Personalized Versus Collective Instructor Feedback in the Online Courseroom: Does Type of Feedback Affect Student Satisfaction, Academic Performance and Perceived Connectedness With the Instructor?
The demand for online learning has never been greater. For faculty, teaching in the virtual classroom requires a new set of skills and practices. Online instructors must prepare for the increased written communication demands that accompany online education, such as the large amount of time needed to respond to student inquiries and to provide feedback on assignments. The purpose of this comparative study was to determine if there were significant differences in student satisfaction, performance, and perceived “connectedness” to the instructor when the instructor used collective versus personalized feedback. In addition, this study examined two other variables: the time required to deliver the type of feedback as well as students’ prior experience with online learning. Four online health courses were randomly assigned to one of two treatment groups: personalized or collective. Students in the personalized group received individual feedback from the instructor on each assignment. Students in the collective group received a collective feedback document from the instructor that summarized overall class performance, ways to improve, and student perspectives. Data were collected using an online survey and course evaluations. The findings revealed that students who received personalized feedback were more satisfied and performed academically better than students who received only collective feedback. Furthermore, prior online experience moderately predicted student satisfaction and performance. However, no significant findings were found between treatment groups and the variable of perceived connectedness. This study serves as a springboard for future studies examining how instructor-student interaction affects student learning and satisfaction within the online classroom.