Shaping the future of distance learning in teacher education: MOOCS during COVID-19




Distance learning, COVID-19, MOOCs, Initial teacher education, Pre-service teachers, Education policy


The current research aimed to investigate the perceptions of pre-service students regarding the usefulness and contribution of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) in initial teacher education programmes, particularly in times of emergency. Participants comprised 202 second-career pre-service students who enrolled in alternative teacher education programmes during COVID-19. On average, students studied 4–5 courses that were a mandatory component of their programme. Students completed an anonymous, voluntary, self-report questionnaire at the end of their studies. Findings show that students found the MOOCs to be a good teaching model. They were satisfied with their MOOC studies and reported their learning experience to be significantly more rewarding and positive than lonely and stressful. Learning outcomes were ranked high. In terms of the usefulness and contribution of the MOOCs, three student profiles were identified. The “zealous” type is enthralled by the merits of MOOCs including their impact on their future teaching, professional development and lifelong learning. The “guarded” type perceives only some of the MOOCs’ attributes as positive, primarily convenience, independent learning and studying a variety of courses with well-known experts. The “pragmatic” type is highly opportunistic and utilitarian, perceiving MOOCs only as a means to overcoming barriers of time and place. Finally, students who study more MOOCs perceive them as having a positive impact on their future teaching, acknowledge their importance in times of crisis and opt for including a higher proportion of MOOCs in initial teacher education programmes. The favourable impact of studying several MOOCs as part of an initial teacher education programme is one of the main findings of the current research highlighting the importance of students experiencing several such courses during their pre-service studies.


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How to Cite

Donitsa-Schmidt, S., Ramot, R., & Topaz, B. (2022). Shaping the future of distance learning in teacher education: MOOCS during COVID-19. Perspectives in Education, 40(1), 250-267.