Community of Inquiry Framework: Establishing Community in an Online Course
Using the Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework, the author conducted a mixed method research study to examine the existence of the three CoI elements in a graduate-level educational technology online course. The author also looked at student perceptions and preference for community in online learning. High mean scores on the CoI showed that all three elements of CoI were more than adequately addressed in the course, particularly teaching presence. Lowest scores indicated that some students were uncomfortable expressing themselves in an online environment and felt a lack of freedom to disagree with class members. Demographic data showed that students preferred a sense of community but were not so fond of collaborative assignments that are essential for building the community they desire. Since collaborative assignments demand a greater degree of communication and ability to bring problems to an adequate resolution, it is plausible that inhibitions in expressing oneself may become more pronounced when more collaboration is required.