ArticlePDF Available

Abstract and Figures

This study assessed the depth of online learning, with a focus on the nature of online interaction in four distance education course designs. The Study Process Questionnaire was used to measure the shift in students' approach to learning from the beginning to the end of the courses. Design had a significant impact on the nature of the interaction and whether students approached learning in a deep and meaningful manner. Structure and leadership were found to be crucial for online learners to take a deep and meaningful approach to learning.
No caption available
No caption available
No caption available
Content may be subject to copyright.
Facilitating Cognitive Presence
in Online Learning:
Interaction Is Not Enough
D. Randy Garrison
The Learning Commons
The University of Calgary
Martha Cleveland-Innes
Centre for Distance Education
Athabasca University
This study assessed the depth of online learning, with a focus on the
nature of online interaction in four distance education course designs.
The Study Process Questionnaire was used to measure the shift in stu-
dents’ approach to learning from the beginning to the end of the
courses. Design had a significant impact on the nature of the interac-
tion and whether students approached learning in a deep and meaning-
ful manner. Structure and leadership were found to be crucial for on-
line learners to take a deep and meaningful approach to learning.
Interaction is seen as central to an educational experience and is a primary
focus in the study of online learning. The focus on interaction in online
learning emerges from the potential and properties of new technologies to
support sustained educational communication. Communication and
Internet technologies provide a high degree of communicative potential
through asynchronous interaction design options (Garrison and Anderson
2003). From an access perspective, participants are able to maintain en
gagement in a community of learners when and where they choose.
Notwithstanding the widely recognized potential of new and emerging
communications technology to connect learners, until recently much of the
research of collaborative online learning focused on egalitarian possibili
ties. Educators were quick to seize the possibility of a more democratic ap
Copyright © 2005, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.
Correspondence should be sent to D. Randy Garrison, The Learning Commons, The
University of Calgary, Biological Sciences Building, Room 530L, Calgary, AB, Can
ada T2N 1N4. E-mail:
proach to education as a reaction to the traditional passive, controlling na
ture of much of higher education. However, concerns about the lack of
physical presence focused early attention on understanding the social con
text or presence of online learning. Participation and belonging were to be
valued first and foremost. In essence, online forums were chat rooms where
participation was the primary goal.
The purpose of an educational experience, whether it is online,
face-to-face, or a blending of both, is to structure the educational experi
ence to achieve defined learning outcomes. In this context, interaction must
be more structured and systematic. A qualitative dimension is introduced
where interaction is seen as communication with the intent to influence
thinking in a critical and reflective manner. Some have argued that in
higher education, it is valuable and even necessary to create a community
of inquiry where interaction and reflection are sustained; where ideas can
be explored and critiqued; and where the process of critical inquiry can be
scaffolded and modeled. Interaction in such an environment goes beyond
social interaction and the simple exchange of information. A community of
inquiry must include various combinations of interaction among content,
teachers, and students (Anderson and Garrison 1997; Moore 1989).
Interaction in Distance Education
Moore (1989, 1990) was one of the first to focus on interaction issues in
distance education. He identified transactional distance as consisting of di-
alogue (i.e., interaction) and structure (i.e., design). Moore (1989) ex
panded on the dialogue variable and defined three core types of interaction:
learner–teacher, learner–content, and learner–learner. Dialogue or interac
tion was recognized as a crucial variable in a distance education environ
ment, which was not necessarily the case with an industrial design ap
proach. Moore’s work precipitated growing interest in issues around
interaction in a distance or online learning context. Others accounted for all
possible combinations of interaction based on teacher, learner, and content
variables (Anderson and Garrison 1997).
To capitalize on the potential of online learning for educational purposes,
a qualitative shift in the nature of the interaction must be considered. Garri
son, Anderson, and Archer (2000) provided a model of a community of in
quiry that mapsand defines educational presence. A community of inquiry is
more than a social community and more than the magnitude of interaction
among participants. A community of inquiry is the integration of cognitive,
social, and teaching presence. Considered together, the three presences ad
dress the qualitative nature of interactive inquiry consistent with the ideals of
higher education. To appreciate interaction and the quality of learning out
comes, one must understand how cognitive, social, and teaching presence
come together to create a purposeful community of inquiry.
An interactive community of learners is generally considered the sine
qua non of higher education. However, interaction is not a guarantee that
students are cognitively engaged in an educationally meaningful manner.
High levels of interaction may be reflective of group cohesion, but it does
not directly create cognitive development or facilitate meaningful learning
and understanding. Interaction directed to cognitive outcomes is character
ized more by the qualitative nature of the interaction and less by quantita
tive measures. There must be a qualitative dimension characterized by in
teraction that takes the form of purposeful and systematic discourse.
Interaction and Presence
Picciano (2002) made a distinction between interaction and presence.
Interaction carries with it few conditions with regard to the nature of the
communication and influence. Interaction by itself does not presume that
one is engaged in a process of inquiry and cognitive presence exists. An ed-
ucational experience sets a qualitative standard perhaps best reflected by
the model of a community of inquiry. A community of inquiry integrates
cognitive, social, and teaching elements that go beyond social exchanges
and low-level cognitive interaction (Garrison and Anderson 2003). Rovai
(2002) found a “positive significant relationship between a sense of com
munity and cognitive learning” (328).
Although the natural and appropriate inclination is to first direct interac
tion efforts to establishing social presence and creating interrelationships,
this is only a precondition for a purposeful and worthwhile learning experi
ence. Teaching presence is important for the creation and sustainability of a
community of inquiry focused on the exploration, integration, and testing
of concepts and solutions. This has been shown to be true in informal pro
fessional development forums, where there is considerable discussion but
most of it is of a social nature with only a low level of cognitive exchange
(Kanuka and Anderson 1998). This also holds true in more formal aca
demic settings where there is a growing body of research showing that the
quantity of interaction does not reflect the quality of discourse (i.e., cogni
tive presence) as measured by the progression through the phases of the
practical inquiry model (Garrison, Anderson, and Archer 2001; Meyer
2003; Pawan et al. 2003).
