E-Fellows in Focus - Dr. Tracey Hoffman

E-Fellows in Focus: Dr. Tracey Hoffman Miami Regionals E-Campus E-Fellows in Focus: Dr. Tracey Hoffman Miami Regionals E-Campus
By:  Kelly Lovell     E-Campus Logo

Dr. Tracey Hoffman

Dr. Tracey Hoffman received her Doctorate at the University of Cincinnati in the area of Early Childhood Special Education. She is an Associate Professor and Coordinator for the Prekindergarten Associate degree at Miami Regionals. Her research interests include Quality Child Care for all Children (including behavior problems and developmental delays), and Non-traditional Students and Online Teacher Education.

E-Fellowship Research

At the time of Hoffman’s fellowship, the Prekindergarten associate degree had recently been moved to a fully online program. Hoffman used her fellowship opportunity to research the impact of going from a face-to-face format to an online format. Dr. Hoffman collected survey data from two of her Prekindergarten courses (EDT 273 and FSW 283) to learn how students perceived the amount and level of social presence in those courses. After gathering the initial survey data in 2017, Hoffman presented her initial findings at the 2017 Lilly Conference. The research questions were as follows:

  1. Is social presence a high priority or important factor for education students (pre-service teachers) taking online courses?
  2. Do online teacher education courses in the current study promote social presence?

hoffman-tracey.pngSince the Prekindergarten associate degree had recently gone fully online, this was the perfect time to research the impact of going from a face-to-face format to an online format. I was looking for an opportunity to do some research with a group of individuals who could support my ideas and help me to explore different aspects of social presence in online teacher preparation. [The fellowship program] supported me during the entire process.

E-Fellowship Project Details

The Prekindergarten Associate degree program, offered at Miami University Regional Campuses, is a teacher preparation program designed for students planning to teach children birth through age five in a childcare or preschool setting. Many students in the program are non-traditional, often working full-time and caring for family members. The program was changed from face-to-face to a fully online format to improve access for these non-traditional students.

As the program launched, the researchers were concerned about the impact of moving to a fully online format on the online social learning environment. Students from two online Prekindergarten courses were invited to complete a survey to learn more about their perceptions of social presence in the online courses. Additionally, a small group of randomly selected students was invited to participate in an interview. Study participants reported that the new online format created a more attainable way to earn their associate degree that they would not have been able to do if the program was in a face-to-face format. However, some students also stated that social presence was not a high priority since their primary goal was to earn a degree.


In January of 2020, Dr. Hoffman, along with Thomas Mays, published the article: “Social Presence In An Online Teacher Education Program: Preservice Teacher Perceptions” in The Online Journal of New Horizons in Education.


Dr. Hoffman and Jane Lance presented at Miami University’s Lilly Conference on College Teaching. This conference is a place for teacher-scholars from across the U.S. and internationally to gather and share innovative pedagogies and discuss questions, challenges, and insights about teaching and learning. Hoffman and Lance presented: “Social Presence in an Online Prekindergarten Teacher Education Program: How Do We Keep Students Connected and Engaged?”

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