication
between instructor and students. For example, we monitor how many
times we post and respond to our discussion board, the instructor would
go on and make sure we have done that.”
49

“The more they [the instructors] could make you feel that connection,
the more helpful it is.”

(2). to establish a system to monitor instructor's teaching performance. Students

perceive instructors with vital importance for their successful online learning

experiences. Students benefit from responsive instructors and suggest MU

teacher education program to establish a system to monitor and ensure

instructors’ performance.

“It’s really not about the classes, but the teachers. For some teachers,
literally you can tell they were reading your materials. They would give
specific comments that would prove that they have read it because they
would refer to what I said or wrote. They would read every post, for
example, for the discussion thread. Other teachers would write what I
call generic, ‘Very well done.’ it’s like, ‘Did you really read it, really?”
They were not so smart as they thought. Some teachers would say, ‘I will
read your posts but you wouldn’t see me there, I would just read it and
give you a grade,’ and I would wonder, ‘Are they really?’ ”

“I think maybe if this isn’t already in place, just there should be some
kind a system that checks on the instructors to make sure that they are
adequately performing their duties. When I had issues with instructors,
I filled out the surveys at the end of every single course I took, and I
would say if I was frustrated with the instructor, or how I felt about it.
And I never heard back from the university. So that was frustrating to
me because if I took the time to tell you that there was a problem, I
would expect some sort a response. Because we were paying so much for
our education and taking it so seriously, I think the instructor should be
monitored to be sure that they are also taking it seriously.”

“You know, to be honest with you, the classes are pretty much
determined on the teacher. Some classes were perfect for me. And other
classes I would have said, ‘Oh, to improve this class, I would have
wanted this aspect of the class to be different.’ ”

(3). to provide better administrative help for students in the program. Students

reported frustration when contacting the university’s service offices. They recommended

the offices to provide more timely response to online students’ request for help and lower

staff turnover rate. They also requested more communication between students and

their academic advisors as well as between students and program leaders.

“And there were some frustrations that I would try to contact somebody
in diversity and not getting phone calls back. And classes start three
50

days later, I’m calling school in panic trying to find out if I can postpone
that class without having to pay for it right then. You know those kinds
of things were frustrating.”

“Sometimes I think the communication between the academic advisor


or the program leader could be improved between students, because I
had very little communication with my admissions advisor. It was very
short and very brief. They would just schedule my class and that was it. I
would appreciate more dialogue, having looked at where I want to go,
maybe making some recommendation or offering some encouraging
insights. And maybe, maybe more contact with the program director. I
felt that I had to really chase up the program director instead of the
program director, you know, emailing me and asking me how the
program is going so far.”

“There seems to be a lot of turnover of people that you’re interfacing


with. If you’re an online student, those are your only interfaces.”

Student Perceived Best Practices of MU Teacher Education Program

Students in the interviews reported to be satisfied with the quality of MU teacher

education program. They appreciated the thorough curriculum, fast pace, and flexibility

of the program. They felt that the program prepared them well for their teaching career:

“I think it did a very good job of preparing me. It was thorough going
over each subject matter, the requirements of the law, the requirements
of different school districts, the examples of what the curriculum
actually looks like, and developing lesson plans, and having your peers
and advisors critique your lesson plans.”

“I think the program prepared me personally very well because I had get
what I invested in the program. I was very serious about the program. It
was something I really wanted to take seriously and take advantage of…
I would do it all over again. I wouldn’t go to another other education
program. I thought it was fantastic. It really fit what I was looking for in
a teacher education program. I was still able to spend time with my
family. I just thought it was exactly what I needed in order to obtain my
goal.”

“There’s a lot of work, but I enjoyed. I enjoyed [the program]. [The


program prepared me] pretty well, as well as it could be… It worked well
for me. I would recommend it to someone that’s coming to me. It’s fast
paced, but nothing [of the content] is sacrificed.”

“Yes, it prepared me well, both content, the standards for my content


area, and the methods for teaching.”
51

Two themes were drawn from students’ comments on the best practices of MU

teacher education program.

Theme 1: The convenience and flexibility of the program allow increased access to

teacher education. MU teacher education program offers the convenience of both online

and on site classes. The scheduling of courses in the program is flexible. Onsite classes

are schedule on evenings and weekends to fit working adults’ schedule. Multiple

campuses of the program are also convenient for students to take onsite classes. Offering

online classes saves students’ driving time and allows each and quick access to course

materials.

“The central location of the office… the fact that they did have other
campuses so if you move you can continue your education, the online
course when you were traveling.”

“When they were on campus, which is 30 minutes from where I live, so I


was able to go on campus. The on campus classes were very easy to
access, the information was clear you could go online to figure out what
classroom and what teacher ahead of time, and which book. So have a
head start on the class. And once you drive to the class, the syllabus was
presented and it functions like a regular classroom, which I like because
it was a good positive atmosphere.”

“Rather than trying to rush to class which would take them about 45
minutes’ drive during rush hour, sit during the class and trying to learn,
and then come back home, I just didn’t thing that would be something I
could do.”

“For the online format itself, it’s very easy to follow, it’s very easy to
access, it’s very quick. There’s not a lot of picture and graphics that take
up the space. It’s very concise.”

The one-month course format gives students flexibility to take a break between

classes and opportunities to concentrate their time and efforts on one course at a time.

Students appreciate the compact learning experiences. This one-month course format

also allows student to complete the program faster than traditional teacher education

programs.

“I couldn’t have done a traditional day program in which the work load
would spread out over a period of time. So that wouldn’t work for me
52

either. This worked for me. The classes were flexible. I could take a
month off if I wanted to, because it was a one month 4-week course…
the flexibility of online and on site.”

“I like the fact that you could get through the program one class a
month, which makes it more concentrated.”

“The one-month format forces the students to be self-reliant. They make


the students think, ‘Look, we can only help you so much, you as a
student need to make the general effort to succeed.’ That makes them
very self-sufficient and that produces good teachers.”

Theme 2: Maintaining high quality of the program through recruiting experienced and

responsive instructors and having a practical curriculum (also see Theme 2 “Quality of

the program due to its practical curriculum and experienced instructors” under “Student

Perceived Advantages”). Students agreed that their learning experience in MU teacher

education program depended largely on the instructors they had in classes. Students

benefit from instructors who have extensive experiences in K-12 classrooms and are

responsive to students’ questions.

“I got really good feedback from the courses I took online. So I really
didn’t have any complaints about the interaction with the instructors.
The instructors were prompt and they answered all the questions I had
in a timely manner.”

“Every single one of the teachers that I [had] in class were extremely
experienced, they were very attached to teaching, they really were
enthusiastic about it, they review their stuff back and forth. If I didn’t
have them there to emphasize certain points, I would be ill-prepared.”

“Many of my professors were very down-to-earth. They depicted what it


would be like for teachers to be at work.”

Student Perceptions of Online Learning and Integrated Field Experiences

Students in the interviews anticipated that online learning in teacher education

would sustain and increase, and online learning would increase accessibility to teacher

education programs:

“[Online learning] is a wonderful thing to do. I think it allows a lot more


people to entertain the idea of becoming a teacher. For me with 3 kids, it
53

was just not possible for me to go to a school site and be gone for 3 or 4
hours a couple of nights a week to take classes. So I think it would open
the door for a lot more people to be able to become teachers.”

“I looked at a couple of programs, their project pipeline, and inter


program. I looked at that, but I knew that probably it wouldn’t be
appropriate if I had a child.”

Students recognized the benefit of online learning in providing opportunities for teacher

candidates to learn technology in addition to course content:

“We were learning technology as well because a lot of the parts integrate
technology. So I think that’s a big advantage, being able to use that
technology on a regular basis because the classes are online, so you
would be learning technology.”

Three themes were drawn from students’ perceptions of online learning. Two of

the themes, “the effectiveness of online learning depends on the learners’ learning style

and computer skills” and “personal interaction in online learning needs to be

emphasized in online learning,” overlap with the advantages and disadvantages of MU

teacher education program. More of the students’ statements regarding these two

themes can be found in the sections “Advantages of MU Teacher Education Program”

and “Disadvantages of Online Learning in MU Teacher Education Program.”

Theme 1: Online learning in teacher education can be as effective as or more effective

than face-to-face learning. Students believe that taking online classes is more challenging

than onsite classes due to the accountability on students for reading class materials and

thinking through response for online discussion. Online students cannot easily get by

with reading class materials from relying on instructor’s lectures and in-class

discussions. In addition, students think through the topics more when they have to

respond to discussions in writing than speaking in a face-to-face classroom. Responses

in writing also urge students to research more on the topics for discussion.

“I honestly think that online might even be more challenging than


having face-to-face class format, because it forces you to do the reading.
You can’t rely on the benefit of lecture. I am not an auditory learner
anyway, so I am the type of person that would probably do majority of
54

the readings anyway, but after going to college for so many years, I’ve
seen how many students would get by because they would show up for
lectures. I think that you have even more responsibility in an online
class because you are solely responsible for how much you get out of a
class.”

“In normal classes, meaning face-to-face with a teacher, you don’t have
to read just because, you know, the discussions [will make it up]. You
really can get through the class without having to read as much. But in
an online class, it forces you to read, because of the discussion that you
have, and all of the citations that you need to have. It’s very important
that you have your reading done, otherwise, you fall behind the class… it
keeps me accountable for reading and for thinking to do my responses. I
find that sometimes when you have to write out your responses, you get
to think through things a little bit better. And when you have a written
response, it’s reflective over a period of the time writing so what you
were seeing is more thought through than if you were just having a
discussion and to respond out aloud in a class where you were just
thinking out on the fly, you really can’t process the information before
you really have an answer.”

“Because your interaction is in writing, when I put something in writing,


I have to think about it more. When I respond to another student’s
comments, I think about it, and maybe do a little bit research and find
the references so my responses were more thoughtful.”

Theme 2: The effectiveness of online learning depends on students’ learning styles and

computer skills. Some students felt they would learn well regardless of the course

delivery format. Some commented that online learning worked better for them since they

were self-regulated and text-oriented learners. Others emphasized the importance of

non-verbal communication in face-to-face classrooms for learning. Self-motivated and

self-directed learners who can learn from reading find online learning to be more

effective. On the other hand, less self-motivated and self-directed students may not be

able to succeed in an online learning environment or may need more time and efforts to

adjust to online learning.

“I don’t think [the delivery format influences learning] because I am


really motivated… I had quite a few teaching experiences… I would learn
in online or on ground classes.”

“I think the difference varies from person to person, but for me, I’m a
self-learner, so I’ll learn no matter what. If you give me a book, I’ll
55

dedicate the time and learn it. For me, I think online learning takes
place better.”

“It absolutely does [influence learning] because part of the


communication is information delivery. Sometimes when somebody
gives a speech, it’s the nonverbal, the non-words that are part of the
message. When you’re online, all you get to see is the words.
Communication is a lot more than that. If it’s only words, we would
have a bunch of kids sitting in front of a computer screen. It’s not just
the words.”

“I think it really depends on the type of learner that you are. I’m one
that I can read information, I can go out and apply it right away. For
people who need to see that face-to-face example, how you might use
the tools, or just have a hard time getting information, I see where that
might be a problem. But for me, I’m the type of learner that I am, I just
thought it was wonderful.”

“For some people, it [online learning] would be a disadvantage, say if


people are not self-motivated, it was a lot of work in those classes…
Basically if you’re not self-motivated or you’re not good with timeline,
that wouldn’t be a good option. There’s a lot of work.”

“[P]eople who are not used to a computer would definitely have a hard
time, they would need to take at least 3 or 4 classes to get used to doing
online class”

Theme 3: The effectiveness of online learning is also determined by the content of

courses. Some course content seems to be more suitable for online learning than others.

Contents that are based on facts and student self learning were regarded to be more

suitable for online learning than courses that required a lot of interaction, problem-

solving and applications.

“Some of the courses were simply content matter, not really a lot of
problem-solving, not really a lot of applications, were practically
adequate online. The health education class was perfectly adequate
online. But I don’t know if I could take the assessment class online. You
needed that interaction.”

“I would say [the course delivery format] definitely [influence learning]


in education. I took two courses online, that was basically self-paced self
learning. I had to read out of a book, I had to learn by searching. That
was not the way for me. I need to have the teacher. That would have to
be in a classroom, who could bring in things to show the class, give their
experiences one-to-one which is hard to do online. The technology class
I took was fine online because it was mainly my self learning, but for
56

other classes, I can’t see how it could be the same. It really would
depend on the class I guess.”

In addition, personal interaction between student and instructor and between

students needs to be emphasized in online learning (see Theme 1, “Online classes lack of

direct interaction with the instructor and other students” under “Student Perceived

Disadvantages,” and Theme 1 “To facilitate more real time student-instructor, student-

student interaction in online classes” for “Student Suggestions for Improvement”).

