Using Transactional Distance Theory to redesign an Online Mathematics Education Course for Pre-Service Primary Teachers

Kevin Larkin, Romina Jamieson-Proctor


Thispaper examines the impact of a series of design changes to an onlinemathematics education course in terms of transactional distance between learnerand teachers, pre-service education students’ attitudes towards mathematics,and their development of mathematical pedagogical knowledge. TransactionalDistance Theory (TDT) was utilised to investigate and describe the interactionsamong course structure, course dialogue and student autonomy in an onlinecourse over a two-year period. Findings indicate that Web 2.0 technologies,when used thoughtfully by teachers, afford high levels of structure anddialogue within the online course. Feedback from pre-service teachers indicatedan improved attitude towards mathematics and an increase in their mathematicalpedagogical content knowledge. These findings have implications foruniversities moving towards the delivery of teacher education courses entirelyonline. The provision of supportive learning spaces for mathematics educationis a key factor in fostering positive attitudes towards mathematics. Thisarticle generates new knowledge as blended and online learning environments inmathematics education have not been investigated using TDT and contributes tothe current debate regarding the appropriateness of mathematics educationdelivered completely online.

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