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An analysis of learning in an online biology course for teachers and teacher candidates: A mixed methods approach

, The University of Arizona, United States

The University of Arizona . Awarded


Due to discipline specific shortages, web-based learning has been proposed as a convenient way to upgrade the content knowledge of instructors interested in learning to teach science. Despite quantitative evidence that web-based instruction is equivalent to traditional methods, questions remain regarding its use. The efficiency and practicality of this approach with teachers in particular has not been extensively studied. This investigation examines learning in an online biology course designed to help teachers prepare for science certification exams. Research questions concern flow teachers learn biology in the online environment and how this setting influences the learning process. Quantitative and qualitative methodologies are employed in an attempt to provide a more complete perspective than typical studies of online learning. Concept maps, tests, and online discussion transcripts are compared as measures of assimilated knowledge, while interviews reflect participants’ views on the course. Findings indicate that participants experienced gains in declarative knowledge, but little improvement with respect to conditional knowledge. Qualitative examination of concept maps demonstrates gaps in participants’ understandings of key course ideas. Engagement in the use of online resources varied according to participants’ attitudes towards online learning. Subjects also reported a lack of motivation to fully engage in the course due to busy teaching schedules and the absence of accountability.


Lebec, M.T. An analysis of learning in an online biology course for teachers and teacher candidates: A mixed methods approach. Ph.D. thesis, The University of Arizona. Retrieved August 19, 2019 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 23, 2013. [Original Record]

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