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The Community of Inquiry theoretical framework represents a process of creating a deep and meaningful (collaborative-constructivist) learning experience through the development of three interdependent elements: social, cognitive and teaching presence.


From Rourke et al., 2001:

Social presence is the ability of learners to project their personal characteristics into the community of inquiry, thereby presenting themselves as ‘real people.’

Instructional media such as computer conferencing engender high levels of student-student and student-teacher interaction; therefore, they can support models of teaching and learning that are highly interactive and consonant with the communicative ideals of university education. This potential, and the ubiquity of computer conferencing in higher education prompted three of the authors of the present paper to develop a Community of Inquiry model that synthesizes pedagogical principles with the inherent instructional and access benefits of computer conferencing (Garrison, Anderson, & Archer, 2000). The present article explicates one element of the model, social presence. Social presence is defined as the ability of learners to project themselves socially and affectively into a community of inquiry. A template for assessing social presence in computer conferencing is presented, through content analysis of conferencing transcripts. To facilitate explication of the scheme and subsequent replication of this study, selections of coded transcripts are included, along with inter-rater reliability figures. The article concludes with a discussion of the implications and benefits of assessing social presence for instructors, conference moderators, and researchers.


From Garrison et al., 2001:

Cognitive presence is the extent to which the participants in any particular configuration of a community of inquiry are able to construct meaning through sustained communication.

The purpose of this paper is to describe a practical approach to judging the nature and quality of critical discourse in a computer conference. A model of a critical community of inquiry frames the research. A core concept in defining a community of inquiry is cognitive presence. In turn, the practical inquiry model operationalizes cognitive presence for the purpose of developing a tool to assess critical discourse and reflection. Encouraging empirical findings related to an attempt to create an efficient and reliable instrument to assess the nature and quality of critical discourse and thinking in a text-based educational context are presented. Finally, it is suggested that cognitive presence (i.e., critical, practical inquiry) can be created and supported in a computer conference environment with appropriate teaching and social presence.


From Garrison et al., 2001:

Teaching presence is defined as the design, facilitation, and direction of cognitive and social processes for the purpose of realizing personally meaningful and educational worthwhile learning outcomes.

This paper reviews the tasks of the online teacher, gleaned from the literature and our own experiences as teachers of graduate level, online courses. It next introduces a technique for systematically analyzing the context of the text-based transcripts of those courses. We seek knowledge hidden in the data from the actual interactions between and among students and on-line teachers as they develop, facilitate, guide and evaluate learning activities. Our goal is to develop tools that are efficient, reliable, and practical in the task of helping teachers both understand and improve their on-line teaching. We examine messages for their contribution to three critical functions of the online (and classroom) teacher – designing and administrating learning activities, establishing and and maintaining an active learning community, and providing direct instruction. We hope our tools allow teachers to assess their own postings and serve as valued feedback for reflection and improvement of the teaching function. Secondly, the tools can be used for research to test hypothesis or diagnose problems in on-line teaching. We conclude with the results of our analysis of the transcripts from two graduate level teaching courses.


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Key references available as a downloadable file below have been compiled by Dr. Randy Garrison as an effective reading list for the Community of Inquiry framework. (Updated September 2021)


Heather Saigo on The CoI Community
1 month ago
Hi Martha! Thank you for those references. I am adding them to my reading list right now. I appreciate your help! Heather

Heather Saigo on The CoI Community
1 month ago
Hi Dan! Thank you for the welcome and the insight. I will check out that post for sure! Heather

Martha Cleveland-Innes on The CoI Community
1 month ago
Hi Heather! Great question. Leadership in any group can be informal, shared, and emergent. In education, connectivism tries to get to this. These ideas may start your review of this issue. Corbett, F., & Spinello, E. (2020). Connectivism and leadership: harnessing a learning theory for the digital age to redefine ...

Dan Wilton on The CoI Community
1 month ago
Welcome to the CoI community, Heather! You might be interested in some of the ideas being explored by Terry Anderson and Jon Dron potentially to bridge the gap between more formal, deliberately planned communities of inquiry and informal "sets" or "networks" of learners. Dr. Anderson's blog post below might be a good ...

Heather Saigo on The CoI Community
1 month ago
Oh, I have been wondering about this and maybe someone here has insight. A Community of Inquiry can form without a formal set-up and instructor/leader? I feel like I've participated in CoI that took shape organically among a group of learners, but I'm not sure whether that fits the model. What do you ...

Heather Saigo on The CoI Community
1 month ago
Hello! I am a doctoral student in education, in the process of focusing my dissertation questions. I am curious about whether a Discord community constitutes a Community of Inquiry. Perhaps I will do a qualitative evaluation of online interactions to determine whether they fit the CoI framework. Still working on ...

Martha Cleveland-Innes on The CoI Community
1 month ago
Hello Ibrahim! Welcome to our log and repository. We look forward to hearing about your CoI research and the results. M.Cleveland-Innes

Ibrahim Garba on The CoI Community
1 month ago
Hello everyone from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia! I'm a Higher Education doctoral student at University of Liverpool in good old United Kingdom 💕! I look forward to sharing part of my thesis with you. I'm looking at ways to improve teaching and learning using the COI framework ...

Lintang Matahari Hasani on The CoI Community
2 months ago
Hello everyone, warmest greetings from Indonesia! I'm a lecturer and researcher at the Faculty of Computer Science, Universitas Indonesia. I am looking forward to contribute in the implementation of CoI, especially in the fields of computer science education. I am excited to be a part of this amazing community! ...

Kristin Millard on The CoI Community
4 months ago
Hi, everyone. I am a Higher Education Leadership doctoral student at Maryville University in St. Louis, MO. My dissertation is a mixed-method study on the persistence of international students who study online while living in their home countries. I am using CoI as my framework. I am just beginning my research, and I ...
The Community of Inquiry is a project of Athabasca University, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, and the Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology, as well as researchers and members of the CoI community.