Australian higher education increasingly relies on flexible modes of delivery as a means of attracting and retaining students in a highly competitive global education market. While education is among those disciplines that have been most actively involved in the shift from face-to-face to online learning and teaching, the transition for many teacher educators is fraught with tensions and contradictions. For some, teaching online is seen as primarily a cost-cutting exercise on the part of universities, and has little to do with improving the quality of student learning. For others, the online environment offers multiple pedagogic possibilities that have yet to be fully explored. Yet others consider online environments as problematic, posing challenges to pedagogic and peer relationships that are generally seen as integral to 'good' teaching. This paper draws on an empirical study of teacher education faculties in five Australian universities, and analyses excerpts from interviews about learning and teaching with teacher educators, educational designers and faculty management. We argue that understanding how teacher educators constitute learner and teacher subjectivities through their beliefs about and approaches to pedagogy is crucial to the future of online tertiary education. In particular, we consider how teacher educators' attitudes toward and approaches to online learning and teaching are predicated on their perceived subject positions as either 'stimulating' or 'simulating' particular kinds of learning interactions.
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