Social presence – connecting pre-service teachers as learners using a blended learning model
The national reform agenda for early childhood education and care across Australia has led to an increased demand for qualified early childhood teachers. In response, universities have developed innovative approaches in delivering early childhood teacher education courses designed to support existing diploma qualified educators to gain their teaching qualifications. One such course at a major Australian University incorporated a flexible multi-modal option of study which included community-based, on line e-learning and face-to-face intensive tutorials. This paper reports on a study examining the outcomes for students undertaking their studies using this course delivery mode. The study sought to examine the students’ perceptions of the efficacy of the teaching and learning approach in meeting their learning needs, and the factors that were most influential in informing these perceptions. The findings indicated that it was the inclusion of contact and a social presence in the online learning environment which was most influential.