Examining Teachers’ Roles in Online Learning

Qiang Huang


Online learning has been used in the literature to cover diverse learning contexts ranging from blended learning, distance learning, virtual learning and web-enhanced learning. Many aspects of online learning have become the focuses of research and teacher roles are one of them. The present study, therefore, intends to examine how 153 university students perceived the roles of their teachers in online learning of a blended English course by using a 27-item and 5-Likert-scale questionnaire (the STRI). Results of statistical analyses showed that the Cronbach’s Alpha value of the entire questionnaire was .955 and those of the three sub-roles were all above .891, indicating that both the questionnaire and the three factors of sub-roles were reliable and valid. Further analyses revealed that the three sub-roles of teachers, i.e., the cognitive role, the affective role and the managerial role, were significantly different from each other. Among them, the means of the managerial role was significantly higher than that of the cognitive role while the means of the affective role was the lowest. Results of descriptive statistics also revealed that keeping a record of students’ learning in the managerial role was quite notable for students. The findings suggest that the roles of teachers in online learning as a whole were reduced. However, the managerial role was more notable than the other two roles and the affective role was the least impactful in the online learning context in this study. The researcher believes that these findings may offer some insights to classroom implications and provide the basis for future studies of comparing teacher roles across different educational contexts.


teacher roles; online learning; cognitive role; affective role; managerial role

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