Students' perceptions about online teaching effectiveness: A bottom-up approach for identifying online instructors’ roles

Pilar Gómez-Rey, Elena Barbera, Francisco Fernández-Navarro


The topic of online instructors’ roles has been of interest to the educational community since the late twentieth century. In previous studies, the identification of online instructors’ roles was done using a top-down (deductive) approach. This study applied a bottom-up (inductive) procedure to examine not only the roles of online instructors from a student perspective, but also how well these roles are implemented in practice. In the first stage, roles were defined using factor analysis on a sample of 925 students. A questionnaire was created after an extensive literature review and in-depth interviews with experts. The methodology detected six roles: pedagogical, course designer, social, life skills promoter, technical, and managerial. In the second stage, students’ scores were projected over those factors to obtain the instructors’ performance in each role (the significance of the results was assessed using non-parametric tests). Main findings included: (i) the emergence of a new role, the life skills promoter; (ii) online scenarios becoming more transparent and intuitive due to syllabus design; (iii) the consideration of more audio-visual resources by instructors in asynchronous learning environments; and (iv) the value of offering guidelines to students for collaborative activities to reduce the level of frustration with these activities.


21st century; Asynchronous learning; Students’ perceptions; Teaching effectiveness; Online learning

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