The Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework is based on the constructivist theory that postulates that people construct knowledge and meaning from experiences. The CoI framework emphasizes collaboration in the learning process and delineates the importance of social, cognitive, and teaching presences in constructing the learning experience.

It was developed during a Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities research funded project entitled “A Study of the Characteristics and Qualities of Text-Based Computer Conferencing for Educational Purposes” project which ran from 1997 to 2001. Dr. Andy Garrison, Terry Anderson, and Walter Archer championed the framework.

Cognitive Presence

Cognitive presence refers to the degree to which the CoI participants “are able to construct meaning through sustained communication.” Garrison, Anderson, and Archer established a direct connection between cognitive presence and critical thinking associating them to the most important goals of higher education.

Teaching Presence

In the context of higher education, the instructor establishes teaching presence by selecting, designing, organizing, and presenting course content as well as by facilitating the learning process supporting cognitive and social presence.

Social Presence

This element of the framework indicates the ability of CoI participants to “project their personal characteristics into the community, thereby presenting themselves to the other participants as ‘real people (Garrison, Anderson, and Archer, 89). Social presence is developed to advance cognitive presence in achieving educational goals.

*Learner Presence

*At Hostos, we have modified this element where we discus Social & Learner Presence. A fourth element, learner presence, was introduced in 2010 (Shea and Bidjerano) to address the role of self efficacy and self-regulated learning in the Community of Inquiry.

Key Takeaways

  • Useful for designing online learning experiences
  • Takes into consideration social context for learning
  • Considers the effects of spoken and written language have on educational experience


Methods for Online Teaching

The Methods for Online Teaching program goes beyond the basics of implementation and course development. It focuses on strategies that can help instructors improve the experience for both online learning and course delivery. The course explores best practices and strategies for online teaching, including resources and activities tailored to online learning at Hostos Community College.  This will be conducted with emphasis on the Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework to promote important course design strategies and revisit the roles of instructor, learner, and the learning community. 


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