Exploring Course Components as Predictors of Academic Success in an Online Psychology Course


  • John Mingoia Justice & Society, University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia; University of South Australia Online, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6222-7612
  • Brianna Le Busque UniSA Justice & Society, University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia; University of South Australia Online, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia




online, predictors, engagement, learning management system, academic outcomes


Online higher education is experiencing growth in enrolment and development which creates a need to continually evaluate the efficacy of online course delivery. Prior research reported that performance in online education is equivalent to traditional face-to-face delivery; however, minimal research exists to identify which elements of course design predict academic success. We aimed to identify which specific course components are predictors of (a) final course grade, (b) continuous assessment grade, and (c) major assessment grade in an online, undergraduate psychology course using data collated by the Learning Management System. We also addressed gaps in existing knowledge by exploring group differences within scores on significant predictors of course outcomes to determine whether these varied according to student characteristics. We found the number of times students visited the course site, viewed activities, and posted in activities significantly predicted students’ final course grade, continuous assessment grades, and major assessment grades. The total variance explained by the regression models, was however, relatively low and therefore there may be additional factors not considered in the present study that may predict grades. We also found non-traditional, female, domestic students, enrolled part-time and in an online degree accessed the course site, viewed activities, and posted in activities significantly more frequently than their counterparts. Universities offering online courses should provide students with regular activities and opportunities to participate in course content to promote online learning and academic success.

Author Biography

John Mingoia, Justice & Society, University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia; University of South Australia Online, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

John Mingoia holds a PhD in psychology and his research interests include higher education, mental health, and body image. He has been teaching in higher education at the University of South Australia for seven years and is employed as an Online Course Facilitator.


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How to Cite

Mingoia, J. and Le Busque, B. (2022) “Exploring Course Components as Predictors of Academic Success in an Online Psychology Course”, Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education, (24). doi: 10.47408/jldhe.vi24.824.