Scot Headley in the article " Five Roles in Online Courses suggests there are 5 roles: space planner, pacesetter, host, connector, and mirror. Headely stresses that these are not linear roles and each serves to build a stronger relationship between the instructor and the students as well as the relationship between students.
I believe the roles Headley describes reflect all the critical components for on0line learning. His attention to student computer competence, design on intuitive functions, ccourse rigor that doesn't overwhelm students and role of the instructor to draw their students into the experience would contribute to student success.
Theodore Smith's article "Fifty-one Comptencies for Online Instruction" stresses that teaching online requires a different skill set as well as an ability to "instruct" in ways very different that those used in face-to-face for quality learning to occur. Note he stresses learning over teaching. The benchmarks for excellence recommended by the Institute for Higher Education Policy are referenced in this article. The competiencies are listed, noting the source of the reference, and noting whether they are of primary importance before, during, or after the course.
I found the chart of 24 benchmarks, divided into 7 categories a methodical way to look at all components of online learning including instituional supports through evaluation and assessment a great checklist for thinking differently about course design.
As a result of reading these articles I will be evaluating the on-line portion of the hybrid course I currently teach to change my role from instructor to more of a facilitator, leaving the responsibility and choice to the learner.