Understanding interaction for the purposes of inquiry is complex. More
over, students are not always prepared to engage in critical discourse, espe
cially if this is in an online learning environment (Angeli, Valanides, and
Bonk 2003). This was congruent with the finding of Garrison and Cleve
land-Innes (2004) in that the greatest student adjustment to online learning
was most directly associated with issues of interaction—both socially and
cognitively. Interestingly, in this study, establishing social presence was
more heavily shaped through peer interaction. With regard to successful
higher-order learning, however, Garrison and Cleveland-Innes concluded
that teaching presence in the form of facilitation is crucial in the success of
online learning.
There is considerable literature pointing to the relation between teaching
presence and perceived learning (Jiang and Ting 2000; Pawan et al. 2003;
Picciano 2002; Shea, Pickett, and Pelz 2004; Swan 2001). Swan (2001)
concluded that “interaction with instructors seemed to have a much larger
effect on satisfaction and perceived learning than interaction with peers”
(322–323). More specifically, Angeli, Valanides, and Bonk (2003) studied
the quality of online discourse and with low-level mentoring found that
only “7% of the replies were justified opinions and claims” (37). Similarly,
Wu and Hiltz (2004) reported that online discussions are related to per-
ceived learning but varied according to instructional approach. They stated
that the instructor’s role is crucial to effective online discussions and “more
online guidance, more structured discussion topics and considerable time
devotion are required for instructors” (149). Finally, Hay et al. (2004)
found in a study comparing online and traditional courses that “instruc
tor-to-student interaction was the stronger of the two interaction measures
[student–student the other] in terms of predicting effectiveness for both
types of delivery” (200). The primary reason is that instructors are more
concerned with fulfilling interaction needs.
Interaction and Critical Discourse
Accepting that interaction is not equivalent to critical discourse or suffi
cient for sustaining a community of inquiry, what then do we know about
teaching and cognitive presence in terms of influencing quality learning
outcomes? Synthesizing some of the literature, it would appear that critical
discourse and teaching presence have some common features. The first is
that if students are to reach a high level of critical thinking and knowledge
construction, the interaction or discourse must be structured and cohesive
(Aviv et al. 2003; Pawan et al. 2003; Thomas 2002; Wu and Hiltz 2004).
The design feature of successful online courses demonstrates structured
discourse that facilitate clear discussion threads, avoid disjointed mono
logues, and move the discussion through the phases of inquiry (levels of
thinking). Another important feature found in the literature is clearly de
fined roles (Aviv et al. 2003; Garrison and Cleveland-Innes 2004; Hiltz and
Turoff 1993; Meyer 2003; Tagg and Dickenson 1995). Here we find the
leadership role of the instructor to be powerful in triggering discussion and
facilitating high levels of thinking and knowledge construction.
Deep and Surface Learning
Levels of thinking and knowledge construction are learning process
goals across delivery methods in education. Higher-order learning emerges
in a community of inquiry. The concept of approaches to learning (com
monly referred to as deep and surface learning) and related models (Biggs
1990, 1998; Entwistle 1991, 1993) provide a framework for understanding
the complex web of relations between learning context and learning pro-
cesses that result in particular outcomes for individual students. The instru-
mentation from this model was used to evaluate the conditions under which
deep learning emerges in online education. Approaches to learning are
both a process that carries a student through the learning environment and
an outcome resulting from a student’s engagement with the learning envi-
ronment. Social and academic interaction in learning environments,
whether online or face-to-face, has a demonstrated impact on the approach
to learning and outcomes (Cleveland-Innes and Emes 2005).
Approaches to learning” emerge from the combination of student moti
vation and strategies for learning. Students employ varying degrees of three
different approaches to learning: deep, surface, and achievement ap
proaches. In a deep approach to learning, material is embraced and di
gested in the search for meaning. Surface learning employs the least
amount of effort toward realizing the minimum required outcomes. Surface
learners are motivated to complete the task rather than assimilate the learn
ing. Achievement approaches to learning are reflected by an orientation to
the external reward for demonstrating learning. Strategies for the achieve
ment orientation focus on the activities that will result in the highest marks.
All students are capable of employing any of the three approaches and
do so as required by the learning environment; they choose strategies
deemed to be most effective based on the requirements in the environment.
Students can move from one approach to another and do so in response to
the climate and requirements of the course. Without question, a deep ap
proach to learning is the approach to foster in higher education. The mas
tering of material through detailed attention to the intricacies, substance,
and limits of a subject area leads to improved academic performance (see,
in particular, Svensson 1977).
Much has been written about teaching practice leading to deep ap
proaches to learning in higher education (e.g., Ramsden 1992; Trigwell,
Prosser, and Waterhouse 1999). Contextual factors such as workload and
time constraints, type of learning evaluation, the opportunity for
metacognition, the shift of learning management to the students them
selves, and instructor explanation, enthusiasm, and empathy have all been
indicated in the development of deep learning.
The study was conducted from January 2003 to April 2004. It adminis-
tered the Study Process Questionnaire to the online course participants
(seventy-five students participated) to measure changes in how graduate
students choose to strategize their learning in a particular learning setting.
These can be either deep, surface, or achievement approaches to learning.
