The focus of this short post is to highlight the essential role of faculty development and the role of the Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework in supporting faculty moving to online and blended learning. It has become apparent during the COVID pandemic that the success of online learning is strongly dependent upon approach and preparation. This point was made recently by O’Ceallaigh (2022) when he argued that “designing, navigating and nurturing purposeful and engaging virtual learning spaces for students” (p. 1) positively impacts online learning. Moreover, to achieve positive outcomes moving to online learning there must be clarity to pedagogical approach that provides rationale and commitment. This is where the CoI framework has become the theoretical foundation of choice in conceptualizing and guiding faculty through the intricacies of designing and delivering online and blended learning. The effectiveness of the CoI framework to structure and guide faculty in re-designing their courses was demonstrated early in its development (Vaughan & Garrison, 2006).

The evidence has continued to grow that the CoI framework is a viable conceptual guidance in designing and delivering online and blended learning. This is evident in studies that have recommended the use of the CoI framework as the theoretical foundation for understanding teaching presence and improving the online teaching process (Arsenijevic, Belousova, Tushnova, Grosseck & Živkov, 2020; O’Ceallaigh, 2022; Singh, Evans & Reed, 2021; Singh, Singh & Matthees, 2022). In this regard, it has been stated:

“The Community of Inquiry framework and technology enabled tools can help in creating optimal online learning experiences for students. By building social, cognitive and teaching presence, instructors can facilitate critical thinking, critical inquiry among students and meaningful discourse among students and faculty” (Singh, Singh, & Matthees, 2022, p. 15).

Some research has focused specifically on teaching presence to influence learning performance. In this regard, Yin and Yuan (2022) state that “Teachers should fully consider the characteristics of online and offline learning to conduct teaching organization, design, conversation facilitation and direct teaching guidance, so that students can perceive sufficient teaching presence” (Conclusion). Moreover, Akbulut, et al. (2022) reported that the findings of their study “suggest that course instructors should prioritize planning activities to ensure TP [teaching presence] when designing online courses in times of emergency or under similar conditions” (p. 14). In a study exploring blended learning interactions and experiences as seen through the elements of the Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework, Villanueva (2021) found strong teaching presence. Consistent with the previously noted studies, Villanueva (2021) argued that this justified “the CoI as a practical framework to understand and guide teaching and learning in K-12 blended learning programs” (p. 31).

Finally, from an institutional perspective, it is essential that faculty support be accompanied by incentives to invest enormous amounts of time in redesigning their courses (Garrison, 2017). This required investment reflects the challenge in adopting new approaches and technologies. Faculty support is also needed to understand and cope with complex software and how best to employ it effectively to improve the online learning experience. To manage the challenges of shifting to on online learning environment, I reiterate that faculty support must include a coherent and understandable approach to learning online. Importantly, the evidence is growing that the Community of Inquiry framework is an effective conceptualization and tool to ensure sustained collaborative and transformational approaches to online learning.

The bottom line is that I believe the core challenge of online learning is establishing community (Guo, et al., 2022; Moschovis, et al., 2022; Yoon & Leem, 2021). For this reason the CoI framework is invaluable in preparing faculty and students for online learning and to curate a collaborative learning environment.


Akbulut, M. S., Umutlu, D., Diler, O. N. E. R., & Arikan, S. (2022). Exploring university students’ learning experiences in the COVID-19 semester through the Community of Inquiry framework. Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education, 23(1), 1-18. https://doi.org/10.17718/tojde.1050334

Arsenijevic, J., Belousova, A., Tushnova, Y., Grosseck, G., & Živkov, A. M. (2020). The Quality of Online Higher Education Teaching During the Covid-19 Pandemic. International Journal of Cognitive Research in Science, Engineering & Education(IJCRSEE). 10(1), 47-55. https://doi.org/10.23947/2334-8496-2022-10-1-47-55

Garrison, D. R. (2017). E-Learning in the 21st Century: A Community of Inquiry Framework for Research and Practice (3rd edition). London: Routledge/Taylor and Francis.