In MU teacher education program, field experiences are integrated in all courses

for the program, regardless of online or on site. Students are also required to complete

an 18-week long student teaching in local schools. Students in the interviews commented

on the effectiveness of the integrated field experiences:

(1). Integrated field experiences are necessary and effective. Students confirmed the

importance and effectiveness of the integrated field experiences in MU teacher education

programs. The integrated field experiences provide students with adequate opportunities

to have first-hand onsite learning experiences within K-12 classrooms and to bridge

theories and practices. Such experiences are especially helpful for online students and

students who do not have opportunities to spend a lot of time in classrooms. Students

benefit from field activities in real classrooms.

“I think they [the integrated field experiences] are truly effective. You
were inside a classroom. I’d never had an instructor that I visited that
were not willing to talk whenever they had a chance, to explain what
they were doing, what type of methodology were using… They were very
very effective in a place that they have students of learning, basically
what it is that you need to focus on. I feel being in that environment was
very strong and was a very good idea to have students do that.”

“I think it’s especially helpful for people who have not spent a lot of time
in the classroom … if you weren’t in a classroom, it gave you the
opportunities to force you into the classroom to make sure that’s where
you wanted to be… maybe even more so for an online courses because
you don’t have the interaction with other students.”

“A lot of the lesson planning, after these we had to do a lot of semantic


units, where a lot of research we were looking across the board, talking
57

with professors, working with groups, and presenting at the end. Some
big type of semantic unit, so you really have to grasp it before teaching
different groups of children. That was very useful … they were extremely
beneficial. There was no way around it. You need to be in a classroom,
to put so many hours, to be in a classroom volunteering, that’s an
absolute.”

“Every course forces you to go into some forms of classrooms, and then
write an essay or video tape your experiences. And it was more
beneficial with more time in a classroom in front of real students.”

(2). The integrated field experiences need to be supported by student teaching. Student

teaching gives students opportunities to fully apply what they have learned from all

courses. The field experience assignments integrated in the courses are fragmented and

need to be supported by sufficient student teaching experiences. The extended time in

classroom from student teaching allows teacher candidates to establish rapport with

their students, carry out lesson plans, and exercise classroom management strategies.

Students also acknowledged the importance of mentor teachers in determining

successful field and student teaching experiences.

“The assignments [the program] gave you to respond to while you were
observing in a class, those were good. It really depends on the teacher.
Sometimes the teacher wants you to participate very little on a class and
you don’t learn as much, don’t get much experience. Another teacher
you get more experience. I think the assignments were fair but it really
comes down to the teacher, to determine how much experience you get.”

“Regardless if you work in online classes, regardless of what you do in


your field experiences, you still have to do student teaching, that’s
where you really get the opportunities to apply everything. When you
just walk into a classroom for a short time period, you either observe or
you deliver a lesson, and you don’t have any rapport with students. So I
don’t think that is a really good picture of what it might be like for you
as a teacher, whereas the student teaching acts like that you build a
rapport with the students, you are building lesson plans on a daily basis,
you are taking care of disciplines. You finally get the opportunity to put
on classroom management and other tools to use, so I think that was
much more beneficial than the field experiences.”

(3). Many challenges for integrating field experiences exist, such as the short time frame

due to the one-month course format, difficulty in finding mentor teachers, lack of

mentoring support.
58

“It was challenging. A lot of teachers … you get shut down a lot. It’s a
month course. You don’t know what you need to do until the course starts.
Sometimes in two weeks, the teachers don’t respond. Sometimes they
don’t want to let you in their classroom. It’s very difficult sometimes to
find a place.”

“There were hard for me to accomplish because I was working full time,
had 3 kids, and had a really hard time getting time off work to go
accomplish those…when you were not in that industry and you had to
start making phone calls to see where can you go to get this kind of
thing done… You found out what’s required of you the first night of class
and you got 4 weeks to get that done. And it was specific to what you
were supposed to observe or teach. Sometimes there’s not a good
amount of time where you feel like you’ve done a good job with it.”

“It really depends on the classroom. It really depends on the classroom


that you were taking. If you’re going into a setting, let’s say, different
classroom. If you need to go into a classroom, you need to learn how to
teach children with disabilities or children who are second language
learners, you are going to need some hands-on… you need to be with a
professor, you need to be with someone who really is a teacher, even
after a while you could do it [by yourself].”

Students in the interviews suggested MU teacher education program to better

organize and facilitate field experiences and student teaching. Better orientation of the

requirements for field experiences, better facilitation with placements, and more

supervision were suggested. Students would like to have more information of the

requirements in advance, more time to plan and prepare for field activities, and more

help from the program to locate appropriate classrooms and teachers. More dialogue

between the mentor classroom teachers and course instructors was needed for

instructors to better understand student performance during field experiences.

“Field activities, it was a little bit [hard to find classrooms] just because
when you were not in that industry and you had to start making phone
calls to see where can you go to get this kind of thing done. You found
out what’s required of you the first night of class and you got 4 weeks to
get that done. And it was specific to what you were supposed to observe
or teach. Sometimes there’s not a good amount of time where you feel
like you’ve done a good job with it. It would be better to have the field
experiences be like a separate class that you are told at about the
beginning of your program and you have a certain amount of time in
which to get those activities done, so you can plan better around while
other teachers are teaching. Because what if it didn’t coincide or like …I
59

think one time I had to do a field activity while the kids were on summer
vacation. So planning those courses so that… that time I had to teach to
some of the kids in my neighborhood, because I couldn’t go and do it in
a school site, because schools weren’t in session at that time”

“I think maybe there could be more dialogues between the teacher that
you are observing and your instructor. I think that’s something, that
maybe the teacher may be encouraged to discuss the student progress
with the professor themselves. I think that would be valuable because
then the professor can get feedback on [how] the student is performing
and the experience that they are having, and get a different point of view
than just the point of view of the student, kinda reflecting on their own
experience.”

“If there were some way for [the program] to facilitate getting into the
classrooms for those experiences, or give you a, you know, they know
about it, I don’t know what classrooms would work, they could have told
me in advance that you need to go into the classrooms and working with
learning disabled children, interviewing teachers for certain projects, so
I could start dealing with it two or three months ahead, then I would
always search for ways to be able to do that.”

Students also recommended better facilitation and organization of student teaching,

such as informing students of the student teaching requirements early in the program

and providing adequate administrative support:

“I think they need to tell the students as they go through classes and
they go in to do observation, they should be thinking, ‘Is this somebody
I want to work with, is there potential for student teaching with?’ …It’s
important for me as a music teacher to see a solid program. And they
didn’t work into it to find you a good program, a good placement, they
just put me anywhere. I wanted a good example. They called me up a
week before school started then yelled at me because I wanted music,
and they said, ‘I don’t know anything about it, dahadahdah,’ then I said
I’ll put it up. I’m older, remember, [laughing] so I have some
connections. If you don’t connections, you can’t do what I did. You know
in the undergraduate program I worked with, they arrange student
teaching positions in the spring before for fall. They were interviewed,
they were discussed and connected. The student teacher, they met with
advisor, and that would all done before September… they knew what
they were doing.”

“When I was going into student teaching orientation where they would
give you the assignments, three of the four people were new to their
assignments in the last month, and they were very chaotic, they could
help me much and I had to find my own. So I thought, I paid a lot of
money and you said don’t do it, wait till the end of August then there
will be a school available… I thought it was very disorganized, because
60

for whatever reason, the people at the office turned a lot… and made it
difficult for students.”

Results of Analyzing Faculty Interviews

Six faculty members from the teacher education program at Marin University

(MU), including one program director, one co-chair, and four key faculty members, were

interviewed. The faculty members teach courses in different areas, including foundation

of education, educational psychology, classroom management, reading, math, and

student teaching. All of them are responsible for not only teaching courses but also

developing curriculum for the program.

Using the constant comparative method (Glaser, 1965), faculty interviews were

coded and compared among five categories of faculty perceptions of:

1. difference between MU teacher education program and traditional

residential programs

2. advantages of MU teacher education program

3. disadvantages of MU teacher education program

4. best practices of the MU teacher education program

5. implication of online technologies in teacher education

Differences Between the MU Teacher Education Program

and Traditional Teacher Education Programs

MU teacher education program is a post-baccalaureate teacher certification

program. Students in the program have already obtained their baccalaureate degree in a

content area. They enter the program for teacher licensure.

“They call it post-baccalaureate. These people and our candidates have


their baccalaureate degree in a content, then they come in and they get
[licensure]. This program is just about credentialing. In Indiana,
Wisconsin, and some other states, you have what we call a blending
program. It’s a blending of baccalaureate study with credential
program.” (Dr. D., Director)
61

The program has an open enrollment policy. Students can enter the program at any time

and enroll in courses at the beginning of any month during the year. Faculty members

reported great convenience and accessibility of the program:

“This university is very proud of the fact that we have unlimited, open
enrollment, and you can have access to the courses any beginning
month of the year… You can enter the program at any point any month.
Every month we offer the courses. They can be online or on ground.
They can student teach or they can do an alternative route.” (Dr. D., Co-
Chair)

MU teacher education program has 18-week long student teaching without cohorts. The

university collaborates with students’ local schools and allows students to do student

teaching in their local schools.

“The only other difference would be … The cohort is the situation that
one faculty member would be with the same group of students for a
year. That would include their two methods courses and student
teaching experience. Where at National, a) the students aren’t in
cohorts, and b) I teach two methods courses and then I usually find
students … I try to teach methods courses on ground rather than online.
In that way I work with students that are in the north county who I
taught in the methods courses. And then I’ll identify someone that I’ll go
on as a student teacher … I got to work with two [student teachers] as
opposed to 8 [in a T-TEP].” (Dr. C., Faculty)

Faculty members reported differences between MU teacher education program and

traditional teacher education programs as the following:

(1). The program is quicker to complete than traditional teacher education programs.

Faculty members regard the quick turnaround of MU teacher education program as the

biggest difference.

“The biggest difference is the quick turn around. I mean we have a


month-to-month kind of course program.” (Dr. D., Co-Chair)

“Our program is basically a one-year program.” (Dr. C., Faculty)

“It takes a little bit longer in a traditional institution to get their


credential. The way it is scheduled, it’s very difficult to be a working
adult at a traditional university to complete the field experiences and
such that you are required to.” (Dr. H., Faculty)
62

(2). Students have the option to complete the program online, on site, or mixing online

and onsite classes. Faculty members considered this option as the uniqueness of MU

teacher education program. The entire program except student teaching is available

online. The program gives students choices to select the format for them to complete the

program. Currently more students choose to take the program online than on site.

“It’s entirely up to the candidates to choose. There’re no requirements


for taking any online classes. There’re no requirements for any onsite
classes either. The entire program except student teaching [is] available
online. What’s happened in the last 5 years is that it’s gone from just a
few percentage of the candidates taking the majority of the program
online to up more than half, over 50%.” (Dr. R., Director)

“We have an online program that you can get your teaching credential
completely online, which exclude of course your student teaching and
your field experiences. Or you can get it completely on site where you
take the course on ground. Or you can mix and match, on ground or
online.” (Dr. D., Co-Chair)

“Now 52% [of students] are doing their program online. And 48%
percent are doing on ground … [online is] becoming the most popular to
go.” (Dr. D., Co-Chair)

(3). The program has a more mature student population than traditional teacher

education programs. Students in MU teacher education program are more likely to be

working adults in their 30s who seek for a career change. They are more mature, more

focused on their learning goals, and more concerned about the quality of the program

and their learning experiences.

“In fact if you ask about the profile of our candidates, the people that got
their undergraduate degree, they got out and worked, got married and
have a couple of kids, and then they said, you know, maybe this job,
whatever they’re doing, isn’t that fulfilling and what I really like to do,
and I’m 25, 30, 35 years old, maybe what I like is to go back get a
credential and be a teacher for the rest of my career. That’s our profile of
[our candidates]. The other part of our candidates was, like I said, got
their degree, got out, maybe they worked, maybe they traveled, then
they came back and got a temporary permit to teach. They are like in
their late 20s and early 30s and they’re teaching anyway. Now the state,
under NCLB, say you go to have your credential, so they come back and
get their credential.” (Dr. R., Director)
63

“Our students are older. They are really concerned about the quality of
the instruction and the quality of the work that they turn in. It’s a very
very pleasant experience. Except that sometimes they are so intense
upon getting the best grade that they forget that really the whole
purpose of courses is to learn. Grades are very important for our
students.” (Dr. D., Co-Chair)

“They are more mature. Most of them have been successful in other
careers. They know how to study. They know what they want. And [this
program allows them to move through quickly]. They don’t have to go to
classes during the day. They are not 18 year old college kids.” (Dr. C.,
Faculty)

(4) Field experiences are integrated in all courses for the program. Each course in the

program has four anchor activities that are tied to the state standards for teaching

profession. All anchor activities have embedded field experiences. Therefore, students

have approximately four field experiences activities in every course. The integrated field

experiences may include conducting classroom observation, interviewing teachers,

teaching mini lessons and interacting with students. Traditional teacher education

programs usually have students doing field experiences all at once during a course of a

semester or a quarter.