Students were asked to complete the questionnaire in reference to the
course in which they were currently engaged. Scoring of the instrument in-
tegrates motivation and activity relating to all three approaches (i.e., a score
for the amount of each approach used by the student is documented at each
test). The questionnaire was administered via e-mail and provided predata
and postdata on student approaches to learning. Norms for this instrument
reference undergraduate students only, so they were not used as a point of
comparison for this study. This instrument demonstrates internal consis
tency and coefficients of alpha that ranged from .51 to .81 (Biggs 1987).
Questionnaires were delivered electronically via e-mail and returned to re
search assistants the same way.
Courses for this study were purposively chosen based on level of inter
action and variation in instructor presence. In addition, core courses nor
mally taken early in each of two programs were selected to include the
greatest number of novice online learners and across programs to eliminate
program bias. Four courses were chosen involving a total of seventy-five
students. All courses were delivered using a combination of print and on
line conferencing. The online conferencing component provided the op
portunity for student–instructor engagement and group interaction. Re
quired conference participation was used for assessment in two courses,
whereas it remained a voluntary activity in the others.
The four treatment groups varied from each other in the following ways
(see Table 1). In Course A, students critically analyzed readings in small
groups with very little instructor involvement. Course B had students re
spond to text “lectures” individually but with little instructor involvement.
However, both Courses A and B graded for participation and as a result
there was quantitatively substantial online discussion. Course C had volun
tary participation with considerable instructor engagement and presence,
but students moderated their own discussion in various forums. It should be
noted this was a survey course of the history and foundations of distance
education and, therefore, there was less need or opportunity for critique
and debate. Course D was designed with deep approaches in mind. There
was a high level of instructor engagement with the students in and out of the
conferences. There were only four conferences and participation was not
required. However, the instructor was heavily involved and questions were
posed to generate ongoing and thoughtful responses. Also, the assignments
required reflection and thought. There was a purposeful shift to the nature
(critical reflection) of the interaction as compared to quantity of postings.
The course variable acts as a surrogate for type and level of interaction,
and instructor involvement, in online conferences. Time refers to the differ-
ence in approach to learning from the start of the course to the end of the
course. Based on the theory of approach to learning, the context of the
learning environment should influence the way students approach their
learning. In an engaging, instructive, and influential learning environment,
a change in approach to learning should occur. As this sample represents
graduate level study, which normally involves higher-order learning, an in
crease in deep learning is the change most likely to occur.
The instrument documents activity in all three approaches: deep, sur
face, and achieving. The possible score range is fourteen to seventy. In
Table 1. Instructional Differences Across Groups
Course A
N = 32
Course B
N = 11
Course C
N = 13
Course D
N = 19
Instructor involvement Low Low Medium High
Level of overall interaction High Medium High Low
Reflective assignment
Medium Medium Low High
these data, surface approach has an actual range of sixteen to fifty-six; deep
approach actual range is forty to sixty-nine; achievement approach
twenty-seven to sixty-one. It is expected that scores across all approaches
will vary as students become familiar with the learning environment in
which they are currently engaged. In higher education, a deep approach is
the desired approach. Deep scores should be the highest and increase over
the length of the education experience.
A two-way repeated measures Analysis of Variance was used to deter
mine the interaction between time and course for this sample. The be
tween-subjects variable is course (Courses A, B, C, D). The within-sub
jects variable is time (Time 1 and Time 2). The results of the interaction
between course and time, for each approach to learning, are presented in
Table 2.
The difference between approach to learning at Time 1 and Time 2
across courses is significant in one case, that of deep approach to learning
(p = .05). Graphic depictions of change in approach to learning over the
length of the semester provide patterns of difference across courses (see
Figures 1–3).
It is clear from these results that the shift in how students approached
their study is strongly influenced by the design and teaching approach. It
appears that teaching presence contributes to the adoption of a deep ap-
proach to learning and that interaction by itself does not promote a deep ap
proach to learning. Courses A and B, which had little or no instructor in
volvement, showed either no shift or a drop in approaching learning in a
deep and meaningful manner (see Figure 1). Deep approaches to learning
for Course C (considerable interaction but no critical discourse) showed
scores that were relatively low and remained that way throughout the
courses. Interestingly, Course C had considerable instructor engagement
but showed no shift to a deep approach. From an instructional design per
Table 2. Analysis of Variance
Approach to
Learning Source d.f. F Sig.
Surface approach Time × course 3, 72 1.421 .244
Deep approach Time × course 3, 72 2.706 .050
Achievement approach Time × course 3, 72 1.291 .284
spective, the content and expectations (i.e., task demand) of the course sim-
ply did not require a deep approach. However, Course D was specifically
designed to encourage deep approaches to learning through focused criti
cal discourse and participants clearly showed a significant shift to a deep
approach to learning.
The surface approach graphs for all the courses did not show any signifi
cant shifts (see Figure 2). Although not significant, the findings show a
shift to an achievement approach for Course C (see Figure 3). Keeping in
mind that an achievement approach is one that reflects the management of
activities to achieve the highest grade, this approach to learning would be
consistent with Course C conditions.
The findings are consistent with the literature discussed previously in
that the nature of the interaction and teaching presence are crucial for deep
approaches to learning. This suggests that the quality of interaction (i.e.,
critical discourse) must be a specific design goal and interaction facilitated
and directed in a sustained manner if deep approaches to learning are to be
achieved. To be clear, social interaction is necessary to establish relation
ships and to create a secure climate that will provide the foundation for a
Figure 1. Deep Approaches to Learning
deep and meaningful educational experience. However, social presence ap-
pears to be directly associated with the magnitude of interaction. There is
evidence for this in Course D, a course in research methods, where partici
pants demonstrated a move toward a deep approach to learning. In Course
D, interaction with social content was not encouraged beyond brief intro
ductions in the first conference. The first conference was a presentation by
students of their experiences with the course topic, and the setting of objec
tives for content and skill mastery in the course.
