Cognitive Presence Papers

The following articles which focus primarily on the cognitive presence aspect of the Community of Inquiry are listed here in descending publication order, (most recent at top).  Where possible, links to full-text versions are included.  If full-text copies are not freely available, links to pertinent journals are included.

Sadafa, A. & Olesovab, L. Enhancing cognitive presence in online case discussions with questions based on the Practical Inquiry model. American Journal of Distance Education, Published online: 31 Jan 2017. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08923647.2017.1267525

Breivik, J. (2016). Critical thinking in online educational discussions measured as progress through inquiry phases: A discussion of the cognitive presence construct in the Community of Inquiry framework. International Journal of E-Learning & Distance Education, 32(1).

The development of critical thinking is a rationale for higher education and an important aspect of online educational discussions.  A key component in most accounts of critical thinking is to evaluate the tenability of claims. The community of inquiry framework is among the most influential frameworks for research on online educational discussions.  In this framework, cognitive presence accounts for critical thinking as progress through the following phases of inquiry: triggering event, exploration, integration, and solution. This article discusses the cognitive presence construct as a tool for measuring critical thinking. The article traces the philosophical inspirations of the community of inquiry framework and discusses the construct validity of the cognitive presence construct. Empirical findings enabled by the framework are briefly reviewed and discussed. The author argues that since the cognitive presence construct only to a limited degree addresses the discussants’ evaluation of a claim’s tenability, the construct possesses weaknesses for assessing critical thinking in discussions. In making this claim, the article contributes to methodological and theoretical discussions about research on critical thinking in online educational discussions.

Kozan, K. (2016) The incremental predictive validity of teaching, cognitive and social presence on cognitive load. Internet and Higher Education, 31, 11-19.

The purpose of this study was to investigate the predictive validity of teaching, cognitive and social presence from a cognitive load perspective when perceived learning satisfaction was under control. To serve this purpose, this study included hierarchical multiple regression analyses run on data collected in a fully online graduate program. The results indicated that the presences could statistically significantly predict intrinsic, extraneous, and total loads with a small effect size. Individually, cognitive presence turned out to be the best predictor of intrinsic load while teaching presence was the best predictor of extraneous and total loads. Even though social presence was not a best predictor on its own, it contributed to the presences prediction of cognitive load as a group. As a result, all these findings pointed to a small-size predictive power of the presences on cognitive load thereby providing evidence for their incremental predictive validity and the importance of perceived learning satisfaction.

Kovanovic, V., Joksimovic, S., Waters, Z., Gasevic, D., Kitto, K., Hatala, M. & Siemens, G.. (2016). Towards Automated Content Analysis of Discussion Transcripts: A Cognitive Presence Case . Research Gate, Available online at https://www.researchgate.net/publication/283463126

In this paper, we present the results of an exploratory study that examined the problem of automating content analysis of student online discussion transcripts. We looked at the problem of coding discussion transcripts for the levels of cognitive presence, one of the three main constructs in the Community of Inquiry (CoI) model of distance education. Using Coh-Metrix and LIWC features, together with a set of custom features developed to capture discussion context, we developed a random forest classification system that achieved 70.3% classification accuracy and 0.63 Cohen’s kappa, which is significantly higher than values reported in the previous studies. Besides improvement in classification accuracy, the developed system is also less sensitive to overfitting as it uses only 205 classification features, which is around 100 times less features than in similar systems based on bag-of-words features. We also provide an overview of the classification features most indicative of the different phases of cognitive presence that gives an additional insights into the nature of cognitive presence learning cycle. Overall, our results show great potential of the proposed approach, with an added benefit of providing further characterization of the cognitive presence coding scheme.
Morueta, R. T., López, P. M., Gómez, A. H., & Harris, V. W. (2016). Exploring social and cognitive presences in communities of inquiry to perform higher cognitive tasks. Internet and Higher Education, 31, 122-131.
The purpose of the current study was to explore social and cognitive relationships among students when they are solving complex cognitive tasks in online discussion forums (self-regulated). An online course targeting interventions for risk behaviors was developed in the Virtual Campus of Andalusia, Spain. A total of 9878 units of meaning posted in 96 online discussion forums during three academic years (2010–11, 2011–12 and 2012–13) were analyzed through the Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework. The degree to which online tasks at three different levels of cognitive demand (analyze, evaluate and create) triggered cognitive and social processes were examined. The results indicate that there was a specific increasing trend in the frequency of cognitive and social activity according to the requirement of the task. This study also found that the nature of the learning task modulated the different components of social and cognitive presence in these contexts.
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Olesova, L., Slavin, M., & Lim, J. (2016). Exploring the effect of scripted roles on cognitive presence in asynchronous online discussions. Online Learning, 20(4), 34-54.
Kovanovic, V. Riecke,  Gasevic, D., Joksimovic, S., Hatala, M. & Adesope, O. (2015). Analytics of communities of inquiry: Effects of learning technology use on cognitive presence in asynchronous online discussions. Internet and Higher Education, Available online at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1096751615000421