“Each of our courses has 4 anchor activities. They are tied to the CA
Standards for the teaching profession. All those anchor activities have
embedded in them some sorts of field experiences. So whether they’re
taking a course that’s foundation course, history or educational
psychology whatever, or methods courses they don’t’ have field
experiences built into the course. For example, I teach a middle and
secondary curriculum right now, the course focuses on the CA
curriculum standard. I’ve helped them to develop unit plan ideas and
lesson plans so forth. One of the things they have to do is they have to go
in and observe the kids, determine how they would differentiate the
instruction, based upon the top third, the middle third and the bottom
third, and two special needs people, one could be ELD, English
Language Development student, and they have to teach a lesson to those
people. That’s just one example of the field experiences.” (Dr. D., Co-
Chair)

“And instead of having student actually doing that [field experiences] all
at once say during a course of a semester, because of the nature of our
courses that are designed for working adults, we have more or less
divided those hours among different courses. So students have
approximately 4 hours of field experiences per course within their
credential program. And those field experiences involve going to local
64

school, conducing classroom observation, interviewing teachers,


principals, other school staff, resource people, and also in some cases,
teaching mini lessons and otherwise doing something that’s interactive
with students.” (Dr. H., Faculty)

Faculty Perceived Advantages of MU Teacher Education Program

Theme 1: Convenience and accessibility of online courses for students, where students

have access to the courses, libraries, and all resources online. Students in MU teacher

education program are able to access courses and library resources online. Due to

enrolment numbers, not all classes are offered on all campuses of MU every month. The

availability of online courses gives students more choices of courses. Students do not

have to wait for a certain course to be offered on campus. Thus student access to the

program is greatly increased. Online classes have become more popular with students

than onsite classes. 60% of all university courses are now taught online.

“I think that to be able to access the courses, the library, all the
resources of the library is a big plus. Like for this class and all the
classes I teach, I have a reserved list at the library. They don’t have to go
to the library to get my… You and I have experienced… It’s there for
them. They just have to click on my class, the titles are the journal
articles that you’re supposed to read, they can click on it and there’s the
article. So the library is another big plus for our online students. Of
course, onsite students can do the same.” (Dr. M., Faculty)

“[The course] can’t be taught every month on site because there’s not
that many students [on site]. If you’re a candidate, rather than wait till
it’s taught onsite. You may just say that course is taught, if there’s 6
sections, there’s 5 sections that course is taught every month online. So
you end up taking it online. Just out of convenience. Again that’s the
advantage of online because we can offer, in this case, the entire
program online every month, and as well as, the specializations, if a
candidate wants to go on to the Master’s degree and get a specialization,
the specializations could never be offered in every center, but we can
offer them online… It’s all about access. Why should you because you
lived in wherever not having the access to the entire idea of that
catalogue, now you can. All you have to do is to log in online.” (Dr. R.,
Director)

“More and more people enjoy technology. We’re offering this and in
fact, 60% of all university courses are taught online. Only 40% are on
site. So I think that’s an indication that students do like those. So I think
that this is a big advantage. Although our students have a lot of perks, I
think that the online access to the library, and how they have ebooks,
65

electronic books online, I think that’s a big plus. They have access to all
of this [reading list]… we give more Master’s degrees to students of
minorities than any other university in CA. I think that’s true as a
credential program, too, we saw this. We’re very aware there’re different
cultures that are living in CA, so we address their differences.” (Dr. M.,
Faculty)

Theme 2: Quick pace and concentrated learning experiences of the program. Teaching

and learning are very focused due to the quick courses and program. The one-month

courses meet students’ needs for efficiency. In addition, since both instructors and

students do not take multiple classes at the same time, they are able to focus and fully

engage in the teaching and learning experiences. Students’ and instructors’ full

involvement in the one-month courses foster close intellectual and emotional

relationship between them.

“A lot of the students who chose to take the accelerated program and on
line, a lot of them are in the situation to get the work done and to get it
done efficiently because they are older adults, they are extremely
motivated and they know what they want out of it.” (Dr. H., Faculty).

“The other thing is that they only focus on 1 course, 1 course for 1
month. Instead of taking 4 courses [spread out for a semester], they take
1 course for that 1 whole month. That month we get their full attention.
You can really get a lot done. I am amazed at the end of each month I
can accomplish more in 1 class than I could… Online or on ground they
have to have 9 hours a week. That’s a lot of time. There’s a lot of
involvement going on rather than seeing them for 1 hour and a half on
Tuesday and an hour and a half on Thursday.” (Dr. M., Faculty)

“You end up with the students for one month. You’re totally focused on
curriculum development. As a result, it’s an intensive experience and
you really get closer emotionally, and also closer intellectually to the
students. In terms of learning, they are not thinking about OK I’m also
taking a course on the history of Kenya, if I’m a history teacher, or
taking a higher level biology course and taking a language class and
taking an art class and I got this how to design curriculum course. They
have to design curriculum. So they are focused on you and you’re
focused on them.” (Dr. C., Faculty)

Theme 3: Flexibility for faculty schedule. Both online and onsite classes are flexible for

faculty to arrange their schedule. Faculty members’ teaching load at MU teacher

education is 8 courses for 12 months. During the months that faculty members do not
66

teach, they may focus on research and/or other academic and personal activities. In

addition, faculty members are able to arrange their own time when teaching online.

Teaching online has become popular with faculty members in MU teacher education

program, where it is difficult for new faculty and adjunct faculty to get opportunities to

teach online.

“Out of 12 months, we have 8 courses. If you think about that, student


teaching is one course, so I started off I taught, it’s rare, but you can
sometimes do it, in the month of July I taught 2 courses. That’s all I did.
I didn’t do anything else. I just taught that 2 courses. In August, I taught
a curriculum course. In September I taught an instruction course. Those
are the same students that I had in August and September. Then I had 2
student teachers that started in September so that’s another course. So
by the time when it got to December I had accomplished 5 of my 8
courses. Most faculty actually have other duties which will get them a
course off. So most faculty they have 7 courses. So I’ll pick up a course in
May and a course in June. I get January, February, March and April if I
want to take an academic leave, or if I want to clear one month to work
on my scholarship. I have that freedom… We have incredible flexibility.”
(Dr. C., Faculty)

“Teaching online is so popular that it’s very difficult for a new faculty,
adjunct faculty person to get into the rotation. Everybody wants to teach
online because they can teach the class in their pajamas.” (Dr. D, co-
chair)

Faculty Perceived Disadvantages

Teaching MU teacher education courses may be overwhelming due to the quick

pace of courses and the program. Onsite classes in MU teacher education program

usually last for 4.5 hours on evenings or weekends. Online courses require faculty

members to be available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Students in the courses

demand high-quality courses for their investment. Faculty teaching duties are usually

very intensive regardless of teaching online or onsite classes.

“Staying till 10 o’clock at night and having all these other administrative
duties during the day, there’s no time for grading. It’s really tough.
There’s the torn side of online. You’re 24-7.” (Dr. M., Faculty)

“When you have to teach that long [4.5 hours for the onsite course], you
have to be trained here on how to divide that up so you keep the
students involved. A lot of group activities. We use technology, we use
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video. There is lecture but it’s just a very small portion for the evening.”
(Dr. M., Faculty)

“I think it’s very intensive teaching experience. Weekends you have to


post, listen to them, questioning them. They are very demanding
students. They put a lot of money for that course, they want a high
quality course. It’s very very demanding. If you teach 2 months in a role,
you finish one course on Sunday and you start the next course on
Monday.” (Dr. C., Faculty)

Faculty members reported that teaching online was challenging; for example, it is

time consuming to prepare and have all materials ready for online classes in advance,

instructors cannot have personal interaction and eye contacts with students, some

contents are difficult to teach online, and the instructor needed to be available to

students 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Online teaching can be more self-paced but the

up-front preparation is stressful. The nature of teacher education presents challenges for

online environments; for example, it is challenging to evaluate distance students’

dispositions and to demonstrate some course contents such as love for reading. In

addition, faculty members mentioned that it was challenging to satisfy students’ different

learning styles and to communicate immediately with students in the online

environment. They also reported their frustration when students did not read the

announcements and syllabus or did not read them carefully then later had problems with

assignments.

“Now I’ve developed a course in the Master’s program that has


assessment in it, it’s very difficult to teach these online… The tests we
give to children. So what I’m doing right now is to make a video tape
with one of my former students, and a child, demonstrating how to
administer this test. That’s only when we have to show materials and
discuss them. It’s very difficult.” (Dr. M., Faculty)

“When I teach onsite, I have different kinds of preparation that I do,


but I can spread out a little bit more [than online classes]. I don’t have
quite the intensity of being in a class and interacting with students for
hours of time. I can walk away, I can choose which student to respond
to. All of course I respond to immediately on personal questions. But the
disadvantage for teaching online is that, although I can schedule my
time, I have to work 7 days a week… So basically I have to expect that
I’m going to be teaching for a certain amount of time every single day.
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When I am teaching on site, I will be able to go without grading papers


or lesson plans or whatever.” (Dr. H., Faculty)

“There’s pluses and minuses [for teaching online] … We do not have


these personal contacts with our online students, it’s not like being there
and have the eye contacts.” (Dr. M., Faculty)

“If you teach online, you have to ensure that students need to have
access to you 24x7. If you get up at 6am in the morning, there might be
students that have questions for you. If you teach online you have to be
online a lot. It’s very stressing.” (Dr. C., Faculty)

“It’s definitely very time consuming, online. It’s 24x7. On weekends,


they still expect for you to get up early and check email and answer
anything. If you go anywhere to a conference or something, the
computer comes with you.” (Dr. M., Faculty)

“One of the situations that we have to look at in this program is


dispositions. Do the candidates have the right attitude to be a teacher?
Do they have the sorts of dispositions as far as being a teacher? So what
I’m working on, and it may resonate into our field experiences, is in an
online environment, how do you structure tasks regarding dispositions
about teaching, you know, in an online environment. And that’s a cruel
challenge, because other more petite programs, small teacher education
programs, they have 60 students or something 75 students in the entire
program, they have interviews, they tape themselves teaching, they do
self-reflective journal entries and that sort of things, and it provides
good bases of information on which you can base for assessments on
dispositions. Our online environment is a bit different. And there again
in ten years we may not have this conversation because in 10 years we’ll
have little digital video recordings stuff, they could digitize and record
themselves and provide this sort of information. People all video taping
and … But in our program, a largely online program, what sorts of
things, what sorts of activities, what sorts of performances can
candidates carry out is going to demonstrate their dispositions.” (Dr. R.,
Director)

“Another thing that’s very difficult although you can do it in some way is
to demonstrate your love for reading when you’re teaching online.
Because you hope that’s rubbing off on your students.” (Dr. M., Faculty)

“I find as an instructor, it’s very challenging because often times,


students do not read my announcement, they don’t read the syllabus
carefully, so they end up perhaps having difficulty with some of the
assignments or whatever, because they do not read what they were
supposed to read or they didn’t read it carefully. If there are any
questions you handle them immediately, while sometimes in an online
class as much as you try to communicate with everyone as a whole,
sometimes those communications aren’t quiet as effective.” (Dr. H.,
Faculty)
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Faculty members consider current online courses as heavily text-based. Some

instructors have started using more interactive online technologies such as the chat room

to enhance synchronous interaction with students. Instructors believe that with the

advance of online technologies, their interaction with online students can become more

personal.

“I did do the online chat. I like chat. Last month, it’s the first time I’ve
ever done that, add chat to online, which made me closer to the
students. And I do an information sheet so I know where they’re living
because they are all over. So there’s a lot of things that we do to make it
more personable. Phone calls. I just got a call. There’s a girl whose
house got fire and all that. All of her family lived in Vermont. We have
these personal contacts with our online students, but it’s not like being
there and have the eye contacts … You don’t meet with the students
online one-on-one. You don’t have that personal contact.” (Dr. M.,
Faculty)

“You can’t really get away from the fact that online learning is still very
text-based, and requires a lot of reading and writing.” (Dr. H., Faculty)

Faculty members who serve administrative roles commented on the enormous

challenges for the program to implement new state standards on evaluating teacher

candidate performance. The new standards require teacher candidates’ performances to

be scored by certified state scorers. Due to the distance, it is challenging to operate

performance assessment for the large number of online students in MU teacher

education program.

