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Abstract

This case study explores the role of the online instructor and how they influence student satisfaction. While there has been a substantial body of literature on what impacts on student satisfaction when students study online, there is far less literature focussing on how the instructor mediates this satisfaction, in particular satisfaction related to quality of feedback and teaching. This case study addresses this gap by exploring the performance of two instructors across six fully online courses in a post graduate managerial leadership course. Course evaluation data (quantitative and qualitative) frequency and content of instructor postings, and social network maps were considered in exploring what influenced student satisfaction with feedback and quality of teaching in a fully online unit. The outcomes of the case study corroborate with what is beginning to appear in the literature, that is, the central role the instructor plays in influencing student satisfaction. The importance of teaching and social presence, driven by the instructor, appears to be an important factor driving learning quality. This has implications for recruitment and retention as well as for training and development of online instructors.

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