Online Learning: Effective Teaching, Instructor Presence and Student Satisfaction

Concurrent Session 4

Brief Abstract

As the enrollment in online learning is increasing instructors and facilitators must be aware of student concerns and needs which lead to student satisfaction. The Seven Principles of Effective Teaching applied to online courses will be discussed along with an emphasis of instructor presence in the online learning environment compared to face-to-face.


Dr. Cutsinger is an Assistant Professor in the online MSW program at Indiana Wesleyan University. Dr. Cutsinger completed a MSW degree from University of Missouri with an emphasis in mental health and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a minor in Social Work from Missouri Western State University. Dr. Cutsinger completed a Doctorate in Education in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She is a licensed clinical social worker in Missouri. Dr. Cutsinger has been working in the social work field for 20 years providing services in community mental health centers, women’s abuse shelter, sheltered workshops, alternative school and community college. Over the course of her career, Dr. Cutsinger has worked with those diagnosed with a chronic mental illness, developmental disability, substance abuse problems and dual diagnosis in both individual and group settings. She has held a private contract with the local abuse shelter and has supervised social work students working toward degree completion. She worked in a community college setting for almost 16 years focused on student success, program development and program administration. Dr. Cutsinger has written and secured over four million dollars in grant funding to assist disadvantaged students to enroll and complete a degree in higher education. Dr. Cutsinger has taught social science courses for the past 14 years.
Dr. Theresa Veach is the Director of the Behavioral Sciences Department at Indiana Wesleyan University. She is the first author of Cancer and the Family Life Cycle and currently oversees graduate and undergraduate programs in Psychology, Social Work, Addictions Counseling and Human Services. She is an advocate for integrated, program curriculum with an emphasis on experiential and project-based learning.

Additional Authors

Extended Abstract

According to Seide (2016) it is estimated that 5.8 million college students are enrolled in at least one online course. The demand for online learning is increasing but students still have concerns regarding some aspects of the online learning environment. One of the primary concerns students have expressed regarding the online learning environment is the amount of instructor interaction (Jaggars, 2014; Queiros and de Villiers, 2016; Tichavsky, Hunt, Driscoll, & Jicha, 2015). This 45-minute session will be based on studies completed by the presenters. The studies focus on the online learning environment and making it the most learning conducive and supportive environment.

One of the studies was based on Chickering and Gamson’s Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education and the application of those principles in measuring online courses. Another study utilized aspects of the Community of Inquiry and focused on instructor presence in the online environment compared to the face-to-face environment. These studies provide much information regarding successful online courses.

Discussion during this session will focus on the level of instructor presence in an online learning environment. Many questions could be addressed during this session: What is instructor presence? Can the level of instructor presence in an online course be similar to that in a face-to-face course? Does instructor presence impact course outcome? Which is more important to a student: student-to-student interaction or student-to-teacher interaction? Instructor presence and course satisfaction, what is the relationship? What are some aspects of online learning that students expect? Where do we go from here? How do we facilitate instructor presence and student satisfaction?

This session will provide attendees with information that can be incorporated into the online learning environment. Discussion and information presented (supported through research) will be facilitated by the researchers however attendees will contribute by sharing their experiences in teaching and evaluating in the online learning environment. It is paramount that we as instructors are meeting the needs of the course, institution and most important the students and this session will assist in meeting all those needs.