This article examines the similarities and differences for one course, Foundations of American Education, when offered in traditional face-to-face and online formats. The data analysis used both qualitative and quantitative measures. Several conclusions were reached: (a) for the course to be effective, the time that must be allotted for online teaching will remain an issue that instructors may struggle with as the workload is significantly higher; (b) for students, a familiarity with their own learning styles and the desire and motivation to shoulder responsibility for online learning will be major factors in their success; (c) while the instructor can, and should, design and monitor the course to ensure that all students are kept on track and participating, student time management and organizational skills will remain of paramount importance; and (d) students with more proficient reading and writing skills will perform better in online classes. Suggestions for further research include focusing on whether or not certain types of courses are more appropriate for online instruction and developing a repertoire of instructional strategies to accommodate a range of learning styles.
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This paper describes how a teacher educator used a Computer Applications for Educator’s preservice education course to teach constructivist lesson planning to students who were in the process of planning lessons. It was hypothesized that by providing scaffolding and coaching during the planning process, preservice teachers could be guided to learn to produce constructivist lessons. This type of learning experience follows Vygotsky’s (1978) suggestion that constructivist teaching can be a social activity that involves “problem solving under [teacher] guidance” (p. 86). Because constructivist lesson planning requires creative thought that novice lesson planners often find difficult to do on the spot, the “Interactive Lesson Planner” was developed to provide scaffolding so that students would have speedy access to lesson resources via the Internet ( Holt, 2000; Klein, 1997; Mintrop, 2001). Students were also taught how to post their resulting lessons to the Internet. By doing so, students preserved their efforts so that they may be applied in the future to the student-teaching experience and as a way to market themselves online to potential employers. Because this approach follows John Dewey’s suggestion that the teaching and learning process should attempt to solve real-world problems, it was hypothesized that this would enhance motivation (Dewey, 1916). Seventy-five percent of students taught with this approach successfully applied constructivist lerning theory by completing a constructivist lesson on their own.