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Distance education environments can take many forms, from asynchronous to blended synchronous environments. Blended synchronous learning environment (BSLE) can be defined as an innovative setting in which students can decide to attend classes either face-to-face or via a synchronous virtual connection. Many educators are unfamiliar teaching in BSLE because of lack of experience or exposure to this delivery method. Thus, it is important to understand the optimal organisational structures and the effective management of BSLE courses to facilitate student learning and interaction. Seeking to understand this teaching method, an exploratory mixed-method study was conducted to examine graduate students’ perceptions of the BSLE. Quantitative and qualitative data was collected from a questionnaire and analysed. The findings revealed that students were satisfied with the BSLE, interactions, and the instructor. However, findings showed that the instructor divided attention between face-to-face and online synchronous students, which can cause cognitive overload and compromise the quality of instruction. Additionally, this study suggests that technical difficulties can affect students’ satisfaction with BSLE courses. Implications for further research and limitations are discussed.
Students Motives and Satisfaction with Studies in the Area of Natural Sciences and Their Willingness to Continue Studies in Teacher Education
Natural sciences teachers have a key role to play in creating knowledge and skills. However, Estonian students' interest in studying natural sciences and their willingness to continue studies in teacher education have decreased. This study was designed to assess: 1) how clear the students' motives to study natural sciences was; 2) how the clarity of motives relate to student satisfaction with their studies and 3) how student satisfaction with studies relate to their interest in continuing studies in teacher education. The participants of the study (N=92) were natural sciences students at Tallinn University. The data was collected using an adapted Learning and Studying Questionnaire by Entwistle et al. (2002) and questions designed by the authors of the study. The SPSS programme was used to analyse the data. The results of the study show that carefully planned curriculum selection and positive learning experiences increase student willingness to choose teacher education.
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