The Effect of Transparent Instructor Guidelines on Student Success and Satisfaction in Online Classrooms: Curriculum Design and Effective Online Learning

By Adam Selhorst, Lori Williams and Mingzhen Bao.

Published by The International Journal of Adult, Community and Professional Learning

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Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: June 9, 2017 Free Download

Research evaluating the influence of explicit time-on-task (TOT) recommendations as well as transparent faculty turnaround time on student success and satisfaction is sparse. As such, the objective of this study was to determine the effect of TOT guidance and faculty feedback turnaround transparency on both student success and satisfaction. It was hypothesized that including estimated TOT for completion of assignments in conjunction with a clear turnaround time for faculty feedback would lead to enhanced student success and satisfaction. To test this hypothesis, utilizing multiple sections of identical online underclass courses running concurrently at Ashford University, estimated TOT and turnaround time for faculty feedback was added to instructions of assignments in eighteen sections of five courses (n = 524 students), to assignments and discussions in sixty-one sections (n = 1662 students), and compared to ninety-six control sections (n = 1662 students) with no TOT or faculty feedback turnaround time expectations included. Control and experimental sections were compared for student success metrics including course GPA, withdraw rate, fail rate, and progression rate, as well as student satisfaction as measured by results on the student End of Course Survey (EoCS). Results found no significant differences in either student success or satisfaction between experimental and control groups in opposition to the hypothesis. Results indicate a potential resistance to change in study habits exhibited by adult online learners in accelerated undergraduate courses. Future investigation into the effects of TOT and faculty feedback expectations in upper division and graduate courses may provide additional significance.

Keywords: Time on Task, Feedback Expectations, Distance Learning

The International Journal of Adult, Community and Professional Learning, Volume 24, Issue 2, pp.1-13. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: June 9, 2017 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 375.569KB)).

Dr. Adam Selhorst

Executive Dean in the College of Liberal Arts, College of Liberal Arts, Ashford University, San Diego, California, USA

Lori Williams

Professor, College of Education, Ashford University, San Diego, California, USA

Dr. Mingzhen Bao

Associate Dean, College of Liberal Arts, Ashford University, San Diego, California, USA