Mathematics teacher educators (MTEs) often self-analyse by evaluating the results of their work. This brings with it the risk of producing too personal and contextually specific results, which cannot be generalised. The figure of researcher-teacher, a typical Italian facet, can be a solution to the self-referential problem of the MTE. We will develop our arguments analysing the role of researcher-teachers and showing their function as brokers in planning and managing massive open online courses (MOOCs) for teacher education. Our analysis is based on the MOOC’s Zone Theory, a theoretical model adapted to the MOOC’s environment of two theoretical frames: the meta-didactical transposition model (MDT), elaborated by Arzarello and others, and Valsiner’s Zone Theory used by Goos. In the chapter, we illustrate the parts of the MOOC’s Zone Theory theoretical framework that are useful to analyse MTEs’ expertise, learning and development whilst working on the design of, and coaching within, MOOCs.
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