Faculty Articles

Preparing Future Teachers for Diverse Schools in an Online Learning Community: Perceptions and Practice

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Internet and Higher Education



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Elementary Secondary Education, Online Courses, Student Motivation, Conventional Instruction, Computer Assisted Instruction, Student Diversity, Preservice Teacher Education, Student Attitudes, Teacher Attitudes, Curriculum Development, Instructional Design, Education Courses, Student Surveys, Educational Environment, Educational Technology, Virtual Classrooms


This study provides an example of one institution's efforts to design coursework that meets the simultaneous challenges of supporting the aims of increasing access to online courses and simultaneously better preparing teachers to work in diverse classrooms. Based on online pre- and post-surveys and monthly open-ended writing prompts administered to students in an introductory teacher preparation course, the study sought to discover students' motivation to select online or blended courses, student perspectives on the benefits and challenges to taking this course online, characteristics of the learning environment that promoted or interfered with students' learning, instructor's perspective of learners' reaction to topics addressing K-12 classroom diversity, and the impact of an online format on students' discussions of issues related to learner diversity. Findings suggest that online courses should include a classroom placement component in which students experience a diverse classroom in order to best prepare students for diverse teaching assignments. Thus, the best online teacher preparation courses maybe those that blend virtual and face-to-face interaction rather than being strictly online.





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