Volume 14, Number 2, Winter 2016


From an Online Cohort Towards a Community of Inquiry: International Students’ Interaction Patterns in an Online Doctorate Program

Lucilla Crosta
Viola Manokore
Morag Gray
Laureate Online Education


The current study explored the interaction patterns of a cohort of international students in a Professional Doctorate of Higher Education program (EdD) in order to establish the extent to which (if at all) the cohort evolved into an authentic online learning community. Phase 1 of the study consisted of a retrospective audit of three out of the nine modules taught in the program (beginning, middle, and end). The audit explored a cohort of students’ interaction patterns within and between the three modules. In phase two, eight cohort members participated in thorough interviews designed to gain insight into the issues that were identified in phase 1 of the study. Using the Community of Inquiry model, we discovered that a majority of the students did not feel their cohort resembled an authentic online learning community. Although cognitive and teaching presence was evident, social presence was less evident in the modules.

Collaborative Online Inquiry: Exploring Students’ Skills in Locating, Reading, and Communicating Information

Diane Carver Sekeres
The University of Alabama

Jill Castek
The University of Arizona


This study examines third, fourth, and fifth grade students’ reasoning that was captured as they engaged collaboratively in a teacher designed inquiry task. This task focused on choosing eco-friendly toys for a fictitious local toy store. Results indicated that students were more expressive with reasoning when they shared their ideas orally, but were less apt to include reasoning in their digital writing. This pattern of results suggests the benefits of pairing talk with writing, grouping students to work collaboratively during online inquiry, and teaching ways to construct digital writing that supports the inclusion of hyperlinks, the integration of images, and other means of connecting digital reading and writing. These digital affordances provide tangible ways for students to include reasoning and evidence within their writing and can bolster their persuasive and argument writing. Recommendations for instruction are offered as well as design considerations for online inquiry tasks.

Giving Back: Exploring Service-Learning in an Online Learning Environment

Rochell R. McWhorter
Julie A. Delello
Paul B. Roberts
The University of Texas at Tyler


Service-Learning (SL) as an instructional method is growing in popularity for giving back to the community while connecting the experience to course content. However, little has been published on using SL for online business students. This study highlights an exploratory mixed-methods, multiple case study of an online business leadership and ethics course utilizing SL as a pedagogical teaching tool with 81 students. Results from the study noted that hours completed exceeded those assigned and students identified outcomes for themselves, their university, and nonprofit organizations where they served. The outcomes of this study mirrored those identified by students in traditional face-to-face courses underscoring the value of SL projects in online courses in higher education.

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