The Design and Development of an Online, Case-based Course in a Teacher Preparation Program

Carmen M. Peña
The University of Texas Pan American


The goals of this study were to: 1) design a web-based course using WebCT for future secondary school teachers at the University of Texas Pan American, 2) evaluate the effectiveness of the course, and 3) provide a set of guidelines for designing web-based courses for other teacher educators. The participants in this study consisted of junior- and senior-level students enrolled in a secondary, teacher education program at the University of Texas Pan American. There were 17 participants, 71% were female and 29% were male. All of the participants fit at least one of the characteristics of a “nontraditional” student. All of them were married, employed full-time, over the age of 30 and 63% had one or more children. Participants completed a pretest prior to instruction and a posttest following instruction to measure achievement gains. The study was divided into two phases; participants completed a pretest and a posttest for phase I and phase II. A t-test for dependent samples was used to determine if the mean scores on the posttest were significantly higher than the mean score on the pretest for phases I and II. The results of the t-test for phase I indicated that students scored significantly higher on the posttest (M = 74.63) than on the pretest (M = 57.72; t=5.56, p = .05). In phase II, students scored higher on the posttest (M = 80.21) than on the pretest (M = 76.84); however this difference was not statistically significant. Overall, the results indicated that the course was effective. The study concludes with a set of recommendations for designing/teaching an online course for teacher educators.

About the Author(s)...

Carmen M. Peña is an assistant professor in the College of Education at the University of Texas Pan American. She teaches two courses in the secondary program, one involving human development, learning theory, motivation and instructional planning and the other involving strategies for student teachers. Dr. Peña’s current research interests are in the areas of online learning, case-based instruction and electronic mentoring. She may be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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