Keeping the Party in Full Swing: Findings on Online Student Engagement With Teacher Education Students

Belinda Hopwood1, Janet Dyment2, Jillian Downing1, Cathy Stone3, Tracey Muir1, Elizabeth Freeman1 and Naomi Milthorpe1.

Originally published in The Journal of Continuing Higher Education
Published online 28 October 2021


The proportion of Australian students enrolling in a fully distance, online mode has been increasing over the past decade across a range of courses, including initial teacher education (ITE). The COVID-19 pandemic has further increased the need to teach and design courses in ways that successfully engage students online. This research set out to gain a deeper understanding of what it means for ITE students to be engaged in online learning and how teacher educators can enhance pedagogical practices in the online learning space. Our research tracked the experiences of nine ITE students through a series of interviews before, during, and at the conclusion of a 13-week semester, enabling us to gain valuable insights into the factors that contributed to student engagement throughout this length of time. Our findings offer some pragmatic suggestions for successfully “hosting” these students as they join and participate in the teacher education community. Using the analogy of hosting a party, we propose ways to effectively welcome online students into their learning community, encourage them to participate, enjoy the experience, and be less inclined to leave early.

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1University of Tasmania
2Acadia University
3University of Newcastle, National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education

Posted 28 October 2021 By ncsehe