Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair(s)

Byron R. Burnham, James P. Shaver


Byron R. Burnham


James P. Shaver


Lani M. Van Dusen


J. Nicholls Eastmond


Susan L. Crowley


The associations of student ratings of instruction and courses (SRIC) with noninstructional variables (e.g., class size, expected grade) were examined in three instructional delivery groups--on-campus , off-campus face-to-face , and distance education courses. Factor analysis of SRIC from a 20-item form yielded two highly correlated factors , which differed somewhat across the groups ("Course " and "Instruction"; "Course/Instruction" and "Interaction Opportunities /Instructor Availability"; "Course/Instruction" and "Interaction Opportunities/Helpfulness"). The only educationally significant(r2 > .05) zero-order correlations were between SRIC total scores and expected grade, and were positive in all three groups(r2 = .07, .08, .06). In multiple regression analyses, 9%, 11 %, and 15% of the variance in SRIC for the three groups was explained by the entire set of noninstructional variables. Unique indices were consistent with the finding that expected grade was the only noninstructional variable with an educationally significant relationship with SRIC.

In a separate study, SRIC and the instructor's social presence in host- and remote-site groups were investigated. Remote-site students rated course management lower, on average, than host-site students did, and educationally significant, positive relationships were found between social presence scores and the ratings on four SRIC categories. In addition , remote-site students at smaller sites tended to rate instruction and course satisfaction, as well as the instructor's social presence, higher than students at larger sites.

In an additional investigation, students' ratings of teacher immediacy and reports of teacher-student interaction in distance education courses were analyzed. Host-site students tended to rate teacher immediacy higher than remote-site students did, and the negative association of site size with nonverbal teacher immediacy scores was educationally significant for host sites. Host-site students also tended to report more interaction with their instructors than remote-site students did, and mean reported interaction with the instructor was associated positively with site size and ratings of teacher immediacy.

Based on the differing SRIC factorial structures for on-campus and off-campus students, the identification of distance-education-specific noninstructional variables, problems with obtaining SRIC from students in on-line courses, and evidence on the noninstructional-variable-related theory of teacher immediacy, suggestions were made for future research on student satisfaction and perceptions of teaching effectiveness in distance education.



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