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

  • Pilar Gómez-Rey Universitat Oberta de Catalunya
  • Elena Barbera Universitat Oberta de Catalunya
  • Francisco Fernández-Navarro Universidad Loyola Andalucía
Keywords: 21st century, Asynchronous learning, Students’ perceptions, Teaching effectiveness, Online learning


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.


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Author Biographies

Pilar Gómez-Rey, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya

Pilar Gómez-Rey received her PhD in Education and ICT (e-learning) at the Universitat Oberta Catalunya, UOC (Spain) in 2017. Currently she is working as a postdoctoral researcher at UOC. She has published several papers in reputed journals (Education and Educational Technology) and participated in different international conferences.  Her main research interest includes the development of new models for measuring quality in online learning scenarios. 

Elena Barbera, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya

Elena Barbera PhD in Educational Psychology. Senior researcher and Director of the PhD program Education and ICT (e-learning) at Universitat Oberta Catalunya (Spain). Her research is focused in the area of educational psychology and self-regulation in e-learning. She is also the head of the e-DUS research group (Distance School and University education).

Francisco Fernández-Navarro, Universidad Loyola Andalucía

Francisco Fernández-Navarro received the PhD degree in computer science and artificial intelligence in 2011. He was a research fellow in computational management with the European Space Agency, Noordwijk (The Netherlands) and currently he is working as Associate Professor at the Universidad Loyola Andalucía (Spain). 


How to Cite
Gómez-Rey, P., Barbera, E., & Fernández-Navarro, F. (2018). Students’ perceptions about online teaching effectiveness: A bottom-up approach for identifying online instructors’ roles. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 34(1).