This paper describes a study that looked at the effects of different technology-use profiles on educational experience within communities of inquiry, and how they are related to the students’ levels of cognitive presence in asynchronous online discussions. Through clustering of students (N = 81) in a graduate distance education engineering course, we identified six different profiles: 1) task-focused users, 2) content-focused no-users, 3) no-users, 4) highly intensive users, 5) content-focused intensive users, and 6) socially-focused intensive users. Identified profiles significantly differ in terms of their use of learning platform and their levels of cognitive presence, with large effect sizes of 0.54 and 0.19 multivariate η2, respectively. Given that several profiles are associated with higher levels of cognitive presence, our results suggest multiple ways for students to be successful within communities of inquiry. Our results also emphasize a need for a different instructional support and pedagogical interventions for different technology-use profiles.

Joksimovic, S., Gasevic, D., Kovanovic, V. Adesope, O. & Hatala, M. (2014).  Psychological characteristics in cognitive presence of communities of inquiry: A linguistic analysis of online discussions. Internet and Higher Education, Available online at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1096751614000189

Benefits of social interaction for learning have widely been recognized in educational research and practice. The existing body of research knowledge in computer supported collaborative learning (CSCL) offers numerous practical approaches that can enhance educational experience in online group activities. The Community of Inquiry (CoI) model is one of the best-researched frameworks that comprehensively explains different dimensions of online learning in communities of inquiry. However, individual differences, well-established in educational psychology to affect learning (e.g., emotions, motivation and working memory capacity), have received much less attention in the CSCL and CoI research published to date. This paper reports on the findings of a study that investigated linguistic features of online discussion transcripts coded by the four levels of cognitive presence — a CoI dimension that explains the extent to which a community can construct meaning from the initial practical inquiry to the eventual problem resolution. The automated linguistic analysis, conducted by using the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) framework, revealed that certain word categories – reported previously in the literature as accurate indicators of specific psychological characteristics – had distinct distributions for each level of cognitive presence of the CoI framework. The most significant finding of the study is that linguistic proxies of increased cognitive load have unique representation patterns across the four levels of cognitive presence. Consequently, this study legitimizes more research on individual differences in general and on cognitive load theory in particular in communities of inquiry. The paper also discusses implications for educational research, practice, and technology.

Garrison, D.R. & Akyol, Z. (In press). Toward the development of a metacognition construct for communities of inquiry. Internet and Higher Education, Available online at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1096751612000838

Metacognition is a required cognitive ability to achieve deep and meaningful learning that must be viewed from both an individual and social perspective. Recently, the transition from the earliest individualistic models to an acknowledgement of metacognition as socially situated and socially constructed has precipitated the study of metacognition in collaborative learning environments. This study presents the results of research to develop and validate a metacognitive construct for use in collaborative learning environments. The metacognitive construct was developed using the Community of Inquiry framework as a theoretical guide and tested by applying qualitative research techniques in previous research. It has been tested in this research by way of developing a metacognition questionnaire. The results indicate that in order to better understand the structure and dynamics of metacognition in emerging collaborative learning environments, we must go beyond individual approaches to learning and consider metacognition in terms of complementary self and co-regulation that integrates individual and shared regulation.

Pellas, N. & Kazanidis, I. (2012). Re-thinking a Cognitive presence framework for the utilization and transferability of the Jigsaw technique in open source virtual worlds. IEEE Learning Technology Newsletter, 14(3), 24-27 (July Issue).

Open source virtual worlds (OSVWs), assert the persistent corollary of interactivity and social formalization of modeling, and allow users (instructors and students) to design learning activities, in juxtaposition with contemporary pedagogical approaches. Accordingly to these provisions the scope of this study focuses on the implementation of an innovative “hybrid” course (face-to-face and online sections) that derived in the existence of a combination between the Cognitive presence framework and Jigsaw transferability for describing and assessing more widely the adequate of the learning procedure. The current work also argues the adequately of the main presuppositions for the implementation of an innovative “hybrid” course that derived in the existence of a combination between the Cognitive presence framework and the Jigsaw’s transferability for describing and assessing more widely the adequate of the learning procedure.

