Australian Primary Mathematics Teacher Preparation: On-campus or Online? Who? Why? So What?

Stephen Norton


Australian universities providing mathematics teacher preparation are increasingly offering their courses online or in limited face-to-face mixed-mode delivery.  There is limited empirical data on why pre-service teachers make delivery mode choices and how these impact on academic standards and student satisfaction ratings.  This paper reports on what motivated pre-service teachers to choose either online or mixed-mode delivery; whether at the end of two mathematics curriculum courses their mathematical content knowledge and mathematical pedagogical content knowledge differed according to delivery mode; and whether their satisfaction ratings differed.  Masters of Primary Education pre-service teachers undertook two mathematics curriculum courses (n = 189 and n = 153) with roughly half of the students enrolling online in each. The course delivery was informed by cognitive load transactional distance theory and aimed to develop pre-service teacher’s relevant mathematics content and pedagogical content knowledge.  Pre-service teachers were surveyed at the commencement of their study to determine what motivated them to choose a particular delivery format.  Their academic results at the end of each course indicated there were limited differences in academic achievement between delivery modes and student evaluations suggest high ratings irrespective of delivery mode.  The findings have implications for the design of mathematics pre-service teachers courses online and in mixed mode.


Primary mathematics teacher preparation; online; mixed mode

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