Student Perceptions of Feedback from Teachers in Online Courses: An Integrative Review

Concurrent Session 4
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Brief Abstract

Teacher online feedback to students is an integral aspect of teaching/learning. In this presentation, researchers share study results of student perceptions about teacher online feedback in higher education. The researchers explain student perceptions, preferred feedback format, support for teacher social presence, research appraisals, and Scholarship of Teaching and Learning implications.


Dr. Nancyruth Leibold is an energetic and passionate nurse educator who launched her nursing career in 1981. Nancyruth has nursing experience in critical care, medical/surgical nursing, public health nursing, health leadership education, and nursing education. Dr. Leibold has served as a Staff Nurse, Travel Nurse, Nursing Coordinator, Director of Nursing, Nurse Researcher, and Nurse Educator. She has an EdD from College of Saint Mary, MS in Nursing from Creighton University, and BSN from Nebraska Wesleyan University. Nancyruth completed a certificate program from Minnesota State University-Mankato in Faculty Teaching and a certificate program at Minnesota State University-Mankato for Excellence in Online Teaching. Nancyruth is a Certified Nurse Educator (CNE) through the National League for Nursing. Also, Dr. Leibold has a certificate in teaching online from the University of New South Wales in Australia. Nancyruth is a Reiki Master/Teacher and certified in mindfulness as a meditation guide and forgiveness coach. Dr. Leibold holds Advanced Holistic Nurse-Board Certification. Dr. Leibold’s research interests include holistic nursing and health, civility, nursing education, online nursing, instructional technology, feedback, and teaching strategies. Nancyruth is active in Sigma Theta Tau International, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the National League for Nursing, and the American Holistic Nursing Association. She is also an active member of the Watson Caring Science Institute, Society for the Advancement of Modeling and Role Modeling, and Association of Nursing Professional Development. Nancyruth is an active Quality Matters Master Reviewer. Nancyruth is a reviewer for the Journal of Nursing Scholarship, Journal of Effective Teaching, and the Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practices. She is a Sigma Theta Tau International Virginia Henderson Fellow. Dr. Leibold is the Editor of Health Sciences at MERLOT. Nancyruth has received numerous nursing awards and teaching awards, such as the Caring in Nursing Award from the Sisters of the Incarnate Word at Saint Joseph’s Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas, the Outstanding Faculty Award from the nursing student body at Creighton University, and the Excellence in Nursing Award from Sigma Theta Tau, Nu Rho Chapter. In 2013, Dr. Leibold received the Midwest/Heartland Nursing Excellence Educator and Mentor GEM award from She received the 2014 National Nurse Educator Award from Wilson Shepard Associates. In 2014, Nancyruth received the Phyllis Roseberry Service Award from Sigma Theta Tau International, Mu Lambda Chapter. Dr. Leibold received the 2018 Excellence in Nursing Leadership Award from the Nursing Honor Society! In May of 2018, Dr. Leibold was awarded 'Lesson of the Week' for a virtual lesson she authored: Comprehensive School Health Program by SoftChalk! In March of 2020, Dr. Leibold was honored to receive the 2020 Excellence in Nursing Leadership Award from the Omega Omicron Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International. In March of 2021, Nancyruth received three awards from MERLOT: The MERLOT House Cup, The MERLOT Rising Start, and the Peer Reviewer Extraordinaire Award. Dr. Leibold began developing web pages for her courses in 1994, and her passion for distance and online teaching/learning has only grown since then. Nancyruth, a Certified Nurse Educator, has completed several online teaching/learning certificates. During a 2014 Presidential Teaching Scholar Fellowship from Minnesota State University, Mankato, she authored and designed virtual instructional modules and a virtual simulation about civility and conflict management for nurses. Multimodal publications are a favorite of Nancyruth, and she has written many for her online courses. Nancyruth has many professional presentations, grant awards, book chapter publications, multimodal publications, textbooks, and peer-reviewed journal article publications. Nancyruth recently published the second edition of her textbook: The Praxis of Critical Thinking in Nursing. She published the first edition of The Art and Science of Evidence-based practice in Nursing in 2020. In early 2021, she published a textbook for Health Educators titled Community Health and Health Promotion. Also in 2021 Nancyruth authored, edited, and published two holistic nursing textbooks that are Open Textbooks and found at MERLOT, Health Sciences.

Extended Abstract

Introduction of Topic and Background: Feedback from teachers to students in higher education is a core feature of the student educational experience. Effective formative and summative teacher online feedback enhances the development of students. Well-crafted and valuable feedback can make a lasting impression on the development of a student. Student perspectives about teacher online feedback inform educators about best teaching practices from the student viewpoint. 

Research Objective: The objective of the present research study aims to explore student perceptions of teacher online feedback in higher education.

The Research Questions were:

1). What are student perceptions of teacher online feedback to students in higher education?

2). What are student perceptions of typed, handwritten, audio, and video feedback in higher education? 

3). What are student perceptions related to feedback about teacher online social presence in higher education? 

4). What are the qualities of the study methods and designs in the integrative review?

Study Design: The research design was an integrative review of evidence about teacher online feedback using Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines adjusted for integrative reviews.

Data Sources: Seven research databases, Academic Search Premier, CINAHL, Education, Education Research Complete, ERIC, OVID, and ProQuest, were searched for the latest research about teacher online feedback from 2014 to 2020. 

Study Eligibility Criteria Process:  After three rounds of article reviews were conducted by applying the inclusion and exclusion criteria; the researchers chose 12 articles for deep analysis and evaluation. 

Results: Specific teacher behaviors, such as timely, detailed, and clear online feedback, were consistent. Some students reported a lack of understanding that they should use feedback to improve future performance. A variety of student preferences were related to the format (written, typed, audio, video). Support for the theoretical framework of Community of Inquiry and conceptual framework of teacher online social presence was present in the research findings. A higher rigor of further research with designs that include control and intervention groups will allow for causality. Larger research sample sizes would improve rigor. 

Conclusions: Consistently, students reported that they prefer timely, detailed, and clear online feedback from teachers. A variance of the preferred feedback format was present from the student's perspective. The study findings support teacher social presence in the online courseroom and Community of Inquiry framework. Increased research rigor, including experimental designs in the future, is warranted to examine causality. Larger sample sizes would improve confidence in study findings.

Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) Implications: Providing online feedback to students is a complex and advanced skill for online teachers to develop. The researchers recommend framing feedback with comments such as "Please use this feedback to help you improve for the next paper and beyond!" Teachers may also include specific details, such as "Please use this feedback to help improve ____ (fill in the area to improve) for your next assignment." SoTL implications include asking students what format of online feedback (written, typed, audio, video) they prefer. Interacting with students in the online courseroom by announcements, videos, helpful tips about muddy areas, intelligent agent emails, and the discussion forum are ways to promote teacher online social presence. Online educators can use the evidence findings to inform their practice of providing timely, clear, detailed, and supportive feedback framed to help students improve their performance. Empirically-based knowledge of student perceptions about online teacher feedback in higher education is critical for application by faculty to advance the scholarship of teaching and learning.