Abstract This study examines the effect of an important cultural dimension—power distance index (PDI)—on learners’ perceptions of their online learning experiences. PDI refers to the degree to which a learner’s response to another individual in a learning setting is inhibited or otherwise negatively altered when the other individual holds a position that is superior or inferior to the learner’s own position. This study aims to generate guidelines for better design and facilitation of online courses that can effectively engage all students in the learning process. Research findings are particularly relevant to researchers and practitioners who are interested in the cultural aspects of online learning. This study contributes to the current knowledge base about designing effective online courses and about practicing culturally responsive teaching in an online setting.