“I think our biggest challenge is implementation of a brand-new


assessment, assessment program required by the state of CA. It’s called
teacher performance assessment. Each of our candidates will have to
complete 4 assessments that are created by the state of CA and must be
scored by a certificated state scorer and pass prior to a candidate’s
ability to recommend for credential. So that’s enormous, that’s 16,000
assessments for us to administer. That begins July 1, 2008.” (Dr. D., Co-
Chair)

“It’s … of institutional directions, state standards, all these things, the


motion of collaboration between university and schools, all linked into
the field experiences … now it’s the state implementing this teaching
performance assessment, it’s going to drilling down our program, how
we administer our field experiences.” (Dr. R., Director)
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During the interviews, one faculty member emphasized the challenges

for the program to administrate and supervise field experiences for online

students. Currently there is minimum facilitation and supervision of students’

field experiences in online classes. With the amount of students in the program

(- over 1000 students for teacher credentials each year) and the amount of field

activities required for all courses (- 4 for each course), it is very challenging for

instructors to oversee all students’ field experiences placement and

performance.

“The big things that threaten our program is that you don’t know that
the candidates [students] are going out doing these [field experiences]
activities, entering the classrooms that they should be encountering, so
and so experiences they should have to fulfill their field experience
requirements while they are in the program… we have nominally a field
experience coordinator. That field experience coordinator devotes
99.9% of their time in terms of student teaching placements … It’s a
challenge. You have to remember all the other classes that precede
student teaching: the foundations classes, the methods classes, the field
experience coordinator has overset over the field experiences of
students, in reality, there’s no administration. There’s no oversight …
out candidate population will eventually be the case that almost
exclusively with people with no classroom experiences. Then, sending
out those people with no classroom experiences and ask them to go find
a school and observe classroom practices, it’s going to be a mess. … How
do you ensure? What insurance do you have? Because just talk about
some of the numbers in CA, we probably have agreements with 700
school districts, so we probably credential 2000-3000 teachers a year.
Maybe 1500, between 1500 to 2000… you even have 20 students in a
class, 7 classes, each class contains at least two field experiences, so you
start doing the multiplication, it’s thousands and thousands and
thousands students going into classrooms that may or may not answer
to the interests.” (Dr. R, director)

Faculty Perceived Best Practices of the Program

Offering all courses online year round and providing online services were

regarded as one of the advantages as well as the best practices of the program:

“I think one of our best practices is providing support, accessibility.


Those are really our best practices. The kinds of support we provide to
our students, and the accessibility.” (Dr. D., Co-Chair)
71

“I think that for the students that we serve, how the courses and
programs are structured is highly beneficial and allows to serve the
students who might not otherwise be able to complete a degree program
because of their economic situation, work, child care issues, and things
like that.” (Dr. H., Faculty)

Integrating field experience in each course was also considered as the program’s

best practice. It provides students with adequate hands-on learning experiences and

opportunities to practice what they learned in the courses. The requirements for field

experiences are the same for online and onsite classes:

“If field experiences are concerned, every student completes the same,
whether they take the class on site or online… It’s going to be exactly the
same, because if a student is taking the class on site, it doesn’t mean she
or he is going to have more experiences in the classroom than some of
them taking online.” (Dr. H., Faculty)

Faculty members also reported recruiting teaching-focused faculty with extensive

experiences in the teaching profession as another best practice of the program. Faculty

members in the program are certified teachers and principals with successful

experiences in teaching practices. The program hires outstanding educators to be

student teaching supervisors. Since MU is a teaching university, faculty member focus

their efforts on teaching and dedicated to students’ learning. They collaborate with each

other and coordinate syllabi to provide students with a synchronous and developmental

experience in the program.

“I also think one of our best practices is involving people we’re actually
in the field teaching, teaching our courses.” (Dr. D., Co-Chair)

“The requirements for becoming a supervisor [of student teaching] is


that you have to be outstanding educator, evidence of being an
outstanding educator, also our supervisors have to be nationally
certified principals or teachers. And they were recognized as
outstanding educators.” (Dr. C., Faculty)

“Our faculty are very dedicated to students. This is a teaching university.


Our mission is to be a teaching university and they hire people who are
teachers first and scholars along with that valley. You have to make sure
you’re dedicated academically as a teacher as well as a scholar. So we
have a faculty that we share syllabi with each other, we coordinate our
72

syllabi, so students have a synchronized experience, a developmental


experience throughout their program.” (Dr. C., Faculty)

MU teacher education program also designs sound and consistent online courses.

The online courses in MU teacher education program are designed using different media

to motivate student learning. Online courses are also designed to stay consistent with

onsite courses. In addition, online courses are constantly revised to stay current and

engaging.

“All online courses have to be designed with learning activities that are
audio, learning activities that are visual, and learning activities that are
kinesthetic. So we now have a lot more original tape that’s used in
courses. We work in groups and do analysis of what’s coming on to a
classroom in video tapes, and work in groups, I think that is breaking
down that kind of traditional correspondence to much more a learning
environment. I also think a lot of our courses are moving towards
hybrid, in which we meet with the students a percentage of time online
and a percentage of time online. The online can take a couple of
different avenues. Online could be obviously our on ground students,
we’re physically in the same room. Or the online experience could be in
video conferencing, or synchronous learning. So you have a camera and
you have audio. Half of the course I’m teaching is through Internet
video conferencing.” (Dr. C., Faculty)

“One of the things that we worked hard on is to make consistence on


onsite and online [classes].” (Dr. M., Faculty)

Faculty members stated the lack of personal contact as a disadvantage for online

classes. On the hand had, they also reported that the program constantly took

efforts to improve their online courses to keep them current.

“We’re right now in the progress improving our online courses, redoing
them to make them more current. There’s constantly ongoing process
that’s taking place.” (Dr. D., Co-Chair)

Faculty Perceptions of Online Learning in Teacher Education

Faculty members believe a blended format of online learning and personal

interaction benefits students in teacher education. Teacher training requires teacher

candidates to have onsite field-based learning opportunities. Some faculty members

suggested distance teacher candidates to have onsite meetings at some time during the
73

program. In addition, online technologies such as video conferencing have provided

opportunities for real-time synchronous interaction for distance students.

“I would say that obviously student teaching is something that is


completely field-based, that should be in a classroom with students with
real life supervision when possible. I would say that if I had to require
something not being online, it would be, for me personally, I would like,
in our school, our students can even enroll online, I would like for
students to come in to a learning center at some point and meet with a
faculty member face-to-face, only at the beginning of the program, just
to make sure that they understand the particulars of the program from
an academic perspective, not just from someone maybe their
admissions advisor, but a faculty member.” (Dr. H., Faculty)

“I also think a lot of our courses are moving towards hybrid, in which
we meet with the students a percentage of time online, and a percentage
of time online. The online can take a couple of different avenues. Online
could be obviously our on ground students, we’re physically in the same
room. Or the online experience could be in video conferencing, or
synchronous learning. So you have a camera and you have audio. Half of
the course I’m teaching is through Internet video conferencing… When
you learn classroom management skills, you have to be online. So that
would be a kind of hybrid situation.” (Dr. C., Faculty)

Faculty members also believe courses can be as effective as classes on site.

Research studies have showed no significant differences in results between online and

face-to-face learning. Online classes call for different teaching methods. Instructors can

do good modeling of different teaching strategies and hold high expectations in online

classes. Online classes require students to be self-disciplined and self-motivated and

have high-level thinking skills. Students may like or dislike online classes based on their

learning styles and personal preferences. MU teacher education program provides

opportunities for students to choose the best course delivery format that works for their

learning styles.

“Another thing in terms of the field experiences, in the roles that they
play is that, the research that has been done around here, is showing no
differences in terms of candidate preparedness, candidate performance,
as far as those prepared online and those prepared on site.” (Dr. R.,
Director)

“There’re people that love it and there’re people that hate it. It’s kind of
like learning through different modalities. Some people like learning
74

just by hearing, some like seeing. That’s just elementary kind of


information we know as educators. And I guess that there’re some
students, candidates who love taking online classes, and some just hate
taking online courses. I’ve run into both.” (Dr. D., Co-Chair)

“I strongly believe that you can also do a lot of really good modeling in
online environment as well. They will not be the exactly same kind of
modeling, but you can still model cooperative learning, you can still
model peer type of interaction, you can still model responsiveness,
professionalism, and many things are extremely important for students.
And we have very high expectations for their written work and their
discussions. And you expect them to demonstrate high level of insights
into what they are seeing in the school, what they are writing about in
the discussion online in a way that you can get very high quality of
education to the majority of teacher candidates… maybe if you’re taking
a class online as a student, you need to be much more self-disciplined
and self-motivated in order to be able to complete the course work well.
So have someone that you don’t have to be online necessarily, so you
slack a little bit, in an online class, the consequence maybe
embarrassing… Sometimes students thought online classes are easier
than onsite classes, but really it is not the case.” (Dr. H., Faculty)

More over, faculty members emphasized that a good instructor is critical for effective

online learning experiences. In online classes, students do not have the advantage of

having a good in-class discussion with classmates and other face-to-face activities to

make up for a weak instructor. Regardless of the convenience and flexibility of online

courses, students will not be able to take full advantages of online learning if they do not

have a good instructor.

“I think in an online environment, quality of the instructor is more


important than onsite classrooms. Onsite classrooms you may have the
advantage of having a good discussion with your classmates and do
activities that make up for a weak instructor, but online, you do not have
someone who’s really raising the bar other than the instructor, someone
who is not responsive to your questions, someone who does not provide
you with prompt and excessive feedback on your assignments, then it
can be a really disappointing experience. There isn’t much difference
than an independent study… It doesn’t matter if you can get the course
done in a month and you can do it at your own convenience, save child
care and gas money all that stuff, you don’t have a good instructor, then
you are not going to be able to fully take advantage of the opportunities
that an online course presents.” (Dr. H., Faculty)
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Results of Analyzing Documents

Documents collected during faculty interviews included one student program of

studies, two course syllabi of Reading and Language Arts Methodology for Elementary

Schools and Educational Psychology, and one student teaching final assessment form.

The student program of studies for the preliminary multiple subject teaching credential

program lists admission requirements, recommended sequence of courses, co-requisites,

and student teaching. The recommended sequence of courses is listed below:

Foundation of Education
The Diverse Classroom
Educational Psychology
Language Development Methods for the Elementary School
Reading and Language Arts Methods for the Elementary School
Curriculum and Instruction I: History, Social Science, Physical Education, Visual
and Performing
Curriculum and Instruction II: Mathematics, Science

The course syllabi provide examples of required and suggested field-based activities, for

example:

“Required Activity

1 a-i) Gather student data and assessment results, write a case study that
accounts for instructional strategies. Include student learning needs,
instructional strategies, and classroom management that support needs
identified in the assessment result. Suggest further assessments to monitor
student progress. Align with the local and state-adopted English Language
Arts Content Standards for California Public Schools and the
Reading/Language Arts Framework for California Pubic Schools.

Suggested Activity
1 a-ii) Candidate write a report or letter to be used at a meeting with a
student’s family that communicate their child’s assessment results and
includes suggested strategies for helping their child at home.”

“Major Content Area 4: From your field activity classroom observations and
using information provided in Slavin, create a 1000 word Annotated Table of
Contents that describe the components of a yearend assessment portfolio for
a variety of California students (including exceptional needs and ELL
students). The table would include standardized tests and assessments,
among them the California English Language Development Test (CELDT) as
well as strategies used to monitor and evaluate student learning during
instruction. The portfolio is to be used to assess student content knowledge as
well as account for student progress compared to that of his or her peers.”
76

Requirements and contents of the courses stay the same for online and onsite versions of

the same course to ensure consistency of the course. Individual instructors are not

allowed to add to or eliminate the activities listed in the syllabus.


77

CHAPTER 5 – DISCUSSION

This study aims to provide evidence for teacher educators and administrators to

understand the application of blended learning in teacher education programs. This

chapter will discuss the results from data analysis, answer the research questions, and

draw conclusions for this study.

Research Question 1

How does a teacher education program that applies blended learning differ from

traditional residential teacher education programs?

Analysis of data from different sources triangulates and supplements the results

to answer this research question (see Table 27). Looking across different data sources,

both the students and faculty members in MU teacher education regarded the

accelerated pace of the programs and the option to complete the programs online, onsite,

or mix and match as the primary difference between MU teacher education program and

traditional teacher education programs. Students in MU teacher education program

recognize more responsibilities and more self-direction in the program. In addition,

faculty members agreed on the differences of MU teacher education program as being an

accelerated post-baccalaureate program with open-enrollment policies, having a non-

traditional and mature student population, integrating field-based experiences in all

courses, and completing an 18-week long student teaching in students’ local schools

without cohorts.