Guo, Q., Zeng, Q. and Zhang, L. (2022). What social factors influence learners' continuous intention in online learning? A social presence perspective. Information Technology and People. https://doi.org/10.1108/ITP-02-2021-0151

Moschovis, P. P., Dinesh, A., Boguraev, A-S., & Nelson, B. D. (2022). Remote online global health education among U.S. medical students during COVID-19 and beyond. BMC Medical Education, 22, 353. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12909-022-03434-3

O’Ceallaigh, T. J. (2022). Designing, navigating and nurturing virtual learning spaces: Teacher educators’ professional development priorities and potential pathways. Teaching and Teacher Education, 115, 1-16. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2022.103697

Singh, J., Evans, E., & Reed, A. (2021). Online, Hybrid, and Face-to-Face Learning Through the Eyes of Faculty, Students, Administrators, and Instructional Designers: Lessons Learned and Directions for the Post-Vaccine and Post-Pandemic/COVID-19 World, Journal of Educational Technology Systems. https://doi.org/10.1177/00472395211063754

Singh, J., Singh, L., & Matthees, B. (2022). Establishing Social, Cognitive, and Teaching Presence in Online Learning - A Panacea in COVID-19 Pandemic, Post Vaccine and Post Pandemic Times. Journal of Educational Technology Systems, 1-18. https://doi.org/10.1177/00472395221095169

Vaughan, N., & Garrison, D. R. (2006). How blended learning can support a faculty development community of inquiry. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 10(4), 139-152.

Villanueva, J. A. R. (2021). Teaching Presence in K-12 Blended Learning Classes under the Alternative Delivery Mode. International Journalon Open and Distance e-Learning, 7(1), 31-52.

Yin, B., & Yuan, C-H. (2022). Blended learning performance influence mechanism based on community of inquiry. Asia Pacific Journal ofEducation, 1-16. https://doi.org/10.1080/02188791.2022.2061912

Yoon, P., & Leem, J. (2021). The Influence of Social Presence in Online Classes Using Virtual Conferencing: Relationships between Group Cohesion, Group Efficacy, and Academic Performance. Sustainability, 13(4), 1-19.



D. Randy Garrison
Professor Emeritus, University of Calgary
D. Randy Garrison is professor emeritus at the University of Calgary.Dr. Garrison has published extensively on teaching and learning in adult, higher and distance education contexts. He has authored, co-authored or edited twelve books and well over 100 refereed articles/chapters.His recent books are Thinking Collaboratively: Learning in a Community of Inquiry (2016) and E-Learning in the 21st Century: A Community of Inquiry Framework for Research and Practice (3rd Edition) (2017); for which he won second place for the Association for Educational Communications and Technology, Division of Distance Learning Book Award, 2017.



Faculty Development and the Community of Inquiry
D. Randy Garrison
May 6, 2022
The focus of this short post is to highlight the essential role of faculty development and the role of the Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework in supporting faculty moving to online and blended learning. It has become apparent during the COVID ...

Automatic Detection of Social Presence
D. Randy Garrison
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Several years ago, I provided an introduction to the role of learning analytics in the context of the Community of Inquiry framework and how we might facilitate collaborative learning through the automatic monitoring of discourse and tracking the ...

CoI Instrument Validation
D. Randy Garrison
November 25, 2021
My goal here is to simply draw your attention to a study that provides a comprehensive overview of Community of Inquiry (CoI) instrument studies directed to confirmation of the original CoI three-factor structure (

CoI Questionnaire: 2.0?
D. Randy Garrison
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My goal in this post is to draw attention to an important study that used advanced statistical techniques to analyze the CoI questionnaire (Abbitt & Boone, 2021). While exploring statistical anomalies may not be front of mind for most

Purposeful and Social Interaction
D. Randy Garrison
April 22, 2021
In a previous editorial I had addressed the challenge of designing a collaborative inquiry that goes beyond simple interaction to achieve deep and meaningful learning ( Editorial 18
The Community of Inquiry is a project of the Centre for Distance Education at Athabasca University, researchers of the Community of Inquiry framework, and members of the CoI community.