Dr. Caitlin Riegel, assistant professor of education, presented her paper, “Developing Teachers Online: Challenges and Advantages to Virtual Education Courses,” at the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education’s Interactive Conference on Oct. 6, 2022.

The influx of virtual education courses that were developed and delivered during the COVID-19 pandemic has led to increased student demand for online courses. As a result, many education programs have made the decision to move education courses and, in some cases, entire programs, online. While this shift allows for programs to prepare teacher candidates to effectively leverage technology and navigate online learning environments, not all education courses lend themselves to high levels of student engagement and the fulfilment of course outcomes when shifted from on-ground to online.

In her presentation, Dr. Riegel shared the preliminary results of a study that analyzed the challenges and advantages of specific types of virtual courses (i.e., general education, pedagogical, content, and field experience courses) as outlined directly by education instructors from across the nation. These results can help guide the development of future virtual courses and maintain effective teacher preparation, she said.

“The development of effective virtual education courses is possible and being done across the nation, pre- and post-pandemic. With that said, more programs are retaining the online modality post-pandemic,” she said. “In an effort to position education programs to be proactive in developing courses and programs that meet the virtual needs of 21st century learners, instead of maintaining a status quo that may be inequitable, the results of this study provide those in policy-making groups the information needed to develop effective virtual courses by highlighting advantages and addressing challenges.”

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