Results from the survey show that MU teacher education program has more

students taking all of their courses online (29%) than those taking all of the courses on

site (7%). Students in the program were working adults 25 or older with more female

students (68%) than male students (32%). As a post-baccalaureate teacher certification

program, the teacher education program at Marin University takes one year to one year
78

and a half to finish, which is quicker than a two-year traditional teacher education

program (Harrell & Harris, 2006).

The findings of Young and Lewis’s (2008) study indicate that distance teacher

preparation programs are more likely to have non-traditional (students above the age of

25) and female students. The findings from analyzing survey data for this study support

Young and Lewis’s findings regarding the student population for distance teacher

education programs. Results from interview data further explain that students in such a

program have normally already obtained a baccalaureate degree. They are older adults

with jobs, families, and other responsibilities and are usually not able to attend a

traditional teacher education program for teacher certification. However, they are

generally highly motivated to enter the teaching profession and are reported to be more

self-regulated and self-disciplined learners.

Another difference is the open-enrollment policy of MU teacher education

program. Enrollment to the programs is on an ongoing base instead of only in August or

January. Levin (2006) included admission as one of the components for effective teacher

education programs. The open-enrollment policy of MU teacher education program

increases flexibility and access of the program. What should also be brought to

discussion is the criterion for admissions in order to ensure the quality of teacher

candidates.

Courses in MU teacher education program last for a shorter period of time of four

weeks rather than 12 – 16 weeks in a quarter or a semester. In addition, student teaching

for the program is conducted in schools at students’ location. MU teacher education

program coordinates student teaching by arranging placement in schools and hiring

supervisors at students’ location.

The differences between MU teacher education program and traditional teacher

education programs indicate MU teacher education program is more convenient,


79

flexible, efficient and cost-effective for nontraditional students with a baccalaureate

degree to enter the teaching profession. The availability of online courses increases the

program’s accessibility. Researchers and teacher educators have been emphasizing the

importance of field-based experiences in teacher preparation (Russell & McPherson,

2001; Whitney et. al., 2002; Korthagen & Kessels, 1999; Levine, 2006). MU teacher

education program provides a new model for teacher candidates to obtain adequate field

experiences through integrated field activities in all courses for the program.

Research Question 2

What are the perceived advantages and disadvantages of applying a blended format

of online and onsite learning in teacher education programs?

Perceived Advantages

Data were collected from sources such as responses to open-ended questions in

the survey and interviews of students and faculty members to answer this research

question. Students who participated in the survey perceived the convenience and

flexibility of the program to fit working adults’ schedule (including offering online and

evening and weekend classes) as the predominant advantage of the program (65%).

Other top rated advantages of the program includ the quick pace to complete the

program (25%), the high quality of classes (11%), the experienced instructors in the

program (10%), and classes offered on evenings and weekends (6%).

During the interviews, students and faculty members specified the advantages of

the teacher education program at Marin University (MU). Both students and faculty

members reported the convenience, flexibility, and accessibility of MU teacher education

program as its advantages. Courses in the program are delivered both online and on site.

The availability of online courses increases access to the program. Arrangement of onsite

courses on evenings and weekends fits students’ schedule. One of the advantages of

blended learning is that it optimizes the advantages of both online and classroom
80

instruction (Sitzmann et al., 2006). Accessibility, flexibility, and convenience are

commonly reported advantages of online learning (Zhao et al., 2005). In addition to

these inherent advantages of online learning, students in MU teacher education program

also reported the practical curriculum for the program and experienced and dedicated

instructors as its advantages. Another commonly recognized advantage is the program’s

accelerated pace. See Table 28.

The results from analyzing different data sources triangulate and also

supplement findings for the perceived advantages of blended learning. It is clear that

convenience, flexibility and accessibility of the blended learning program are the most

commonly perceived advantages. Other advantages include the quick pace to finish, the

concentrated learning experiences, the high quality of the curriculum, and the

instructors who have extensive experiences in the field. Graham (2006) stated the

benefits of blended learning as possible improved pedagogy, increased access and

flexibility, and increased cost-effectiveness. Results from this study support the claimed

benefits for applying blended learning in teacher education.

Coherent and balanced curriculum and quality faculty are the core components of

Levine’s (2006) nine-point template for judging the quality of teacher education

programs. Based on analysis of different data sources, students and faculty in MU

teacher education program consider the program of high quality in addition to its

convenience, flexibility and accelerated pace.

Perceived Disadvantages

The most commonly perceived disadvantages reported by students who

completed the survey include: The program is too expensive (17%); Some instructors

were irresponsive (14%); Some courses lack quality (9%); Administrators and support

staff were not helpful (7%); Online classes lack personal interaction (7%); The workload

for studying may be overwhelming due to the speed of program (5%). Students further
81

illustrated the disadvantages during the interviews. Some online classes lack personal

interaction with the instructor and other students. The online program could be

disadvantageous for learners that are not self-motivated, self-regulated or self-

disciplined and do not have adequate computer knowledge and skills.

Perceived disadvantages reported by faculty members include the overwhelming

teaching work load, challenges in administrating and supervising field experiences,

challenges of teaching online due to the time-consuming preparation, difficulty to

present some content information, and instructors’ need to be available to students

constantly. See Table 29.

From summarizing results of analyzing data from different sources, two major

perceived disadvantages may be concluded:

1. Teaching and learning may be overwhelming in an accelerated blended

learning program due to the intensiveness of the program. The one-month

courses in MU teacher education program require instructors and students to

concentrate on their tasks. Teaching online is challenging due to the time-

consuming preparation, the difficulty to present some content information,

and the requirement for being available 24x7.

2. Online learning in teacher education is challenging due to the lack of personal

appearance and real-time contact in online classes, possibility of

unresponsive instructors, lack of social networking opportunities, possible

technical difficulties, and lack of self-motivated, self-disciplined, and self-

directed students.

Other perceived disadvantages of the program may include the expensive cost for

student enrollment, lack of quality in some courses, challenges for arranging and

supervising the integrated field experiences, and the pressure to meet changing state

regulations.
82

The findings on perceived advantages of the programs support other researchers’

claims that great challenges exist for implementing blended learning (Christensen, 2003;

Graham, 2006), especially the challenges to balance online and face-to-face instruction,

support learner maturity and capacity for self-regulation, provide guidance for learners,

and provide learners with technological skills to succeed in both online and face-to-face

environments.

Previous research findings show the disadvantages of applying online learning in

teacher education, such as the lack of direct student-instructor and student-student

interaction, possible content diminishment due to the emphasis on technology-enhanced

tasks, and difficulties caused by students’ lack of technological skills (Beard & Harper,

2002a; Hughes & Hagie, 2005; Steinweg et al., 2005; Stephen & Barford, 2005).

Findings from this study indicated that many of the disadvantages of online learning still

exist in teacher education programs that apply blended learning at the program level.

It should be noticed that the competence of instructors and quality of classes

were reported by students to be both an advantage and a disadvantage. Among the

student participants in the survey, 11% perceived the quality of classes as an advantage,

and 9% as a disadvantage. For the instructors, 14% of students reported they experienced

irresponsive instructors, while 10% reported their appreciation of competent,

experienced, and responsive instructors. MU teacher education program has

approximately 100 full-time and over 900 part-time faculty members. It is very possible

for students to experience different instructors during the program. However, students’

emphasis of their experiences with instructors indicates the important role of instructors

in ensuring effective online learning (Carnes et. al., 2003; Chrisstensen, 2003; Levine,

2006).
83

Research Question 3

What are the wise practices for applying blended learning in teacher education at the

program level?

Students and faculty reported the best practices they experienced from MU

teacher education (see Table 30).

In the survey, students reported the reasons that they chose to study in MU

teacher education program. The top five reasons are the program’s quick pace (34%), the

flexibility of class schedules (33%), the convenience of online classes (26%), others’

recommendation of the program (19%), and the close-by locations of the program (6%).

These five reasons coincide with the reported best practices of the program from student

and faculty interviews. In summary, the wise practices of MU teacher education program

include: (a) the program is highly convenient and flexible with the availability of online

classes, satellite campuses throughout the state, and convenient scheduling of classes;

(b) field experiences are integrated in all courses for the program; (c) the one-month

course format promotes concentrated learning and efficiency; (d) the program maintains

its quality through recruiting experienced and dedicated faculty, offering a practical

curriculum, and designing sound and consistent online classes.

Incorporating more and early fieldwork experiences is listed as one of the

indicators for an effective teacher education program (Korthagen & Kessels, 1999;

Levine, 2006). Students in teacher education should gain adequate experiences in order

to understand theories (Korthagen & Kessels, 1999). Russell & McPherson (2001) called

for collaboration of all involved parties for teacher preparation and connection of theory

and practice of an induction model to focus on learning from experiences. Whitney et. al.

(2002) stated that an effective teacher education program needs to form close

collaborative partnership with schools and incorporate more and earlier fieldwork

experiences. MU teacher education program integrates field experiences in all of its


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courses, whether online or on site. This approach allows teacher candidates to start their

field experiences earlier and obtain sufficient practice from the program.

Levine (2006) listed nine categories to judge the quality of a teacher education

program: (a) purpose, (b) curricular coherence, (c) curricular balances, (d) faculty

composition, (e) admissions, (f) degree, (g) research, (h) finances, and (i) assessment.

The reported wise practices of MU teacher education program emphasized 3 of the

criteria: curricular coherence, curricular balances, and faculty composition. In addition,

students reported high levels of satisfaction with the online classes and the program.

This finding should encourage teacher education professionals to apply blended learning

in teacher preparation.

On the other hand, faculty members who participated in this study agreed that

the nature of teacher education presents challenges for learning in the online

environment; for example, it is difficult to teach teacher disposition, arrange role playing

or demonstrate one’s love for reading in online classes. These challenges call for more

research on the application of blended learning in teacher education.

Research Question 4

How do students and teachers in a blended teacher education program perceive online

and blended learning?

Young and Lewis (2008) discovered that teacher candidates have generally

positive response to distance learning in terms of overall satisfaction and enjoyment.

Findings of Harrell and Harris’s (2006) comparative study of online and traditional

accredited baccalaureate programs also indicated candidates’ satisfaction with their

online program. The results of this study support those findings.

Students are generally positive in regards to the future of online learning in

teacher education. They are satisfied with their experiences in MU teacher education

program (Table 11). Students perceive the assignments for field experiences in all course
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as necessary and helpful for preparing them to become successful teachers (Mean=3.89

on the scale of 5, see Table 13). They also believe that the integrated field experiences

must be supported by student teaching. At the same time, challenges for integrating field

experiences in the program are identified, such as the repetitiveness of some field

activities, difficulty with placement, and the need for more facilitation and supervision.

Students in MU teacher education program feel the program serves their needs

better than a traditional teacher preparation program (Mean=4.01 on the scale of 5, see

Table 13). They believed that MU teacher education program adequately prepared them

to become successful teachers in K-12 classrooms (Mean=4.28 on the scale of 5, see

Table 13). Students in MU teacher education program believe that online courses in a

teacher education program can be taught as effectively as those face-to-face onsite

(Mean=3.18, see Table 16). They believe more teacher education programs should have

online options (Mean = 3.71 on the scale of 5, see Table 16).

The survey questions asked for participants’ perceptions of online and blended

learning. The results of factor analysis of the survey data yielded five domains of

students’ perceptions: (a) instructor-student and student-student interaction, (b)

practices in teacher education curriculum, (c) learner control, (d) faculty supervision,

and (e) perceived effectiveness of online learning in teacher education. The results from

calculating the mean, median, and standard deviation of each domain indicated positive

student perceptions of student-instructor and student-student interaction, practices in

teacher education curriculum, learner control, and faculty supervision in online learning.

The survey was developed based on synthesizing literature on online and blended

learning in teacher education and was intended to collect information on different

aspects of student perceptions. These aspects have their own emphasis but are

theoretically interrelated to each other (see Table 1 – 4). The results of correlations of the

five domains support the interrelationship among most domains, except the relationship
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between student perceptions of practices and faculty supervision, and between students

perceptions of learning control and faculty supervision (see Figure 1). Students and

faculty in the interviews reported that students need to be self-directed and monitor

their own learning in the program. Minimum supervision over student field experiences

activities was also reported by faculty members. The lack of supervision may be the

reason why students do not perceive faculty supervision as closely related to practices in

curriculum and learner control.

Data of student perceptions were also collected from answers to the open-ended

questions in the survey and from interviews. Survey participants were asked to specify

what online courses they took would be better taught on site or in a blended format of

online and face-to-face learning. The most frequent answers to the questions were

“None” to both options (37% and 29%, respectively) and “All” to both options (11% and

9%, respectively). Clearly, more students favor online classes over onsite classes.

Generally speaking, students were satisfied with the courses they took online. They

support the application of blended learning in teacher education at the program level to

incorporate online classes and field-based fact-to-face learning experiences instead of

having blended learning courses in the program.

