Submitting Campus



STEM Education

Document Type


Publication/Presentation Date

Spring 2021


Various instructor qualities have been shown to have variable influences student outcomes in online courses. In this study, the impact of faculty quality on student performance was examined by comparing student performance when taught by excellent faculty and average faculty (determined through administrative evaluations). We examined 328 student grades from a 2019 January term 200 level elementary statistics course. Student performance measures included final course scores, grade distributions and pass rates. Learning modality (asynchronous vs. synchronous) and course design (e.g. syllabus, textbook, assignment and assessment design, etc.) as confounding variables were controlled through the template approach implemented at the study institution. The statistical analysis of the influence of modality ensured that modality was a controlled variable as there was no statistically significant difference in student outcomes across the online course modalities studied. There was no statistically significant difference in learner outcomes between students who were taught by faculty rated excellent compared to those taught by faculty rated average. It is likely that the standardized nature of the courses combined with the mandatory faculty training in online teaching and learning best practices minimized differences between instructors. Future research should examine more specific indicators of faculty quality such as social presence in online discussions and teaching presence in feedback. Furthermore, future research could examine the influence of faculty gender on student outcomes in online modalities.

Publication Title

Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration


University of West Georgia