Further conferences were designed to have participants “act as if” they
were in the role of researcher, and respond to issues and challenges of
knowledge validation and creation from that perspective. Social identity as
an individual student was bypassed as the students worked with the mate
rial from a different perspective. Dialogue focused entirely on the subject
matter and student perspectives on use, misuse, and application of sub
ject-matter knowledge or expertise.
What is critical to note here is that although education is certainly a so
cial phenomenon, there is a much larger purpose of acquiring and extend
ing societal knowledge. Social interaction and presence may create the
Figure 2. Surface Approach to Learning
condition for sharing and challenging ideas through critical discourse, but
it does not directly create cognitive presence or facilitate a deep learning
approach. High levels of learning are dependent less on the quantity of in
teraction than on the quality, or substance, of interaction. That is, social
presence may be a necessary but insufficient precondition for creating a
community of inquiry and encouraging deep approaches to learning.
Teaching presence must be available, either from the facilitator or the
other students, to transition from social to cognitive presence. Angeli,
Valanides, and Bonk (2003) found that without adequate mentoring or fa
cilitation, interaction “was mostly an exchange of personal experiences and
did not support well-supported reasoning” (31). Not surprisingly, in this
situation the online conference failed to sustain interest and engagement.
Pawan et al. (2003) stated emphatically that “without instructor’s explicit
guidance and ‘teaching presence,students were found to engage primarily
in ‘serial monologues’” (119). That is, participants share experiences or
opinions without connecting to other contributions. Similarly, Wu and
Hiltz (2004) found that the quality of online discussions could be improved
with more structure and guidance.
Figure 3. Achievement Approach to Learning
It appears that interaction does not necessarily translate into critical dis
course and the integration of ideas into meaningful constructs. This was ev
ident in Course C. Although social interaction (i.e., presence) may be a
very helpful precondition, interaction for cognitive success (i.e., high lev
els of learning) depends on structure (i.e., design) and leadership (i.e., fa
cilitation and direction). However, success is not automatic—there is an
adjustment period (Garrison and Cleveland-Innes 2004; Ruberg, Moore,
and Taylor 1996). Students must be provided structure and leadership to
become engaged and responsible for approaching learning in a deep man
ner. Although space does not permit exploration here, we have been dis
cussing issues of dialogue/interaction (including teacher–student) and
structure that is not dissimilar to Moore (1989, 1990).
Meaningful engagement does not simply correspond to sending lots of
messages. It may mean that a student is engaged vicariously by following
the discussion, reflecting on the discourse, and actively constructing mean-
ing individually. Ideally, interaction would be required to confirm under-
standing. However, students may be cognitively present while not interact-
ing or engaged overtly. This reveals another challenge in understanding the
qualitative nature of interaction in an online context.
Understanding a complex concept such as interaction must be viewed
from a comprehensive perspective. The community of inquiry framework
defines the context that can support quality interaction and deep learning.
A deep approach to learning must consider all three elements of the com-
munity of inquiry: social, cognitive, and teaching presence. The findings
here suggest that neither social presence alone nor the surface exchange of
information can create the environment and climate for deep approaches to
learning and meaningful educational exchanges. Quality interaction and
discourse for deep and meaningful learning must consider the confluence
of social, cognitive, and teaching presence—that is, interaction among
ideas, students, and the teacher. Teaching presence provides the structure
(design) and leadership (facilitation/direction) to establish social and cog
nitive presence (i.e., community of inquiry). The community of inquiry
model has proven to be a useful framework to analyze and understand in
teraction in an online educational environment.
Practical Implications
From a practice perspective, we must go beyond social interaction and
“serial monologues” if we are to understand the complexity of interaction
consistent with deep and meaningful approaches to teaching and learning.
The challenge we face is how we design and facilitate online learning expe
riences to create the cognitive presence consistent with deep meaning and
understanding. We focus this brief exploration of teaching interventions on
issues of structure (i.e., design) and leadership (i.e., facilitation and direc
tion). It is useful to note that design, facilitation, and direction are the three
categories of teaching presence provided by Garrison and Anderson
(2003). Together they provide valuable guidelines for creating and sustain
ing cognitive presence in an online educational environment.
From a design and organizational perspective, our findings suggest de
fining clear expectations and selecting manageable content, structuring
appropriate activities (collaborative and individual), and conducting as
sessment congruent with intended goals: the fostering of a deep approach
to learning. In terms of facilitating discourse, it is important to first pro
vide clear participation requirements in terms of length, content expecta
tions, and timeliness (Pawan et al. 2003). Next, it is important to provide
engaging questions, focus discussion, challenge and test ideas, model ap-
propriate contributions, and ensure that the discourse is progressive. The
central focus must be on students creating meaning and confirming un-
derstanding. Sustained teaching presence that encourages participation,
but is not teacher centered, is crucial. It is not educationally desirable or
reasonable from a time-management perspective to have the teacher re-
spond to each comment. But it is crucial that the teacher moderate and
shape the direction of the discourse.
Finally, in any educational context, one can expect instances in which di-
rect instruction is required to achieve deep and meaningful learning. That
is, there will be times when specific ideas need to be offered, a student
needs help, and the discussion needs to be summarized. The goal in deep
learning is to move discussion from exploration to integration and then to
resolution (Garrison and Anderson 2003).
The findings here suggest that simple interaction, absent of structure and
leadership, is not enough. We need to have a qualitatively richer view of in
teraction. There is a strong need to study the qualitative nature of online in
teraction in terms of teaching and learning approaches. The position here is
that the reflective and collaborative properties of asynchronous, text-based
online learning is well adapted to deep approaches to learning (i.e., cogni
tive presence). Further study is very much needed to understand the nature
of online interaction that will support high levels of learning.
