Lowenthal, P. R., Lowenthal, D. A., & White, J. W. (2009). The changing nature of online communities of inquiry: An analysis of how discourse and time shapes students’ perceptions of presence. In M. Simonson (Ed.), 32nd Annual proceedings: Selected research and development papers presented at the annual convention of the Association for Educational Communications and Technology. Washington D. C.: Association for Educational Communications and Technology.
The Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework was developed as a theoretical framework to support the practice and research of online learning. Garrison, Anderson, and Archer (2000) theorized that meaningful learning online takes place in a CoI made of teachers and students, through the interaction of three core elements: teaching presence, social presence, and cognitive presence. Over the past 10 years, a great deal has been written on each of these three presences (Anderson, Rourke, Garrison, & Archer, 2001; Dunlap & Lowenthal, 2009; Garrison & Cleveland-Innes, 2005; Lowenthal & Parscal, 2008; Richardson & Swan, 2003;; Shea & Bidjerano, 2009; Shea, Li, Swan, & Pickett, 2003; Shea, Pickett, & Pelz, 2003; Swan, 2002, 2004; Swan & Shih, 2005). During the past few years, researchers have turned from just studying each element separately to studying the three elements simultaneously (Akyol & Garrison, 2008; Arbaugh, 2007, 2008; Arbaugh, Bangert, & Clevelan-Innes, 2009; Garrison, Cleveland-Innes, & Fung, 2004; Swan, Richardson, Ice, Garrison, Cleveland-Innes, & Arbaugh, 2008). However, despite the increased interest in studying the CoI framework, researchers have not investigated how communities of inquiry differ across different discourse communities (Arbaugh, Bangert, & Cleveland-Innes, 2009; Lowenthal & Lowenthal, 2009) nor whether they manifest themselves in accelerated online programs (Lowenthal & Lowenthal, 2009). The purpose of this study was to investigate how student’s perceptions of each of the elements of the CoI framework differ across different discourse communities (specifically, business, education, computer science, and humanities) in accelerated (i.e., eight week long) online courses. The following paper reports the preliminary results of this study.
Keywords: Community of Inquiry, CoI, Social Presence, Teaching Presence, Cognitive Presence, Discourse, Community, Online Learning, Online Teaching