Among the reasons that survey participants gave for courses to be better taught

on site than online, the most frequently reported were the need for personal interaction

with the instructor and other students and the need for immediate feedback. The

combined benefits of the convenience of online learning and personal interaction in

onsite classes were recognized as the most important reason why some courses would be

better taught in a blended learning environment.

In the survey, students reported how they perceived the influences of course

delivery format (online or onsite) on learning. Results show that the influences vary from

person to person depending on student learning styles, personal preferences, and


87

computer skills as well as course contents. Some students felt they would learn well no

matter what the delivery format is (online or on site). Self-motivated and self-directed

learners who can learn from reading may achieve more with online learning. In addition,

personal interaction between student and instructor and among students needs to be

emphasized in online learning. Others commented that online learning work better for

their learning style. The influences were also determined by the content of courses. Some

course contents seem to be more suitable for online learning than others.

Students believe that online learning in teacher education will sustain and

increase, online learning increases access to teacher education programs, online learning

provides opportunities to learn technology, online learning can be as effective as or more

effective than face-to-face learning, and the effectiveness of online learning depends on

students’ learning styles and computer skills and also is determined by course contents.

Students emphasize the importance of personal interactions between students and

instructor in online learning. These findings are in accordance with and support

students’ general positive perceptions of online learning that are identified from

analyzing survey data for this study.

Similar to the findings from King’s (2002) study, both faculty members and

students MU teacher education program recognize the critical role of instructors in

effective online learning experiences. Furthermore, faculty also emphasize that the

nature of teacher education presents challenges in an online environment; for example,

it is challenging to evaluate distance students’ dispositions and demonstrate some course

contents such as passion for reading and administration of tests in classrooms.

Carnes et al. (2003) found that the quality of online learning mainly depends

upon course contents, students and instructors. Results from this study further support

their findings and explain the characteristics of course contents, students, and

instructors that influence online learning. A specific course, technology in classrooms,


88

was mentioned more than any other courses to be better taught face-to-face onsite (5%)

or in a blended format (4%) in the survey responses for this study. Based on the most

popular reason for preferred online teaching or blended learning, it may be assumed that

personal interaction is more critical for some courses than others. Fact-based contents

are regarded to be more suitable for online environments due to current text-based

online instruction. Contents that require more interaction between students and the

instructor or peers, such as demonstration or role playing, are regarded as challenging

for online teaching. Learning styles and personal preferences are emphasized as factors

that determine how effectively students can learn online. Responsive instructors are vital

for successful online learning. Instructors’ immediate feedback and monitoring of

students’ participation in online courses also influence the effectiveness of online

learning. Instructors are strongly suggested to establish various communication

channels to ensure personal contacts with students in online classes.

Faculty members in MU teacher education program also recognize the benefits of

applying a blended format of online learning and face-to-face interaction. They believe

online courses can be taught as effectively as onsite courses. They also acknowledge the

pluses and minuses for teaching online and realize that a good instructor is critical for

effective online learning experiences. The recognized benefits for teaching online include

the convenience, flexibility and self-pace of teaching. On the other hand, online

instructors encounter challenges such intensive upfront preparation and the demand for

instructor’s availability of 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Despite the challenges, it is

reported that teaching online is more popular with MU faculty members than teaching

onsite.

Implications of the Results

Findings from this study indicate that students and faculty members are satisfied

with their learning and teaching experiences in the blended learning teacher education
89

program at Marin University (MU). The fact that more students completed the program

online than on site and the high student satisfaction level with the online courses at MU

reflect the success of the online components of the program. In addition, students and

faculty members reported that they saw online learning as a trend in teacher education

that would sustain and increase. Faculty believe that online learning in teacher education

can be as effective as face-to-face learning in traditional teacher education programs, and

online teacher education provides teacher candidates with opportunities to learn and

experience technology in addition to course content. Students prefer applying blended

learning in teacher education at the program level instead of course level, but in favor of

enhancing real-time interaction through using interactive online technologies. Faculty

members identified that a blended learning format benefits students’ learning both at

course and program level. It is suggested that distance teacher candidates should

physically visit sites or conduct online synchronous meetings with faculty members

during the program. Technologies such as video conferencing and mobile devices (Shen,

Wang, & Pan, 2008) have provided opportunities for real-time synchronous interaction

with the instructor and peers for distance students. A conclusion can be drawn that it is

viable and beneficial to establish blended learning teacher education programs,

implementing online learning and integrating field-based learning experiences.

From the survey and interviews, students and faculty suggested ways to further

improve the program: to lower the cost, to facilitate more real time student-instructor

and student-student interaction in online classes, to establish a system to monitor

instructor’s teaching performances, to better organize and facilitate field experiences and

student teaching, to provide better administrative help for students, to standardize the

online courses, and to assist students’ career development (see Table 31)
90

Based on the wise practices of MU teacher education program and insights from

faculty and students for improving the program, six suggestions for applying blended

learning in teacher education are provided as the following:

(1) Scope of program: To determine the scope of a blended learning program based

on students’ needs and the program’s capability. It is important for

administrators of teacher education programs to review their goals, evaluate their

capacity and resources, and analyze the needs of their students to determine the

scope, such as the number of online students the program may serve, the number

of classes to be available online and on site, and the opportunities for state-level

or national-level teacher licensure. Davis & Fill’s (2007) suggestion of

designating professional instructional technologist for effectively implementing

blended learning should also be taken into consideration. This is an effort that

involves reexamining all identified aspects that determine the quality of a teacher

education program, including the program purpose, curriculum, admissions,

degree requirements, research, finances and assessments (Levine, 2006) and

requires administrative leadership and assistance.

(2) Modification of online courses: To modify online courses for different learning

styles instead of copying onsite courses to the online environment. Offering all or

some of the courses online does not simply equal copying the syllabus and

assignments online. Learning activities need to be modified or re-designed to suit

the online environment and students’ different learning styles. At the same time,

online courses need to keep consistent with onsite classes to ensure the quality of

the courses. Bunderson (2003) proposes to view blended cases as design studies

with an iterative process of implementation, to focus on adaptation to individual

needs; and to utilize validity-centered design to improve the measurement

instruments, instruction, adaptation, and implementation plans. These


91

frameworks help guide the design and redesign of courses and programs when

applying blended learning in teacher education programs.

(3) Integration of field experiences: To integrate field-based experiences early on and

throughout the program. Learning from experiences is highly emphasized in

teacher education (Korthagen & Kessels, 1999; Levine, 2006; Russell &

McPherson, 2001; Whitney et al., 2002). The teacher education program at

Marin University provides a new model and a good example for integrating field

experiences in all courses. Such integration of field experiences ensures sufficient

hands-on learning experiences for both online and onsite students. In addition,

the 18-week-long student learning allows students to enhance and expand their

learning from field experiences activities and practice what they learned from all

courses, regardless of online or on site. At the same time, teacher education

programs need to recognize the challenges for integrating field experiences in a

blended learning environment. The programs need to establish partnership with

schools at students’ location and establish a system to assist student placement,

supervise student performance and communicate with mentor teachers for field

experiences and student teaching.

(4) Creative course formats: To provide courses in creative formats instead of

limiting them to semester- or quarter-long courses. Teacher education programs

need to take innovative steps away from traditional semester- or quarter-long

courses when applying blended learning in their programs. Courses may utilize

various formats to better meet current and potential students’ needs and still

guarantee the rigor of the courses. The example of MU teacher education

program shows that one-month courses may lead to greater efficiency and

concentrated in-depth learning though the teaching and learning work load is

highly intensive.
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(5) Responsive instructors: Results of this study indicate the great importance of

having experienced, knowledgeable, and responsive instructors in a blended

learning teacher education program. In addition to recruiting quality instructors,

teacher education programs may need to establish a monitoring system to ensure

each instructor and supervisor’s performance, especially in online classes.

Professional development opportunities, especially “just-in-time” and “just-for-

you” seminars instead of general e-learning professional development (White,

2007) are also needed for instructors to improve their strategies for teaching

online and their ability to use up-to-date technologies to increase personal

interaction in online classes.

(6) Online services: To provide extended online services for students. Online services

are the interfaces in which distance students interact with instructors,

administrator, supporting staff, and each other. It is important to provide

extended online services for students to enroll in classes, seek advice, and solve

technical problems.

Significance of the Results

The results of this study provide evidences for teacher education professionals to

understand how blended learning may contribute to teacher education. The findings

support the viability and benefits for applying blended learning in teacher education at

the program level. By combining online classes and field-based face-to-face learning

experiences, a teacher education program is able to increase its convenience, flexibility,

access, and efficiency while maintaining the quality of the program. These benefits allow

teacher education to attract more non-traditional candidates to the teaching profession.

With the fast development of online interactive technologies and younger generation

becoming more and more accustomed to online communication and interaction, online

teacher education programs may become more and more attractive. Despite the
93

perceived disadvantages and challenges, students in this study reported significant levels

of satisfaction of an accelerated blended teacher education program and believed that

they were well prepared to become teachers. They have generally positive perceptions of

student-instructor and student-student interaction, practices in the teacher education

curriculum, learner control, and faculty supervision as well as their perceived

effectiveness of online learning in teacher education. Young & Lewis (2008) state,

“Education professionals in teacher education programs should begin the uncomfortable

conversations regarding the viability of training teachers at a distance” (p. 608). Results

from this study urge education professionals not only to start that conversation but also

to begin exploring practices for training teachers at a distance.

The findings of how instructors, students, and course contents may determine

online learning help teacher educators and administrators to attend to faculty

recruitment and professional development, student learning styles and technological

readiness, and the design and re-design of online course for blended learning teacher

education programs.

It is important for teacher education professionals to realize the potential of

online learning as well as the importance of providing adequate personal interaction and

field-based experiences in teacher education programs. The teacher education program

examined in this study provides a good example by integrating field experiences in all

courses and organizing student teaching in students’ local schools. The suggestions for

implementing blended learning in teacher education are based on literature and findings

from this study. These suggestions will be able to provide a practical guideline for

teacher education programs to apply blended learning in their programs.

Limitations

This study was initially planned to investigate all five online teacher education

programs in the universities listed in Table 5 regarding the experiences and perceptions
94

of their student and faculty members. However, due to the lack of access, only one

program was examined. Fortunately, the teacher education program at Marin University

allowed for in-depth examination of student and faculty experiences in the program and

their perceptions of online and blended learning, answering the research questions for

this study. Teacher education programs in the nation vary widely in size, purpose,

student populations, faculty composition, curriculum, graduation requirements, and

resources. This study is exploratory and examined one case of teacher education

program that applies blended learning at the program level. Findings may not be

generalizable to other teacher education programs.

Participants in the online survey and interviews were voluntary. Email lists were

generated randomly for recruiting participants. It was possible that the email message

for calling for participation did not reach all of the students on the email list. It was also

possible that only students who had very good or very bad experiences with the teacher

education program responded to the survey. Therefore, the participants in this study

may not fully represent students in the teacher education program that was examined for

this study.

When students were asked in the survey about their experiences in the program,

the options for answer included “very satisfied,” “somewhat satisfied,” “not sure,” “not

satisfied,” and “other.” The options weighted more towards reporting satisfaction and

might lead to biased responses from participants. These limitations need to

acknowledged for this study.

Suggestions for Further Research

An online survey for faculty members was developed for this study but was not

administered. Faculty members from online or onsite teacher education programs may

be recruited to further examine their perceptions of online and face-to-face learning in

teacher education.
95

This study is an exploratory study to examine the contributions of blended

learning to teacher education in the aspects of the perceived advantages and

disadvantages, the differences of an accelerated blended teacher education program

from traditional programs, wise practices, and perceptions of students and faculty from

such a program towards online learning. Sizmann and colleagues (2006) identified five

mediators to measure the learning effectiveness in a blended learning environment: (a)

learner population, (b) instructional methods, (c) learner control, (d) human interaction,

(e) practice and feedback, and (f) length of training. Further studies are needed to

determine the learning effectiveness and quality of candidates prepared from blended

learning teacher education programs.

Five domains of students’ perceptions towards online learning were generated

from this study, most of which are interrelated (see Figure 1) to reflect the literature on

blended learning in teacher education. It is worth mention that no significant

relationships between students’ perceptions of learning control and faculty supervision

or between students’ perceptions of practices in teacher education and faculty

supervision were identified. Based on the data from the survey and interviews for this

study, it is possible that faculty supervision is not emphasized in MU teacher education

program. Further research studies are needed to confirm the hypothesized relationship

among the domains of student perceptions.