Anderson, T. D., and D. R. Garrison. 1997. New roles for learners at a dis
tance. In Distance learners in higher education: Institutional responses
for quality outcomes, ed. C. C. Gibson, 97–112. Madison, WI: Atwood
Angeli, C., N. Valanides, and C. Bonk. 2003. Communication in a
Web-based conferencing system: The quality of computer-mediated in
teractions. British Journal of Educational Technology 34 (1): 31–43.
Aviv, R., Z. Erlich, G. Ravid, and A. Geva. 2003. Network analysis of
knowledge construction in asynchronous learning networks. Journal of
Asynchronous Learning Networks 7 (3): 1–20.
Biggs, J. B. 1987. Student approaches to learning and studying. Hawthorn,
Victoria: Australian Council for Educational Research.
———. 1990. Teaching: design for learning. In Teaching for effective
learning, ed. B. Ross, 11–26. Sydney: HERDSA.
———. 1993. What do inventories of students’ learning processes really
measure? A theoretical review and clarification. British Journal of Edu-
cational Psychology 63:3–19.
———. 1998. What the student does: Teaching for enhanced learning in
the ’90s. Higher Education Research and Development Society of
Australasia Newsletter. Auckland, New Zealand.
Cleveland-Innes, M., and C. Emes. Inpress. Social and academic interac-
tion in higher education contexts and the effect on deep and surface
learning. National Association of Student Personnel Administrators.
Entwistle, N. J. 1991. Approaches to learning and perceptions of the learn
ing environment. Higher Education 22:201–204.
———. 1993. Teaching and learning in an expanding higher education
system. Edinburgh: Moray House.
Garrison, D. R., and T. Anderson. 2003. E-Learning in the 21st century: A
framework for research and practice. London: Routledge Falmer.
Garrison, D. R., T. Anderson., and W. Archer. 2000. Critical inquiry in a
text-based environment: Computer conferencing in higher education.
The Internet and Higher Education 2 (2–3): 87–105.
———. 2001. Critical thinking, cognitive presence, and computer
conferencing in distance education. The American Journal of Distance
Education 15 (1): 7–23.
Garrison, D. R., and M. Cleveland-Innes. 2004. Critical factors in student
satisfaction and success: Facilitating student role adjustment in online
communities of inquiry. In Elements of quality online education: Into
the mainstream. Volume 5 in the Sloan C Series, ed. J. Bourne and J. C.
Moore, 29–38. Needham, MA: The Sloan Consortium.
Hay, A., M. Hodgkinson, J. W. Peltier, and W. A. Drago. 2004. Interaction
and virtual learning. Strategic Change 13:193–204.
Hiltz, S. R., and M. Turoff. 1993. The network nation: Human communica
tion by computer. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Jiang, M., and E. Ting. 2000. A study of factors influencing students’ per
ceived learning in a Web-based course environment. International Jour
nal of Educational Telecommunications 6 (4): 317–338.
Kanuka, H., and T. Anderson. 1998. Online social interchange, discord, and
knowledge construction. Journal of Distance Education 13 (1): 57–74.
Meyer, K. A. 2003. Face-to-face versus threaded discussions: The role of
time and higher-order thinking. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Net
works 7 (3): 55–65.
Moore, M. G. 1989. Three types of interaction. The American Journal of
Distance Education 3 (2): 1–6.
———. 1990. Recent contributions to the theory of distance education.
Open Learning 5 (3): 10–15.
Pawan, F., T. M. Paulus, S. Yalcin, and C. Chang. 2003. Online learning:
Patterns of engagement and interaction among in-service teachers. Lan-
guage Learning and Technology 7 (3): 119–140.
Picciano, A. G. 2002. Beyond student perceptions: Issues of interaction,
presence, and performance in an online course. Journal of Asynchron-
ous Learning Networks 6 (1): 21–40.
Ramsden P. 1992. Learning to teach in higher education. London: Kogan
Rovai, A. P. 2002. Sense of community, perceived cognitive learning, and
persistence in asynchronous learning networks. The Internet and Higher
Education 5 (4): 319–332.
Ruberg, L. F., D. M. Moore, and C. D. Taylor. 1996. Student participation,
interaction, and regulation in a computer-mediated communication en
vironment: A qualitative study. Journal of Educational Computer Re
search 14 (3): 243–268.
Shea, P. J., A. M. Pickett, and W. E. Pelz. 2004. Enhancing student satisfac
tion through faculty development: The importance of teaching presence.
In Elements of quality online education: Into the mainstream. Volume 5
in the Sloan C Series, ed. J. Bourne and J. C. Moore, 39–59. Needham,
MA: The Sloan Consortium.
Svensson, L. 1977. On qualitative differences in learning III: Study skills
and learning. British Journal of Educational Psychology 47:233–243.
Swan, K. 2001. Virtual interaction: Design factors affecting student satis
faction and perceived learning in asynchronous online courses. Distance
Education 22 (2): 306–331.
Tagg, A. C., and J. A. Dickenson. 1995. Tutor messaging and its effective
ness in encouraging student participation on computer conferences.
Journal of Distance Education 10 (2): 33–55.
Thomas, M. J. W. 2002. Learning within incoherent structures: The space
of online discussion forums. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning
Trigwell, K., M. Prosser, and F. Waterhouse. 1999. Relations between
teachers’ approaches to teaching and students’ approaches to learning.
Higher Education 37:57–70.
