Overall, our findings indicate that while well-organized courses with well-specified learning objectives may be desirable, these qualities may not have an impact on student grades per se. In addition, while students appreciated courses that leveraged appropriate learning technologies (in contrast to courses that were extremely reading-heavy), that factor also did not necessarily impact student grades. Only the area of interpersonal interaction predicted student grades in the course.
While it is difficult to draw definitive conclusions due to our small sample size, it seems that courses in which the instructor posted frequently, invited student questions through a variety of modalities, responded to student queries quickly, solicited and incorporated student feedback, and (perhaps most importantly) demonstrated a sense of “caring” created an online environment that encouraged students to commit themselves to the course and perform at a stronger academic level.Jaggars / Xu, 2016, p. 280
Jaggars, Shanna Smith; Di Xu (2016): How do online course design features influence student performance? In: Computers & Education 95, S. 270–284.