School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy


Dina Samora


Community College, Student Evaluations, Online, Instructors, Feedback, Higher Education, Leadership


Education | Educational Leadership | Higher Education


The purpose of this qualitative transcendental phenomenological study was to explore how community college online course instructors at a large community college in the Deep South experience students’ feedback to reevaluate course quality and instruction. The central question of the study regarded how community college online instructors experience receiving and engaging with student evaluations. The theory guiding this study was Knowles’s theory of andragogy as it provides a framework for understanding adult learning, including those of adult learners in community college contexts as well as those instructors receiving and responding to student evaluations of teaching. A total of 11 instructors who teach online courses through a community college were recruited, and data resulting from in-depth, unstructured interviews, reflective journal entries, and document collection were analyzing using the phenomenological approach defined by Moustakas (1994). Results indicated that instructors valued and acted upon honest feedback targeting specific problems, particularly related to exam preparation. Instructors noted disregarding feedback perceived to be untimely or vague and suggested preferring to rely on class-based informal evaluations for insights into students’ learning needs and responses to instruction. Future research should further engage with the relative value of formal and informal student feedback, as well as to examine the experiences of instructors at institutions where no formal process for receiving student feedback of teaching exists. In all, the results reveal that evaluation can, if used and assessed correctly, provide significant value in terms of improving educational design, course content, test preparedness, and the ability to fulfill the needs of all students in a class. Hence, evaluation and feedback are of great importance and require significant executive decision making from teachers to navigate and utilize effectively.