|Published Online: January 12, 2016||$US5.00|
In this exploratory study, the researcher surveyed students’ perspectives and experiences of taking online courses in order to examine a relatively new online BK program and its instructional approaches in meeting early childhood educator candidates’ professional needs. The participants were undergraduate students who took the online birthkindergarten (BK) courses provided by a rural four-year university in America. A Qualtrics survey was distributed at the end of the spring semester in 2013 to collect students’ demographic information, their perspectives and experiences of taking online courses, and their suggestions for improving the learning results. The collected data was analyzed both quantitatively and qualitatively. Participants’ demographic background information was used for quantitative analyses. The necessity of providing a digital literacy skill test (DLST) in the near future and the problems they encountered in taking online courses were qualitatively analyzed. Discussions of the implications and applications were provided. While focusing on future early educators’ professional needs, the researcher also reflected her personal and professional growth in improving online professional courses to better equip future early childhood educators in this virtual era.
|Keywords:||Online Learning, Early Childhood, Teacher Education, Online Collaborative Team Project|
Assistant Professor, Department of Educational Specialties, School of Education, University of North Carolina Pembroke, Fayetteville, NC, USA