This study found that less collaborative learning occurs in predominantly online

teacher education programs; for example, assignments in MU teacher education

program are mostly designed as individual work, and there is no cohort for field

experiences and student teaching. At the same time students in the program regarded

collaboration with others as important for their learning. King (2002) advocated that

blended learning may present an opportunity to develop interactive and collaborative

learning communities for pre-service teachers through overcoming the drawbacks of


96

online instruction and minimizing the inconvenience of traditional face-to-face learning.

Further study is needed to examine the influence of collaborative learning in

predominantly online teacher education programs. In addition, more studies on the

effective ways to integrate field-based experiences and other onsite learning experiences

in online teacher education are needed to guide practices of both online and traditional

residential programs and to generate theories of integrating onsite experiences in

blended learning environments.

This study supports the application of blended learning at the “enabling blends”

level according to Graham’s (2006) classifications based on the practical question of how

to blend. Further studies may be conducted to examine how to bring the application of

blended learning in teacher education to the level of “transforming blends” when a

radical transformation of the pedagogy occurs by taking full advantage of online

technologies.

Conclusion

Findings from this study support the viability and benefits of applying blended

learning in teacher education at the program level. The opportunities for students to take

classes and complete their program online increase the convenience, flexibility, and

access of teacher education programs. Through applying blended learning, teacher

education program may maintain or improve the quality of teaching preparation. These

enhancements open the door to the teaching profession for eligible candidates who are

not able to attend the traditional teacher education programs due to jobs, family, or

other constraints. The nature of teacher education calls for the implementation of field-

based face-to-face learning and hands-on experiences as a critical component in all

teacher preparation programs. In this study, great satisfaction was reported by students

who experienced blended learning in their teacher education program. Students and

faculty are generally positive about their learning and teaching experiences in the
97

program. Their perceptions of online learning are also generally positive. In addition,

they hold positive attitudes towards the future of online learning in teacher education

and believe online learning will stay and increases.

The 2007 Sloan-C® report on online learning indicates that at least 3.5 million

students were taking at least one online course during fall 2006, an increase 9.7% over

the previous year. The number of online students has doubled since 2002, growing from

1.6 million students taking at least one online class to at least 3.5 million of them. The

9.7% growth rate for online enrollment far exceeds the 1.5% growth rate of the overall

higher education student population. In addition, the report testifies that overall demand

for online instruction is growing. To increase student access and attract students from

outside traditional service areas are the top reasons why institutions offer online courses

and programs (Allen & Seaman, 2007). Teacher education programs such as those listed

in the study (Table 5) have been pioneers in implementing blended learning. The

increasing trend of online learning, the need to train quality teachers, and the current

budget constrains due to the economic crisis (Economy in Crisis, 2008) call for teacher

education programs to be more engaged in exploring the possibilities provided by the

rapid development of online technologies to improve the access, efficiency and quality of

teacher preparation.
98

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101

APPENDIX A: ONLINE SURVEY FOR STUDENTS

Section 1: Background Information

1) Please type in your email address for receiving reward:

2) Are you a:
Female
Male

3) Are you currently employed as a teacher?


Yes
No

4) Why did you chose to study in the teacher education program at National University?

5) Were you studying for a: (please check all that apply)


Bachelor's degree
Master's degree
Teacher certificate
Other

6) What was/were your focused area(s) of study: (please check all that apply)
Early Childhood Education
Elementary Education
Secondary Math Education
Secondary Science Education
Secondary English Education
Secondary Social Studies Education
Special Education
Art Education
Music Education
Physical Education
Other

7) In which year did you finish your teacher education program?


2008
2007
2006
2005
2004
2003
2002
Other

8) How old were you when you enrolled in the teacher education program?
15-19
20-24
25-29
30-34
102

35-39
40-44
45-49
50 or older
Other

9) What was your working status when you were in the teacher education program?
Working full-time
Working part-time
Not working
Other

10) Which state of the U.S. were you living in during your teacher education program?

11) If you were living outside of the U.S. when you enrolled in the program, which
country or region did you live? If not, please skip this question.

12) How many courses did you take to complete your program of studies?

13) How did you take the courses in your teacher education program?
All of them online
Mostly online with a few on site
Half online and half onsite
Mostly on site with a few online
All on site
Other

14) What field-based experiences were required in the program (Please check all that
apply)
Observation of classroom teaching
Interview of teachers
Interaction with pupils
Participating in teacher meetings
Student teaching
Other

15) What courses or components of your program, if any, required you to go on site of
the campus of your university

16) What courses or components of the program, if any, required you to go to local
schools?

17) What courses or components of the program, if any, required you to go to other
onsite places?

18) What online courses that you took would be better taught face-to-face on site?

19) Why those online courses would be better taught face-to-face on site?
103

20) What courses, if any, would be better taught when combining online learning and
face-to-face meeting?

21) Why would those courses be better taught combining online learning and face-to-face
meetings if you listed any in the above question?

22) Who do you think would benefit the most from the program you were enrolled in?
Anyone who wishes to become a teacher
Working adults who wish to become teachers
Those who can self-regulate their learning
Those who are comfortable with using computers
Other

23) Are you satisfied with the teacher education program at National University?
Very satisfied
Somewhat satisfied
Not satisfied at all
Not sure
Other

24) What do you think were the biggest advantages of your program?

25) What do you think were the disadvantages, if any, of the teacher education program
you were in?

26) What were the biggest challenges for you to complete the teacher education program
at National University?

27) How do you think the program could be improved?

Section 2: Your Perceptions of Learning in Your Teacher Education Program

Please answer the following questions by choosing from "strongly disagree" to "strongly
agree" based on how well they apply to you. 28) Self-directedness was the key for
students to succeed in my teacher education program.
Strongly Disagree
Disagree
Undecided
Agree
Strongly Agree

29) I am a self-directed learner.


Strongly Disagree
Disagree
Undecided
Agree
Strongly Agree

30) Students in teacher education need to have control of their learning in order to
achieve high learning outcomes.
104

Strongly Disagree
Disagree
Undecided
Agree
Strongly Agree

31) Time engaged in learning makes a difference in a student's learning achievement.


Strongly Disagree
Disagree
Undecided
Agree
Strongly Agree

32) Students in teacher education need opportunities to practice what they have learned
in class in order to master the skills and knowledge.
Strongly Disagree
Disagree
Undecided
Agree
Strongly Agree

33) My teacher education program gave me chances to practice what I learned from my
courses.
Strongly Disagree
Disagree
Undecided
Agree
Strongly Agree

34) The field experience assignments in all courses helped to prepare me to become a
successful teacher.
Strongly Disagree
Disagree
Undecided
Agree
Strongly Agree

35) Self-paced learning was the best of online courses.


Strongly Disagree
Disagree
Undecided
Agree
Strongly Agree

36) Interaction with instructors was vitally important for me to learn any subject in my
teacher education program.
Strongly Disagree
Disagree
Undecided
Agree
105

Strongly Agree

37) Interacting with other students in my teacher education program helped me to learn.
Strongly Disagree
Disagree
Undecided
Agree
Strongly Agree

38) I needed immediate feedback from my instructor(s) when taking an online course.
Strongly Disagree
Disagree
Undecided
Agree
Strongly Agree

39) I believe I had adequate interaction with my instructors in the program to help my
learning.
Strongly Disagree
Disagree
Undecided
Agree
Strongly Agree

40) I had adequate interaction with my fellow students in the program to help my
learning.
Strongly Disagree
Disagree
Undecided
Agree
Strongly Agree

41) I learned best when collaborating with other students.


Strongly Disagree
Disagree
Undecided
Agree
Strongly Agree

42) I learned best when I had chance to solve real problems.


Strongly Disagree
Disagree
Undecided
Agree
Strongly Agree

43) The program I went through serves my needs better than a traditional teacher
preparation program.
Strongly Disagree
Disagree
Undecided
106

Agree
Strongly Agree

44) I was highly motivated to succeed in my program.


Strongly Disagree
Disagree
Undecided
Agree
Strongly Agree

45) I believe my program adequately prepared me to become a successful teacher in K-12


classrooms.
Strongly Disagree
Disagree
Undecided
Agree
Strongly Agree

46) I spent 2-3 hours on studying for each credit hour I enrolled in, that is, I spent about
6-9 hours each week on studying for a 3-credit-hour course when I was in the program.
Strongly Disagree
Disagree
Undecided
Agree
Strongly Agree

47) I wished I could have more face-to-face interaction with my instructor(s) in my


teacher education program.
Strongly Disagree
Disagree
Undecided
Agree
Strongly Agree

48) I wish we could have more supervision over the field-based experiences in the
program.
Strongly Disagree
Disagree
Undecided
Agree
Strongly Agree

49) I believe more teacher education programs should have online options.
Strongly Disagree
Disagree
Undecided
Agree
Strongly Agree

50) I believe all teacher education programs will eventually go online.


Strongly Disagree
107

Disagree
Undecided
Agree
Strongly Agree

51) I believe online courses in a teacher education program can be taught as effectively as
those face-to-face on site.
Strongly Disagree
Disagree
Undecided
Agree
Strongly Agree

52) I believe all content in a teacher education program can be taught even more
effectively online than face-to-face on site.
Strongly Disagree
Disagree
Undecided
Agree
Strongly Agree
108

APPENDIX B: INTERVIEW QUESTIONS FOR STUDENTS

Interview questions for students include:

1) Do you see MU teacher education program as a unique program comparing to

other teacher education programs? Why and why not?

2) MU offers teacher education programs online. What do you think are the

advantages of the online teacher education program at National?

3) What do you see as the disadvantages of the online program?

4) What do you think the future of online learning in teacher education?

5) Did you take your courses mainly online or on site? And why?

6) How did you like the online courses?

7) Do you think the delivery mode (online, synchronous, asynchronous, face-to-

face in a classroom, etc.) of a course influence your learning? Why and why

not?

8) Do you think online courses give you more flexibility and control for learning?

Why and why not?

9) How did you like the field activities in the courses? Do you feel the field

activities helped to prepare you as a teacher?

10) What are the most useful field activities that you were required to do?

11) Were field activities required in your online courses? How did you like the

field activities in online courses? Were they helpful? How can the activities be

improved?

12) How do you think the online course(s) you took can be improved?

13) Based on your experiences, what do you like the most of the TED program at

National?

14) What do you like the least of the program?


109

15) Who do you think benefit the most from your program?

16) What courses do you feel that you learn the most and why?

17) What courses do you feel that you didn’t learn much and why?

18) What are the challenges for you to succeed in the program?

19) Did you feel studying for the one-month course was intensive? How did you

like the learning experiences?

20) How does the program prepare you to teach the content of your subject(s)?

21) How does the program prepare you regarding methodology of teaching?

22) How do you think the whole program can be improved?


110

APPENDIX C: INTERVIEW QUESTIONS FOR FACULTY

Interview questions for faculty members include:

1) How long have you been teaching in the National University?

2) What course(s) have you been teaching?

3) Have you been teaching online, on site or both?

4) What courses have you taught online?

5) Why are these course (refer to the answer to the above question) offered to

students online?

6) What media and tools do you use for teaching courses online?

7) What do you expect students to learn from your course(s)?

8) [If teaching courses online] What are the major differences from teaching

your course(s) face-to-face?

9) What do you think are the challenges for teaching your course(s) online?

10) What are the challenges for students to succeed in your course(s)?

11) How your teaching and/or mentoring responsibilities fit in the teacher

education program at your institution?

12) What do you see as the biggest difference between your online teacher

education program and traditional residential teacher preparation programs?

13) What do you see as the advantages of an online teacher education program

like yours?

14) What are the challenges or disadvantages of an online teacher education

program, if any?

15) How do you think your teacher education program can be improved?

16) Do you think with the development of online technologies all teacher

education programs will eventually go online? If yes, why? If not, what


111

courses/parts of a teacher education program are best delivered online? What

courses/parts are best delivered face-to-face to students on site? Why?


