Special Educator Course Format Preferences





Online, hybrid, synchronous, asynchronous


Online special education courses and programs are widely available and provide pathways for both initial certification and in-service professional learning. Despite the wider availability of online special educator courses and programs due to the COVID pandemic, very limited research about special education candidates and educator preferences for online courses is available. This study included 965 special education teachers and paraprofessionals who completed an online survey of their preferences about various special education course formats and lengths. Results indicated that special educator course format and length preferences varied and that fully online courses are not uniformly the top choice. Findings also suggested that shorter online courses (e.g., 7-weeks) are best suited to knowledge-based topics, while skills-based courses benefit from longer course duration (e.g., 15-weeks). Implications for special education program delivery are discussed.

Author Biography

Rachel Brown-Chidsey, University of Southern Maine

Special Education Department


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Section II