Student perceptions of the effectiveness of group and individualized feedback in online courses


  • Philip Ice American Public University System
  • Lori Kupczynski University of Texas-Pan American
  • Randy Wiesenmayer West Virginia University
  • Perry Phillips West Virginia University



online learning, feedback, teaching presence


While an abundance of research exists on best practices in the face-to-face classroom, the same is not true for online learning. In this new and constantly evolving environment, researchers are just beginning to understand what constitutes effective learning strategies. One of the most well recognized models for explaining online learning is the Community of Inquiry Framework (CoI). However, despite its recent empirical validation, the CoI provides only general indicators of effectiveness, not guides to specific practices. This study looks at a common practice, providing students with feedback, and assesses whether narrowly targeted, individualized feedback or group feedback is more effective. Through mixed methods research the authors examined student preferences and strategies by student level, finding that while there is no one best solution there are strategies that appear most appropriate for different learner levels. Suggestions for implementing best practices and directions for future research are also discussed.

Author Biographies

Philip Ice, American Public University System

Director of Course Design, Research and Development for American Public University System. His research interests focus on two interrelated areas. First, Philip is interested in the Community of Inquiry Framework and how it can be applied to improving the quality of online learning. Second, he is interested in how new and emerging technologies impact Teaching and Cognitive Presence within the CoI. For his work with emerging technologies, Philip won Sloan-C's 2007 Effective Practice of the Year Award.

Lori Kupczynski, University of Texas-Pan American

Instructional Designer at the Center for Online Learning, Teaching and Technology at the University of Texas-Pan American. Her work focus is training faculty to teach successfully in the online environment so that students and faculty feel it has been a high-level learning experience. She is very interested in the online environment, specifically as it applies to the adult learner, and focuses all of her research, design, and teaching in that area.

Randy Wiesenmayer, West Virginia University

Professor of curriculum and instruction at West Virginia University. Randy's research interests are focused on exploring how to more effectively create an awareness of global climatic change issues among pre-service and in-service teachers. With respect to online learning, Randy has been teaching online since 1997 and pioneered a large-scale online continuing education initiative for teachers in West Virginia.

Perry Phillips, West Virginia University

Retired as an associate professor from West Virginia University in 2007. However, he continues to teach online courses there as an adjunct in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction/Literacy Studies. Perry is interested in how to effectively facilitate collaborative projects in the online environment.




How to Cite

Ice, P., Kupczynski, L., Wiesenmayer, R., & Phillips, P. (2008). Student perceptions of the effectiveness of group and individualized feedback in online courses. First Monday, 13(11).