YING WANG
4823 Whitner Drive Phone: (919)616-7094
Wilmington, NC 28409 E-mail: wangying@indiana.edu

EDUCATION
Ph.D. in Instructional System Technology, 9/2003 – 5/2009, GPA: 3.95
Indiana University – Bloomington, IN
Minor: Educational Inquiry Methodology
Dissertation title: A Case Study of an Accelerated Blended Teacher Education Program

Master of Science in New Media, 5/2002, GPA: 3.89


Indiana University – Indianapolis, IN

Master of Education in Early Childhood Education, 12/1999, GPA: 4.0


University of Georgia, Athens, GA

Bachelor of Arts in English Languages and Literature, 7/1994


Shan Dong University, Jinan, P. R. China

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE
Instructional Designer, 1/2009 – present
Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning, Fayetteville State University, Fayetteville, NC
Supporting faculty members with instructional design and innovative technologies to assist
teaching and learning
Facilitating campus wide assessment of courses, programs aligned with institution accreditation

Adjunct Faculty, 8/2008 – present


Instructional Systems Technology, Indiana University – Bloomington, IN
Teaching online graduate courses of Applications of Instructional Media and Technology,
Technology Leadership Issues in K-12 Schools, Computer Based Teaching Methods

Part-time Faculty, 8/2008 – 12/2008


Instructional Technology, University of North Carolina – Wilmington, NC
Teaching the course of Instructional Technology to undergraduate students

Associate Instructor, 8/2003 – 5/2007


Instructional Systems Technology, Indiana University – Bloomington, IN
Taught and co-taught courses to undergraduate and graduate students

Research Associate / Multimedia Specialist, 8/2002 – 5/2003


School of Informatics, Indiana University – Indianapolis, IN
Designed and developed interactive multimedia projects with Walther Cancer Institute and IU
School of Nursing

Independent Consultant, 6/2002 – 8/2002


Telamon Corporation, Indianapolis, IN
Developed websites of Telamon Corporation and affiliated organizations
Adjunct Faculty, 1/2001 – 5/2002
School of Informatics, Indiana University – Indianapolis, IN
Taught courses to undergraduate and graduate students at IUPUI

Summer Enrichment Program, 5/2001 – 8/2001


Office of Public and Media Relations, IU Medical School, Indianapolis, IN
Designed and maintained websites of School of Medicine at Indiana University

Instructor, 1/2000 – 12/2000


Department of Comparative Literature, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Taught Chinese to undergraduate students at UGA

Research Assistant, 8/1998 – 12/1999


Department of Elementary Education, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Assisted faculty members with their research and teaching, including data analysis, instructional
material preparation, paper editing, and library work, etc.

Instructor of English, 8/1994 – 4/1998


Capital Medical University, China
Taught English Listening Comprehension, Speaking, Reading and Writing to
undergraduate medical students

TEACHING EXPERIENCE
Indiana University – Bloomington, IN
Courses currently teaching:
• R503 (online) - Applications of Instructional Media and Technology
• R505 (online) – Computer Based Teaching Methods

Online Graduate Courses Taught:


• R503 (online) - Applications of Instructional Media and Technology
• R505 (online) - Technology Leadership Issues in K-12 Education
Course Description:
• R503 surveys the characteristics of widely used types of audiovisual media e.g.,
slides (Microsoft PowerPoint), audio (Audacity), video (Movie Maker) and Web
development (Google Sites) technologies of instruction. This course provides
guidelines for selection of media and techniques, develops media presentation
skills, and handle of security and ethical issues of using instructional media and
technology.
• R505 focuses on issues typically encountered by technology leadership personnel
at schools. Topics discussed will include planning for, implementing, and
integrating technology into classroom activities, staff development and training,
Internet acceptable use, acquiring funding for technology initiatives, building
stakeholder collaboration, and managing technology systems in school settings.
Undergraduate Courses Taught:
• R341 - Multimedia Technology in Instructional Technology (Spring 2006, Fall
2005, Spring 2005, Fall 2004, Spring 2004, and Fall 2003)
• W200 - Using Computers in Education (Fall 2005 and Fall 2004)
• W301- Integrating Technology in Teaching – I (Spring 2007 and Fall 2006)
Course description:
• R341 teaches students to use multimedia tools, such as text, image (Photoshop),
audio (SoundForge), video (iMovie, Adobe Premiere, Video Factory), animation
(Flash), interactive multimedia (Director, Flash) and Web development
(Dreamweaver, FrontPage) to develop instructional materials and activities.
• W200 is designed to help pre-service teachers develop skills in using computer
applications and classroom software to assist teaching and learning in K-12
classrooms.
• W301 is designed to provide pre-service teachers with skills and experiences that
will allow them to effectively and appropriately integrate technology into teaching
and learning activities.

Graduate Course Co-Taught:


R521 (online) - Instructional Design and Development I (Summer 2006)
Course description: R521 is one of the core courses for the Master’s program in IST. It
introduces the instructional systems development process, from analysis through
evaluation and implementation. I was responsible for leading one online student group
throughout the course and for teaching some of the course topics.

Graduate Course Volunteered as Technical Advisor:


R541 - Instructional Development and Production Process I (Fall 2004)
Course description: R541 is another core courses for the Master’s program in IST. It
introduces students to the entire multimedia production process. I was a technical advisor
to assist students in developing instructional products using graphic (Photoshop), audio
(SoundForge) and video (Premiere), interactive media (Flash), and web development
(Dreamweaver, Micro software.

University of North Carolina – Wilmington, NC


Course taught:
• EDN 303 - Instructional Technology
Course Description:
• This course provides students with an understanding of the principles that
underlie the design, production, and evaluation of instructional materials,
computer generated presentations, and interactive media with particular emphasis
on effective classroom use and integration into instructional units. Students
develop skills in the operation of microcomputers, computer software applications
(For example, Google Docs, Microsoft Excel, Movie Maker, Microsoft
PowerPoint, Microsoft Publisher, and Google Sites), telecommunications, and
distance learning technologies.
Indiana University – Indianapolis, IN
Undergraduate courses taught independently:
• I200 - Information Representation (Fall 2002 and Fall 2001)
• N410 - History and Theory of New Media (Spring 2002 and Spring 2001)
Course description:
• I 200 is one of the foundation courses for undergraduate students in Informatics. It
introduces students to basic structure of information representation in social and
scientific applications.
• N410 is one of the selective courses for graduate and senior undergraduate
students in New Media. It discusses the history of computer-based media,
technologies and the digital information age.

The University of Georgia, Athens, GA


Undergraduate Courses Taught Independently:
• CHNS 1001 - Chinese (2000)
• CHNS 1002 - Chinese II (2000)
Course description: CHNS 1001 and CHNS 1002 are the two introductory Chinese
courses for undergraduate students at UGA

Capital Medical University, Beijing, China


Undergraduate Courses Taught Independently:
English Listening Comprehension, Speaking, Reading and Writing (1994-1998)

CURRENT RESEARCH PROJECTS


Research Project 1 (Dissertation): “A Case Study of an Accelerated Blended Teacher
Education Program”
Project Description: This study examines students’ and faculty members’ perception
towards blended learning in teacher education. Results of data analysis support the
viability of applying blended learning in teacher education at program level.
Project Status: Dissertation submitted.

Research Project 2: Interaction in a Blended Learning Environment


Project Description: This study examines student-instructor interaction and
learning effectiveness in a blended learning environment.
Project Status: The paper was presented at 2008 American Education Research
Association Annual Meeting, New York, NY.

Research Project 3: Inquiry-Based Learning in Pre-service Technology Preparation


Project Description: This study examines instructor guidance and student learning
in a technology preparation course for pre-service teachers applying inquiry-based
learning approach.
Project Status: This study was presented at 2007 AECT Annual Conference in
Orlando, FL.
PAST RESEARCH PROJECTS
K-12 Teachers’ Use of Computer Technology for Instructional Purposes
Project Description: This study collected and analyzed K-12 teachers’ use of
computer software programs for instructional purposes.
Project Status: This study was completed and presented at 2007 Annual
Conference of the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education,
San Antonio, TX.

PBHI (Problem-based historical inquiry) Scenario-Based Survey Study


Project Description: A scenario-based survey was designed to assess pre-service teachers’
beliefs about problem-based inquiry teaching strategies. The survey has been
administered to pre-service social studies teachers in a Midwestern university and a
Southern university since 2006.
Project Status: Data collection and analysis for this study are ongoing. The paper was
presented at 2008 American Education Research Association Annual Meeting, New York,
NY.

Theory-Based Course Evaluation


Project Description: One hundred and forty students responded to a Web survey
containing nine scales assessing teaching and learning quality. These scales
measure principles through which instructors can improve their classes.
Project Status: This study was presented at the 2007 Annual Meeting of the
Association for Educational Communications and Technology, Anaheim, CA.

MANUSCRIPTS & PUBLICATIONS


Wang, Y., Brush, T., Bonk, C., Appelman, R., & Delandshere, J. (dissertation in preparation)
What can blended learning contribute to teacher education? – A case study.
Wang, Y. & Brush, T. (in preparation) Learning online or on campus? – A case study.
Manuscript in preparation
Wang, Y., Wong, S. M., Watson, S. L., & Brush, T., (under submission) Computer Technology
Used in K-12 Classrooms for Instructional Purposes Manuscript under submission
Wang, Y. (2006). Be excited, stay cool, and take the lead – Embracing the opportunities in
Information and Communication Technology. Educational Technology, 46(6), 35-39.
Treat, A. R., Wang, Y., Chadha, R., & Dixon, M.H. (2006). Major developments in instructional
technology: During the 20th century [Electronic version]. IDT Record. Retrieved
November 18, 2006, from
http://www.indiana.edu/%7Eidt/shortpapers/documents/ITduring20.html
Treat, A. R., Wang, Y., Chadha, R., & Dixon, M.H. (2006). Major developments in instructional
technology: Prior to the 20th century [Electronic version]. IDT Record. Retrieved
November 18, 2006, from
http://www.indiana.edu/%7Eidt/shortpapers/documents/ITprior20.html

CONFERENCE PAPERS
Wang, Y. (2008, November) A Framework for Analyzing Blended Learning in Teacher
Education. Paper presented at the 2008 Association for Educational Communications and
Technology International Convention, Orlando, FL.
Wang, Y. & Leftwich, A. (2008, November) Implementing Inquiry Learning in Technology
Preparation for Pre-service Teachers - A Preliminary Case Study. Paper presented at the
2008 Association for Educational Communications and Technology International
Convention, Orlando, FL.
Wang, Y. & Reynolds, T. (2008, November) Candidate Perspectives of Integrated Field-Based
Experience in Online Teacher Education – An Extended Study. In G. Richards (Ed.),
Proceedings of World Conference on E-Learning in Corporate, Government, Healthcare,
and Higher Education 2008 (pp. 3291-3300). Chesapeake, VA: AACE.
Wang, Y. & Brush, T. (2008, March) Learning online or on campus - A case study. Paper
presented at the 2008 American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, New
York, NY.
Brush, T., Wang, Y., Waston, S. L., Saye, J., Kohlmeier, J., & Maddox, L. (2008, March) How
do pre-service social studies teachers implement problem-based historical inquiry
strategies – A scenario-based survey study. Paper presented at 2008 America Educational
Research Association Annual Meeting, New York, NY.
Exter, M., Daminco, J., Wang, Y., Exter M. (2008, March) Designing a tool to support critical
Web reading. Paper presented at 2008 American Educational Research Association
Annual Meeting, New York, NY.
Wang, Y., Bonk, C., Delandshere, J. & Brush, T. (2008, March) Mixed Methods for Research on
Blended Learning in Teacher Education. Paper presented at 2008 Society for Information
Technology and Teacher Education International Conference, Las Vegas, NV.
Wang, Y., Leftwich, A. (2008, March) Problem-based Learning: A Promising Instructional
Approach for Technology Preparation for Pre-service Teachers. Paper presented at 2008
Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education International Conference,
Las Vegas, NV.
Frick, T., Chadha, R., Watson, C., Wang, Y. & Green, P. (2007, October) Does Your Instruction
Rate 9 Stars? First Principles of Instruction and Student Learning Outcomes in Higher
Education. Paper presented at 2007 Association for Educational Communications and
Technology International Convention, Anaheim, CA.
Wang, Y. (2007, April). Online instruction for pre-service teachers. Paper presented at 2007
American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL.
Wang, Y., Wong, S., & Watson, S. (2007, March). K-12 teachers’ use of computer technology
for instructional purposes. Paper presented at the 2007 Society for Information
Technology and Teacher Education International Conference, San Antonio, TX.
Wang, Y. (2006, March). Technology training in teacher preparation - A review on how to
prepare pre-service teachers to use technology in their future classroom. Paper presented
at the 2006 Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education International
Conference, Orlando, FL.
Frick, T., Elder, M., Hebb, C., Wang, Y., & Yoon, S. (2005, October). Adaptive Usability
Evaluation of Complex Web Sites: How Many Tasks? Paper presented at the 2006
Association for Educational Communications and Technology Annual Meeting, Orlando,
FL.
SERVICES ACTIVITIES
Graduate Student Campus Liaison for American Educational Research Association (AERA)
(2007-present)
Reviewer for Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT) Annual
Conference (2008)
Reviewer for AERA Annual Conference (2007)
Reviewer for TechTrends (2007)
Review Committee for IST Conference (2007)
Member of AECT (2004 – present)
Member of AERA (2006 – present)
Member of The Society of International Chinese in Educational Technology (2006 – present)
Member of Graduates in Instructional Systems Technology (2003 – present)

HONORS & AWARDS


Invited graduate student for the 2007 annual gathering of Professors in Instructional Design and
Technology (PIDT), May 2007
L.C. Larson Professional Development Award, 2007
Associate Instructorship, Indiana University, 8/2003 – 5/2007