Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Secondary Education

Major Professor

Barbara S. Spector, Ph.D.


Distance learning, WebCT, Science education reform, STS, Constructivism


College and university teacher education programs are not, and should not be, exempt from the growing demand for distance education opportunities. Science teacher education is no exception to this growing demand. While there are some distance-learning courses and even complete programs for teacher education, the majority of these are offered as continuing education or post-graduate education opportunities. The number of programs offered specifically in science teacher education (either undergraduate or post-graduate) is extremely limited. Those distance-learning classes that are available for teacher education rarely reflect the instruction expected from teachers by the National Science Education Standards when they enter the K-12 classroom. With the demand for distance education rising, it is important to determine if it is possible for the distance-learning format to be an effective form of delivery for quality preservice science teacher education programs. The research herein took the form of a qualitative case study of two sections of a Science Technology and Society Interaction (STS) course offered via a distance-learning format. (For the purposes of this study, distance-learning courses are defined as those that are offered using online delivery.) The research investigated the extent to which the course incorporated the principles of science education reform. The study took the form of an evaluative case study and provided a rich description of the course itself as well as the nature of the interactions and meanings constructed by students. The course was determined to be an example of a distance learning opportunity that exhibits the desired ideology. Insights gained here were used to illuminate some guiding principles for developing courses for distance delivery that exhibit principles consistent with science education reform.