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This study assessed the unique contribution of quality of faculty feedback in the first course of online master degree programs, by itself, on a wide range of student educational effectiveness indicators: retention, degree completion, performance in the integrative capstone course, overall program GPA, and overall program time-to-degree while statistically controlling for the effects of student academic performance in the same first course. This assessment was conducted in the context of the Robust Learning Model with Spiral Curriculum. Using logistic regression and multiple regression models, the results of this study confirmed that not only the quality of faculty feedback was crucial to student learning and educational outcomes but this element was of utmost importance in the first core course in an online master degree program. The study presented several important conclusions and evidence for the improvement of online learning. One of the most promising paths for improving online degree program's educational effectiveness was the selection of faculty for teaching the core courses of the program.

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Originally published in the Journal of Instructional Technology & Distance Learning, 14(3), 105-115. Licensed under CC BY-NC; educational and non-profit purposes only. The original material can be found here.