Akyol, Z., & Garrison, D. R. (2011). Assessing Metacognition in an Online Community of Inquiry. The Internet and Higher Education, 14(3), 183-190.

Metacognition is an important aspect of human intelligence and higher learning. There is the recognition that metacognition is not just a private internal activity but also socially situated. In this context, the purpose of this research is to develop and validate a metacognitive construct that provides the opportunity to assess metacognition in online discussions. Furthermore, the Community of Inquiry (CoI) theoretical framework provided the conceptual coherence to construct, operationalize and interpret metacognition in an online collaborative inquiry. The results provided evidence of metacognition indicators in student discussion postings and the frequency of these indicators increased over time.

Akyol, Z., & Garrison, D. R. (2011). Understanding Cognitive Presence in an Online and Blended Community of Inquiry: Assessing Outcomes and Processes for Deep Approaches to Learning. British Journal of Educational Technology, 42(2), 233-250.

This paper focuses on deep and meaningful learning approaches and outcomes associated with online and blended communities of inquiry. Applying mixed methodology for the research design, the study used transcript analysis, learning outcomes, perceived learning, satisfaction, and interviews to assess learning processes and outcomes. The findings for learning processes and outcomes indicated that students in both online and blended courses were able to reach high levels of cognitive presence and learning outcomes. The results suggest that cognitive presence in a community of inquiry is associated with perceived and actual learning outcomes. It is recommended that future research efforts focus on quantitative measures to establish links between cognitive presence and the quality of learning outcomes.

Archibald, D. (2010). Fostering the development of cognitive presence: Initial findings using the community of inquiry survey instrument. The Internet and Higher Education, 13(1-2), 73-74.

Despite the fundamental importance of research design processes to educational research projects, research design needs to be more intentional. The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether using an online learning resource and engaging in online discussion fostered learners” knowledge about educational research design and facilitated critical thinking about research. 189 learners enrolled in 10 research methods courses and workshops offered through two higher education institutions participated in this mixed methods study. Quantitative data were collected through online surveys including the CoI framework. Standard multiple regression was used to predict the effects of social and teaching presences on the development of cognitive presence. Hierarchical multiple regression was then used to assess the ability of teaching and social presences to predict cognitive presence development, after controlling for self-directed learning readiness, prior online learning experience, and prior collaborative learning experience. Qualitative data were later collected from online course transcripts and interviews to support the quantitative findings. Critical discourse was further assessed using content analysis. Preliminary findings from these analyses showed that teaching and social presence explained approximately 69% of the variance in cognitive presence. Both teaching and social presences continued to make significant contributions to the prediction of cognitive presence after controlling for self-directed learning readiness, prior online learning experience, and prior collaborative learning experience.

Boston, W., Diaz, S.R. Gibson, A.M., Ice, P., Richardson, J. & Swan, K. (2009). An Exploration of the Relationship Between Indicators of the Community of Inquiry Framework and Retention in Online Programs. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 13(3), p67-83.

As the growth of online programs continues to rapidly accelerate, concern over retention is increasing. Models for understanding student persistence in the face-to-face environment are well established, however, the many of the variables in these constructs are not present in the online environment or they manifest in significantly different ways. With attrition rates significantly higher than in face-to-face programs, the development of models to explain online retention is considered imperative. This study moves in that direction by exploring the relationship between indicators of the Community of Inquiry Framework and student persistence. Analysis of over 28,000 student records and survey data demonstrates a significant amount of variance in re-enrollment can be accounted for by indicators of Social Presence.

Shea, P. & Bidjerano, T. (2009). Cognitive presence and online learner engagement: a cluster analysis of the community of inquiry framework. Journal of Computing in Higher Education, 21,199–217.

In this paper we make the case that online learning continues to grow at a rapid rate and that understanding this innovative mode of education requires analysis that is both conceptually and empirically driven. This study inquires into the concept of cognitive presence a multivariate measure of significant learning derived from the Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework (Garrison et al. in Am J Distance Educ, 15(1): 3–21, 2001). The CoI framework conceptualizes online knowledge building as a result of collaborative work among members in learning communities characterized by instructional orchestration appropriate to the online environments (teaching presence) and a supportive and collaborative online setting (social presence). We present results of a study of 5,000 online learners to attempt to further validate the CoI framework and articulate the relationships among the constructs within it. Utilizing cluster analysis we propose that the three forms of presence that characterize the CoI framework can be understood through an equilibrium model and that this model has important implications for the design of online instruction and the success of collaborative online learning.


