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To operationalize the concept of “substantive faculty interaction,” researchers at Regis University used exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis to determine what online teaching practices have the highest impact on students’ perception of faculty-to-student engagement. A three-component model that accounts for 70% of the variance was identified. The components consisted of high-touch, design, and high-tech teaching practices. The high-touch component accounted for the largest percentage of the variance and the six teaching practices that comprise this component are recommended to become requirements for online teachers. They include: (1) Actively engaging in discussion boards (load of .8000), (2) Getting to know faculty (.7851), (3) Present multiple times per week (.7752), (4) Soliciting feedback (.7424) (5) Individual feedback on assignments (.6991) and (6) posting weekly announcements (.6735). Universities now have an operationalized definition of “substantive faculty interaction” that has been statistically validated.



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