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Issues in Educational Research, 2021, Vol 31(2), 421-439.
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How have Covid-19-related changes to tuition modes impacted face-to-face initial teacher education students?

Susan Blackley, Sinead Wilson, Rachel Sheffield, Karen Murcia, Paul Brown, Kok-Sing Tang, Martin Cooper and John Williams
Curtin University, Australia

In Semester 1 of the 2020 academic year, face-to-face higher education students in many institutions were instructed to not attend classes or lectures on campus soon after the semester commenced, due to precautions put in place to limit the spread of Covid-19 in institutions across Australia. To sustain education and course progression, students were rapidly transitioned to learning-platforms, and synchronous or asynchronous online instruction. Although this action was needed to help ensure undisrupted learning, little consideration was given to the impact this would have on the students who had chosen to study in the face-to-face mode. The instrumental case study reported in this paper sought to capture the lived experiences of students enrolled in initial teacher education (ITE) programs in mathematics, science, and technology (STEM) units in on-campus, face-to-face mode as they moved to emergency fully online instruction. An initial online survey, constructed in Qualtrics and using a 4-point Likert scale, was sent to these students in Semester 2, and this was followed by semi-structured interviews with those who indicated their willingness to participate. Thirty-two students participated in the survey and 11 in the interviews, and these data were examined through the lens of self-determination theory. The majority of participants preferred the face-to-face mode, yet some were surprised about the affordances of fully online. Although the respondent group was small, the insights gained are of interest to educators in higher education and have the potential to inform new ways of designing and delivering authentic and engaging online and blended learning in these programs.
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Authors: Dr Susan Blackley is an Associate Professor teaching and researching in the School of Education at Curtin University. Her research areas include integrated STEM education, identity development, digital technologies, and teacher self-efficacy. She is a member of the Curtin Academy Executive and is a HERDSA Fellow and a Senior Fellow of Advanced HE.
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7399-207x
Email: susan.blackley@curtin.edu.au

Sinead Wilson is a Research Assistant and PhD student at Curtin University. Her research interests are within the domain of children's education and psychology. Specifically, she is investigating how the online safety of children is managed in family, care and educational settings; and what constitutes positive interactions in online environments.
Email: sinead.wilson@curtin.edu.au

Dr Rachel Sheffield is an Associate Professor in the School of Education at Curtin University in Perth. She researches and publishes in science, STEM education and professional identity, and is currently exploring the transversal competencies and their role in STEM education. Her research and grants in STEM education have seen her travel to India, Indonesia and Malaysia, supporting pre-service teachers and primary students to develop expertise in STEM content and 21st century skills.
Email: rachel.sheffield@curtin.edu.au

Dr Karen Murcia is an Associate Professor in the School of Education, Curtin University. Her research interests include scientific literacy for citizenship, creativity and digital technologies, and STEM education leadership. She is a senior researcher with the Australian National Centre of Excellence for the Digital Child.
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1900-2781
Email: karen.murcia@curtin.edu.au

Dr Paul Brown is a teaching academic at Curtin University. He helps to prepare preservice primary and secondary teachers, specialising in mathematics education. He is an active supervisor of higher degree students, and his research interests include mathematical reasoning and proof.
Email: paul.brown@curtin.edu.au

Dr Kok-Sing Tang is an Associate Professor and Discipline Lead of STEM Education in the School of Education at Curtin University. He received a BA and MSc in Physics from the University of Cambridge and a MA and PhD in Education from the University of Michigan. He is a recipient of two ARC Discovery Grants.
Email: kok-sing.tang@curtin.edu.au

Dr Martin Cooper is a senior lecturer and researcher in the School of Education at Curtin University in Western Australia. He has a long-time passion for learning technologies at all levels of education, and has developed and taught iSTEM units in the Initial Teacher Education degrees.
Email: martin.cooper@curtin.edu.au

Dr P. John Williams is a Professor of Education and the Director of Graduate Research in the School of Education at Curtin University in Perth, Western Australia, where he teaches and supervises research students in STEM and technology education. His current research interests include STEM, mentoring beginning teachers, PCK and electronic assessment of performance. He is the series editor of the Springer Contemporary Issues in Technology Education and is on the editorial board of six professional journals.
Email: pjohn.williams@curtin.edu.au

Please cite as: Blackley, S., Wilson, S., Sheffield, R., Murcia, K., Brown, P., Tang, K.-S., Cooper, M. & Williams, J. (2021). How have Covid-19-related changes to tuition modes impacted face-to-face initial teacher education students?. Issues in Educational Research, 31(2), 421-439. http://www.iier.org.au/iier31/blackley.pdf

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