De Leng, B.A., Dolmans,D.H.J.M., Jöbsis, B., Muijtjens, A.M.M. & van der Vleuten, C.P.M. (2009). Exploration of an e-learning model to foster critical thinking on basic science concepts during work placements. Computers & Education,53
(1), 1-13.

We designed an e-learning model to promote critical thinking about basic science topics in online communities of students during work placements in higher education. To determine the effectiveness and efficiency of the model we explored the online discussions in two case studies. We evaluated the quantity of the interactions by looking at quantitative data of the discussion ‘threads’ and we evaluated the quality of the discussion by content analysis of the individual messages. Both the procedural facilitation of the discussion and the instrument for content analysis were based on Garrison’s “Practical Inquiry model of Cognitive Presence”. Furthermore, we explored the experiences of the students and moderators by interviewing them and we organised their perceptions using the framework of an activity system. On the basis of the quantitative and qualitative data we conclude that the e-learning model was successful in establishing a dialogue among a group of students and an expert during work placements at different locations. The ‘Practical Inquiry model’ was useful in facilitating a sustained on-topic discourse involving critical thinking. Although the amount of critical thinking was moderate, the results suggest ways to increase integration and resolution activities in the online discussions.

Shea, P. & Bidjerano, T. (2009). Community of inquiry as a theoretical framework to foster “epistemic engagement” and “cognitive presence” in online education. Computers & Education,52(3), 543-553.

 In this paper, several recent theoretical conceptions of technology-mediated education are examined and a study of 2159 online learners is presented. The study validates an instrument designed to measure teaching, social, and cognitive presence indicative of a community of learners within the community of inquiry (CoI) framework [Garrison, D. R., Anderson, T., & Archer, W. (2000). Critical inquiry in a textbased environment: Computer conferencing in higher education. The Internet and Higher Education, 2, 1–19; Garrison, D. R., Anderson, T., & Archer, W. (2001). Critical thinking, cognitive presence, and computer conferencing in distance education. American Journal of Distance Education, 15(1), 7–23]. Results indicate that the survey items cohere into interpretable factors that represent the intended constructs. Further it was determined through structural equation modeling that 70% of the variance in the online students’ levels of cognitive presence, a multivariate measure of learning, can be modeled based on their reports of their instructors’ skills in fostering teaching presence and their own abilities to establish a sense of social presence. Additional analysis identifies more details of the relationship between learner understandings of teaching and social presence and its impact on their cognitive presence. Implications for online teaching, policy, and faculty development are discussed.

Buraphadeja, V., Dawson, K. (2008). Content Analysis in Computer-Mediated Communication: Analyzing Models for Assessing Critical Thinking Through the Lens of Social Constructivism. The American Journal of Distance Education, 22(3), 1–28.

This article reviews content analysis studies aimed to assess critical thinking in computer-mediated communication. It also discusses theories and content analysis models that encourage critical thinking skills in asynchronous learning environments and reviews theories and factors that may foster critical thinking skills and new knowledge construction.

Stein, D.S., Wanstreet, C.E., Glazer, H.R., Engle, C.L., Harris, R.T., Johnston, S.M., Simons, M.R. & Trinko, L.A. (2007). Creating shared understanding through chats in a community of inquiry. The Internet and Higher Education, 10, 103 – 115.

This study investigated the process by which shared understanding develops in a chat learning space. It used a practical inquiry model to assess the development of cognitive presence. The study also explored how the pattern of conversation in synchronous discussion supports cognitive presence and how cognitive presence changes over time. Results show that there is a pattern among group members that involves reacquainting themselves through social presence and orienting themselves to the cognitive task through teaching presence. Individual meaning contributed by each member of the group through triggering events and exploratory statements is transformed as members see the text on the screen and respond to it through questioning and collective exploration. This group exploration enables the transition to shared understanding.

Kanuka, H., Liam, R. & Laflamme, E. (2007). The influence of instructional methods on the quality of online discussion. British Journal of Educational Technology, 38(2), 260 – 271.