Wu, D., and S. R. Hiltz. 2004. Predicting learning from asynchronous on
line discussions. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks 8 (2):
... Content tends to be hierarchical and progressive from simple to complex. Cognitive learning theories [31,36,48] support student knowledge acquisition as concepts and knowledge development processes in active learning environments [26,30,36,48,57]. Students who develop self-conscious management of the learning process (metacognition) often perform better than those who do not [8,9,13,31,36,50]. ...
... Reflection during learning cycles leads to targeted practice that further develops technical, design, team, and leadership skills that transfer to new circumstances [2,11,12,36,46]. A community of practice is inherently a situative learning environment since it requires participation in relevant discourse on discipline knowledge, concepts, and applications [29,30,31,46]. These learning orientations reflect differing perspectives on the nature of knowledge, learning, and motivation, but all address knowledge aggregation -from individual to societal and from simple to complex. ...
... Online and blended learning environments have highlighted the importance of the social and community aspects of learning. An online learning community of inquiry requires social, cognitive, and teaching presences to be effective [30]. This necessitates student cognitive engagement with content, engaged social behaviors, and learning goals [60] in the context of the discipline standards and the communication media. ...
Learning is a cultural construct. Beliefs, perceptions and values regarding learning shape the culture of a classroom and a program of study. A framework for engineering education grounded in the Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board (CEAB) Graduate Attributes and engineering practice is proposed. Methods and activities to shape a learning culture in engineering design education consistent with a community of practice and lifelong learning are also proposed. This transformational approach offers an opportunity to teach lifelong learning and integrate engineering practice and engineering education, while entrenching graduate attributes more deeply in the engineering curriculum. Accountability, engagement, recognition, motivation, appreciation, credibility, and continual improvement are key elements of a functional learning culture. Learning moments are a concise way to make learning to learn a relevant part of each session and encourage student reflection and metacognition.
... Students may be present in online classes but do not interact or participate actively or show interest in learning (Garrison & Cleveland-Innes, 2005). To improve speaking skills, students need to be engaged in interactive activities with the help of their teacher's input and feedback (Goh, 2006;Lear et al., 2010). ...
... Interaction and engagement can promote effective online teaching and learning (Le, 2021;Song et al., 2004). Another important thing to keep student concentration is that the online lesson should be student-centered (Croxton, 2014;Garrison & Cleveland-Innes, 2005). Moreover, interpolated tests should be used in online learning to reduce mind wandering among learners and increase notetaking among them (Szpunar, Moulton, & Schacter, 2013). ...
Full-text available
Although online learning is a must in EFL teaching contexts nowadays, not all freshmen can make progress from it, especially in the English speaking skill. Therefore, this study aims to explore freshmen's online learning difficulties in English speaking skills and find out the solutions. The study involved about 120 non-English majors at some universities, including Nong Lam University, Banking University of Ho Chi Minh City, Industrial University of Ho Chi Minh City, Ho Chi Minh City University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Vietnamese National University - School of Medicine, International University, and Van Lang University in answering a questionnaire. The results showed that learning online does not bring more progress in English speaking skills than the offline learning mode. The results further indicated that although the students are familiar with the online learning mode, they still have problems during their learning, especially with their concentration and interaction. Findings are hoped to contribute to a better understanding of non-English majors' difficulties in the online environment. Then, a solution of adopting Miro integrated into Microsoft Teams is suggested to partly help enhance the students- students' interaction to increase the students' progress in speaking skills when learning online.
... Since the frequency of resolution was low, we did not report Resolution levels in the present study, which is similar to previous research [48], [49]. This result confirms that higher levels of cognitive presence cannot be achieved naturally in a MOOC environment without instructor-targeted guidance and involvement [49], [61]. AstrTalk'19 and IntroPsy'19 showed different temporal changes regarding the distribution of cognitive presence throughout the semester. ...
In a MOOC learning environment, it is essential to understand students' social knowledge constructs and critical thinking for instructors to design intervention strategies. The development of social knowledge constructs and critical thinking can be represented by cognitive presence, which is a primary component of the Community of Inquiry (CoI) model. However, identifying learners’ cognitive presence is a challenging problem, and most researchers have performed this task using traditional machine learning methods that require both manual feature construction and adequate labeled data. In this paper, we present a novel variant of the Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers (BERT) model for cognitive presence identification, namely MOOC-BERT, which is pre-trained on large-scale unlabeled discussion data collected from various MOOCs involving different disciplines. MOOC-BERT learned deep representations of unlabeled data and adopted Chinese characters as inputs without any feature engineering. The experimental results showed that MOOC-BERT outperformed the representative machine learning algorithms and deep learning models in the performance of identification and cross-course generalization. Then, MOOC-BERT was adopted to identify the unlabeled posts of the two courses. The empirical analysis results revealed the evolution and differences in MOOC learners’ cognitive presence levels. These findings provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of pre-training on large-scale and multidiscipline discussion data in facilitating accurate cognitive presence identification, demonstrating the practical value of MOOC-BERT in learning analytics.
... Under the CoI framework, the corresponding tools and coding scheme were developed to measure the incidence of each of these categories in student-teacher interactions. Teaching presence is positively associated with measures of course effectiveness, including cognitive presence, social presence, and students' feeling of belonging to a learning community (Cleveland-Innes & Campbell, 2012;Daspit and D'Souza, 2012;Garrison & Cleveland-Innes, 2005;Shea & Bidjerano, 2009;Shea et al., 2006;Swan & Shih, 2005). ...
