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Abstract

Course design is viewed as a critical component of student success in online classes. The purpose of this qualitative multi-case study was to examine student perceptions of course design elements that supported student success. The study included three data sources for each of the three cases: responses to questionnaires, written responses during online peer discussions, and course data/documents. The course studied was a prerequisite to student teaching in the post-baccalaureate online teacher certification program at a small, rural, Midwestern university. Guiding this research was the idea that a fundamental pedagogical shift is needed for online student success due to asynchronous communication and the necessity of extensive course pre-planning. Looking through this lens, findings unique to supporting online learning were uncovered. Case study students placed great value on strong course organization, time-flexible feedback, confidence in the instructor’s content ability and consistent support, and relevance of both feedback and coursework.

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