Brief Report: The Instructor Experience of Fully Online Tertiary Mathematics: A Challenge and an Opportunity

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Sven TrenholmUniversity of South Australia

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Lara AlcockLoughborough University

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Carol RobinsonLoughborough University

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As part of a dramatic recent shift in tertiary education, many undergraduate students now learn mathematics via fully online courses. At present, the mathematics education research community knows very little about this shift, and in this report, we consider implications of an investigation into the instructor experience of fully online undergraduate mathematics courses. To compare instructor experiences of fully online and face-to-face teaching, we explored assessment schemes, feedback processes, and approaches to teaching using a survey and semistructured interviews. The main emergent theme was instructor concern about the loss of short-cycle face-to-face human interaction. We argue that this concern is serious but should be seen as an opportunity for education researchers to leverage knowledge about effective mathematics teaching to simultaneously alleviate instructors' difficulties and promote and study pedagogical development.

Contributor Notes

Sven Trenholm, School of Education, University of South Australia, Mawson Lakes Campus, Garth Boomer Building, Office G2-27, Adelaide SA 5095, Australia; sven.trenholm@unisa.edu.au

Lara Alcock, Mathematics Education Centre, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE11 3TU, United Kingdom; l.j.alcock@lboro.ac.uk

Carol Robinson, Mathematics Education Centre, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE11 3TU, United Kingdom; c.l.robinson@lboro.ac.uk

(Corresponding author is Trenholm sven.trenholm@unisa.edu.au)
(Corresponding author is Alcock l.j.alcock@lboro.ac.uk)
(Corresponding author is Robinson c.l.robinson@lboro.ac.uk)
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