Full-text available
Extensive research supports the claim that student-instructor interaction is an essential element of successful online teaching. It is less clear, however, whether teaching presence is discipline-specific, or how it may be affected by the personal and professional background of individual instructors. This article describes the qualitative portion of a mixed-methods study to analyze patterns of commenting behaviors in a graduate-level online nursing course. Following the Community of Inquiry theoretical framework (Garrison, Anderson & Archer, 2000), we compare experienced and inexperienced instructors and specifically focus on how teaching presence evolved over a fifteen-week course. Our findings indicate that teaching experience affects the types and density of comments used by teachers. Experience played a role in how density and overall level of activity evolved as the semester progressed. No differences in teaching presence emerged when comparing instructions for each assignment, but there were differences when comparing instructions to teacher posts.
... For example, group composition significantly enhances cognitive presence , with students' personalities also being an important variable (Lee & Lee, 2006). Additionally, teaching activities and educational context significantly affect the development of cognitive presence (Garrison & Cleveland-Innes, 2005). Therefore, considering the focus of this study is on multimodal communication, we limited the scope of the investigation to social and teaching presences only. ...
Full-text available
... For example, group composition significantly enhances cognitive presence (Garrison & Arbaugh, 2007), with students' personalities also being an important variable (Lee & Lee, 2006). Additionally, teaching activities and educational context significantly affect the development of cognitive presence (Garrison & Cleveland-Innes, 2005). Therefore, considering the focus of this study is on multimodal communication, we limited the scope of the investigation to social and teaching presences only. ...
Full-text available
During the COVID-19 pandemic, from early 2020 onwards, the adoption of synchronous online learning increased rapidly. It offers students a unique learning experience, utilizing communication modes from both in-person and asynchronous online classes. This mixed-methods study examined the impact of modes of communication (visual, bodily behaviors, spoken language, and written language) found in synchronous online contexts on students’ learning experiences from the perspective of social presence and teaching presence, as well as their satisfaction with synchronous online learning experience. An online survey was distributed first to collect quantitative data. The survey results indicated that four different modes influenced students’ communication to a different extent, with written and spoken language being the most effective modes of online communication. These modes were also significantly positively correlated with social presence, teaching presence, and student satisfaction; however, only spoken language was a significant predictor of student satisfaction. In the qualitative phase, semi-structured interviews were conducted to examine students’ perceptions of how multimodality affects social presence, teaching presence, and satisfaction with online learning. This led to five major themes and highlighted how multiple modes of communication supports social presence, thereby helping teachers scaffold students. In addition, the online learning context impacts type of instruction, and the reduced distance between teachers and students improves teaching presence; however, the students felt a lack of affective belonging in their online classes. This study also provided implications for course instructors and designers to help them effectively adopt different modes in synchronous online environments and promote social and teaching presence.
... The question of how to use it effectively and ethically for teaching and learning persists. What is clear is that the message that educational technology scholars (Anderson et al., 2001;Garrison & Cleveland-Innes, 2005;Vaughan et al., 2013) have been saying for years about technology and teaching applies just as well to academic integrity: technology does not replace humanity. Understanding the benefits, as well as the limitations, costs, and impact of using technology to uphold academic integrity is foundational to making informed decisions about how, when, and if to use it. ...
Full-text available
This essay discusses the technological arms race that has developed in response to academic cheating. The author highlights three technological advances that impact academic integrity, from oldest to newest: a) text-matching software, b) online exam proctoring software, and c) artificial intelligence and Large Language Models (LLMs). This essay argues that there is no "silver bullet" to preventing or investigating academic misconduct and that our ethical obligations for learning, teaching, and assessment must include a human focus to promote student success. Keywords: academic integrity academic misconduct technology text-matching software plagiarism artificial intelligence online proctoring e-proctoring equity contract cheating GPT-3 GPT-2
... The community of inquiry framework posits social presence or surface exchange of information alone cannot result in effective learning. Rather, the combination of cognitive presence, teaching presence, and social presence together is essential to provide meaningful and deep learning (Garrison & Cleveland-Innes, 2005). ...
Full-text available
Abstract Online education in the United States continues to experience significant growth. As research suggests, online instruction is as effective as traditional, face-to-face instruction. As the number of students studying in online doctoral programs continues to grow, research has primarily focused on undergraduate- and master’s-level online programs, leaving a void in the literature regarding online doctoral studies. This quantitative correlational study examined perceived student perception of social presence and its relation to learner satisfaction in an asynchronous, fully online doctoral program. As the number of full-time online students continues to increase, so does the need to understand the implications of studying online. This research focused on social presence as experienced among adults in a fully asynchronous, online doctoral program. The results of this study revealed a strong positive correlation between social presence and learner satisfaction among 422 online doctoral students and recent graduates. The study demonstrated the importance of social presence in online doctoral programs to increase student retention, improve instructor effectiveness, build a sense of community, and increase knowledge. Keywords: asynchronous communication, cognitive presence, community of inquiry, computer-mediated communication, hyperpersonal communication, learner satisfaction, social presence, synchronous communication, teaching presence
Silence in language learning is commonly viewed negatively, with language teachers often struggling to interpret learner silence and identify whether it is part of communication, mental processing, or low engagement. This book addresses silence in language pedagogy from a positive perspective, translating research into practice in order to inform teaching and to advocate greater use of positive silence in the classroom. The first half of the book examines the existing research into silence, and the second half provides research-informed practical strategies and classroom tasks. It offers applicable principles for task design that utilises rich resources, which include visual arts, mental representation, poetry, music, and other innovative tools, to allow both silence and speech to express their respective and interrelated roles in learning. Comprehensive yet accessible, it is essential reading for academic researchers and students in applied linguistics, TESOL, and language teaching, as well as for language teachers and educators.
Full-text available
The second edition of E-Learning in the 21st Century provides a coherent, comprehensive, and empirically-based framework for understanding e-learning in higher education. Garrison draws on his decades of experience and extensive research in the field to explore the technological, pedagogical, and organizational implications of e-learning. Most importantly, he provides practical models that educators can use to realize the full potential of e-learning. This book is unique in that it focuses less on the long list of ever-evolving technologies and more on the search for an understanding of these technologies from an educational perspective.
