Date of Conferral

1-1-2008

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Management

Advisor

Reza G. Hamzaee

Abstract

In recent years, institutions of higher education have dramatically increased the number of online courses and degree programs offered to students, and yet it remains unclear what factors determine student satisfaction with online course and instructor effectiveness. Accordingly, the purpose of this exploratory correlation study was to examine how factors related to courses and instructors contributed to student perceptions of course quality (CQ) and instructor effectiveness (IE). Six stepwise regression procedures assessed the effects of specific course and instructor characteristics on perceptions of CQ and IE across one year of course evaluation data collected in a northeastern 2-year college. Results revealed that IE, quality of readings and assignments, and quality of threaded discussions had significant effects on CQ. In turn, student ratings of CQ, instructor-inspired interest in course material, and instructor availability and helpfulness had significant effects on IE. The results of the study can allow higher education administrators to make more effective decisions regarding online instruction and course structure, thus leading to increases in student persistence and success within online courses and programs.