Call for Articles on Advances in Cognitive Presence Special Issue of Online Learning

In this special issue, we invite researchers to submit studies on cognitive presence in online and blended learning environments. In the past decade, the Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework has gained the most attention from scholars for its capability of capturing the collaborative construction of personally meaningful and shared understanding in the online community of learners (Jan et al. 2019; Park & Shea, 2020; Stenbom 2018). According to Garrison (2017), understanding the dynamics of the collaborative process of learning is the strength of cognitive presence and the CoI framework.

Although the importance of cognitive presence to generate high-level learning in online environments is well documented in literature, researchers suggest that it is the least researched of the three constructs of the CoI framework and little progress has been made in understanding the development of cognitive presence and higher-order thinking and learning effectiveness online (Garrison, 2017; Sadaf, Wu, & Martin, under review). According to Garrison (2017), “much research is needed to fully appreciate the inquiry process (cognitive presence) that occurs in a shared learning environment.” Therefore, there remains a clear need for more conceptual and empirical research to explore processes and strategies that create and sustain conditions necessary to facilitate cognitive presence and higher-order learning in online environments.

This special issue on the topic of cognitive presence will bring together researchers working in this area and, in turn, advance various new perspectives on conceptualizations and processes related to cognitive presence. Bringing researchers together in a single issue will help advance this aspect of the field of online learning, and via an editorial, we can begin to synthesize the current work that is being done and make suggestions for future steps.

Possible Topics: Topics for the special issue include but are not limited to research on:

  • Cognitive presence and the learning sciences
  • Strategies to facilitate cognitive presence
  • Instructional design principles and/or strategies to foster cognitive presence
  • Cognitive presence and learning outcomes–perceived and actual
  • Cognitive presence, learning, and emotion in online and blended learning environments
  • Online student engagement and cognitive presence
  • Cognitive presence and ill-structured problem solving online
  • Motivational factors as predictors of cognitive presence
  • Cognitive presence in different disciplines
  • The relationship of cognitive presence to other forms of presence (e.g. teaching presence)
  • The relationship between interaction and levels of cognitive presence
  • Cognitive presence, shared metacognition, self-and co-regulated learning

Rigorous, cutting-edge qualitative, quantitative, mixed methods research articles and systematic reviews are welcome.


To notify us of your intent to submit, please send your abstract for review to Dr. Ayesha Sadaf,

Invited authors will submit full manuscripts through the Open Journal System (OJS), the OLC journal system. When submitting, be sure you select the section corresponding “Advances in Cognitive Presence Special Issue of Online Learning”.

Author Guidelines include general APA Style 7th edition except for the single-spacing requirement. Papers should be about 6,000-8,000 words. The Guide for Authors can be found here: For detailed assistance with APA style, refer to Purdue Online Writing Lab: Please note that contributors will also be requested to serve as reviewers for this project.

Preliminary Timeline:

  • Indicate intention to submit to Special Issue by July 12th (Send author information, contact details, and abstract to Ayesha Sadaf)
  • Invited authors notified by July 26th
  • Submit full manuscript through the OLC journal system by September 20th
  • Manuscripts sent out for review between September 21-23rd
  • Return reviews to editors on October 11th
  • Feedback from special issue editors by October 25rd
  • Return revised articles to editors by November 22th
  • Additional revisions as requested (date TBD)
  • Send manuscripts for copyediting on December 20th (absolute last day to be included)
  • Special Issue published March 2022 (anticipated)

*Final acceptance will not be notified until fully revised manuscripts have been submitted.

Special Issue Guest Editors
Dr. Ayesha Sadaf,
Dr. Larisa Olesova,
Dr. Martha Cleveland-Innes,
Dr. Nathaniel Ostashewski,
Dr. Peter Shea,

Online Learning, the official journal of the Online Learning Consortium promotes the development and dissemination of new knowledge at the intersection of pedagogy, emerging technology, policy, and practice in online environments. The journal has been published for over 20 years and is known to many by its former name, the Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks (JALN).

OLJ is always open to receive submissions.  For more information please contact Sturdy Knight, OLJ’s Managing Editor, at