Full-text available
This case study provides a description of student interaction and participation within a computer-mediated environment in an experimental offering of a plant science lab course. Based on structured classroom observation, interviews, and surveys with students and teachers this study examines 1) how a CMC pattern of discourse differs from a face-to-face pattern of discussion in a class setting; 2) whether students participating in a CMC activity produce a discourse that reflects the level of thinking and sharing of ideas desired by the instructor; and 3) how the computer-based interface facilitates and/or inhibits communication between students. This study shows that the CMC-based activities offers an alternative pattern of interaction which differs from the face-to-face pattern in some, but not all ways. The CMC discourse encourages experimentation, sharing of early ideas, increased and more distributed participation, and collaborative thinking. However, for some students the CMC activities are confusing and inhibiting because of the lack of social cues and multiple threads of simultaneous topics - the same features that appeal to other students. Successful use of CMC activities requires a classroom social environment that encourages peer interaction. Equally important is the selection of engaging tasks that are structured enough to diminish confusion but still allow spontaneity and experimentation. Teachers also need to find ways to directly link the CMC discussions to prior and upcoming learning activities so that students will see the value in creating a discourse that they will want to refer to and use in other class activities.
Many teachers see major difficulties in maintaining academic standards in today's larger and more diversified classes. The problem becomes more tractable if learning outcomes are seen as more a function of students’ activities than of their fixed characteristics. The teacher's job is then to organise the teaching/learning context so that all students are more likely to use the higher order learning processes which “academic” students use spontaneously. This may be achieved when all components are aligned, so that objectives express the kinds of understanding that we want from students, the teaching context encourages students to undertake the learning activities likely to achieve those understandings, and the assessment tasks tell students what activities are required of them, and tell us how well the objectives have been met. Two examples of aligned teaching systems are described: problem-based learning and the learning portfolio.
This study compares the experiences of students in face-to-face (in class) discussions with threaded discussions and also evaluates the threaded discussions for evidence of higher-order thinking. Students were enrolled in graduate-level classes that used both modes (face-to-face and online) for course-related discussions; their end-of-course evaluations of both experiences were grouped for analysis and themes constructed based on their comments. Themes included the "expansion of time," "experience of time," "quality of the discussion," "needs of the student," and "faculty expertise." While there are advantages to holding discussions in either setting, students most frequently noted that using threaded discussions increased the amount of time they spent on class objectives and that they appreciated the extra time for reflection on course issues. The face-to-face format also had value as a result of its immediacy and energy, and some students found one mode a better "fit" with their preferred learning mode. The analysis of higher-order thinking was based on a content analysis of the threaded discussions only. Each posting was coded as one of the four cognitive-processing categories described by Garrison and colleagues [1]: 18% were triggering questions, 51% were exploration, 22% were integration, and 7% resolution. A fifth category - social - was appropriate for 3% of the responses and only 12% of the postings included a writing error. This framework provides some support for the assertion that higher-order thinking can and does occur in online discussions; strategies for increasing the number of responses in the integration and resolution categories are discussed.
Part 1: Learning and Teaching in Higher Education 1.Introduction 2.Ways if Understanding Teaching 3.What Students Learn 4.Approaches to Learning 5.Learning form the Student's Perspective 6.The Nature of Good Teaching in Higher Education 7.Theories of Teaching in Higher Education Part 2: Design for Learning 8.The Goals and Structure of a Course 9.Tecahing Strategies for Effective Learning 10.Assessing for Understanding Part 3: Evaluating and Improving the Quality of Teaching and Learning 11.Evaluating the Quality of Higher Education 12.What Does it Take to Improve Teaching?
The study was designed to identify factors that might influ-ence students' perceived learning in 19 Web-based courses. Qualitative and quantitative methods were employed for the collection of data that consist of survey and course data. Twelve variables were identified: three variables were se-lected from the survey and nine variables, including instruc-tor and student behavior variables, were identified from the course data. Results of correlation analysis indicated that the two instructor behavior variables, grade for discussion and requirements for discussion, were significantly and positive-ly correlated to students' perceived learning. It seems that students felt they had experienced better learning in courses, which emphasized online discussion. However, contradicto-ry to our expectation, number of student responses had no significant relation to students' perceived learning, nor did students' perceived interaction with fellow students, al-though number of instructor responses had a strong relation with number of student responses. Since this study, with a small sample size of 19 courses, was based on students' self-report of their learning experiences, caution should be taken when interpreting these findings. The purpose of the study was to identify various variables through observations and present a preliminary view of their relations with students' perceived learning in a Web-based environment. Future re-search should seek larger sample size for more advanced sta-tistical inferences and to use qualitative analysis to examine the nature of student responses.
Time constraints and teaching in crowded classrooms restrict in-depth dialogical interaction in teaching and learning. Electronic conferencing systems, however, have the potential to foster online discussions beyond class time. Case-based instruction also constitutes a promising approach in fostering learners' participation and reflection. The purpose of this study was to investigate (a) the extent to which an electronic conferencing system, named COW (“Conferencing on the Web”), facilitates pre-service teachers' communication outside their classroom, when discussing teaching cases from their field experiences, and (b) the potential of COW and case-based instruction to foster quality discourse and promote students' critical-thinking skills. The results showed that students' online discourse was mostly an exchange of personal experiences and did not reflect well-supported reasoning. Future research on the issue of interactivity should address motivational and affective variables related to the implementation of distance-education methods, variations in pedagogical activity and task structure, and the readiness of mentors and learners.