In this case study, we examined the influence of five groups of communication activities on the quality of students’ contributions to online discussion. The activities were the nominal group technique, debate, invited expert, WebQuest and reflective deliberation. Quality of discussion was operationalised as cognitive presence, a construct developed to investigate the role of critical discourse in higher, distance education contexts. Using the quantitative content analysis technique, the postings of 19 students in an undergraduate university course were assigned to one of the four categories of cognitive presence. Across the five activities, the proportion and number of contributions categorised in the highest phases of cognitive presence was low (20.21%), but was highest during the Webquest and debate activities. There are three advantageous qualities of these two activities, we argue:

  1. They were well structured.
  2. They provided clearly defined roles and responsibilities for the students.
  3. They provoked the students to explicitly confront others’ opinions.

Schrire, S. (2006). Knowledge building in asynchronous discussion groups: Going beyond quantitative analysis. Computers & Education, 46(1), 49-70.

This contribution examines the methodological challenges involved in defining the collaborative knowledge- building processes occurring in asynchronous discussion and proposes an approach that could advance understanding of these processes. The written protocols that are available to the analyst provide an exact record of the instructional transactions at a given time in the online discussion. On the basis of a study of online discussion forums used in a higher education context, a model for the analysis of collaborative knowledge building in asynchronous discussion is presented. The model allows examination of the communication from the multiple perspectives of interaction, cognition and discourse analysis. The investigation was conducted using a qualitative case study approach and involved an in-depth examination of three cases. Content analysis of the discourse was done at a number of levels, focusing on the discussion forum itself, the discussion threads, the messages, and the exchanges and moves among the messages. As a result of correspondences found among the variables representing the different levels of the analysis, the most important being the relationship between type of interaction, phase of critical inquiry, and move in the exchange structure, it was possible to build a scheme for assessing knowledge building in asynchronous discussion groups. The scheme integrates the interactive, cognitive and discourse dimensions in computer- supported collaborative learning (CSCL). The study represents a merging of quantitative analysis within qualitative methodology and provides both an analytic and a holistic perspective on CSCL.

Garrison, D. R. & Cleveland-Innes, M. (2005). Facilitating Cognitive Presence in Online Learning: Interaction Is Not Enough. American Journal of Distance Education, 19(3), pp. 133-148.

This paper reports on a study that assessed the depth of learning in an online learning environment. The focus was on the nature of online interaction in four distance education course designs. An extensive review of the literature in online interaction from the perspective of higher levels of learning is provided. The Study Process Questionnaire was used to measure the shift in students approach to learning from the beginning to the end of the courses. The results suggest that design has a significant impact on the nature of the interaction and whether students approach 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.

Vaughan, N., & Garrison, D. R. (2005). Creating cognitive presence in a blended faculty development community. The Internet and Higher Education, 8, 1-12.

The focus of this study was to understand how a blended learning approach can support the inquiry process (cognitive presence) in a faculty development context. The findings from this study indicate that there are several key differences and similarities in cognitive presence between face-to-face and online discussions. These differences and similarities are specifically related to the four phases of cognitive presence of the practical inquiry model. A comparison of the face-to-face and online discussion forums indicates that: a slightly higher percentage of triggering events occurred in the face-to-face discussions; exploration was the dominant phase in both environments; a noticeably greater percentage of comments were coded for integration in the online discussions; and the resolution/application phase was almost non-existent in both forms of discussion. The results from this study imply that an increased emphasis should be placed on teaching presence within a blended learning environment to ensure that participants achieve resolution in the inquiry cycle.

Kanuka, H., & Garrison, D.R. (2004). Cognitive Presence in Online Learning. Journal of Computing in Higher Education, 15(2), 30-48.

The article aims to advance understanding of how to facilitate higher levels of learning when using asynchronous text-based Internet communication technology. The framework used to guide this study is based on the community of inquiry model developed by Garrison, Anderson, and Archer (2000). Crucial methodological constructs congruent with this model and higher-order learning were identified. They are discourse, collaboration, management, reflection, monitoring, and knowledge construction. Using a focus group interview, the results of this study reveal that these methodological constructs are consistent with, and supportive of, the facilitation of higher levels of learning in an asynchronous text-based Internet environment.

Meyer, K. (2004). Evaluating Online Discussions: Four Difference Frames of Analysis. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 8(2), 101-114.

This study uses four different “frames” to analyze 17 online discussions that occurred in two doctoral level classes in educational leadership. Two of the frames were developmental models: King and Kitchener’s Reflective Judgment Model and Perry’s model of intellectual and ethical development. Two of the frames captured levels of thinking: Garrison’s four-stage critical-thinking model and Bloom’s taxonomy of educational objectives. Of the 278 individual postings, 45.3% were at levels five through seven of the King and Kitchener model, 100% were at levels five through nine of the Perry model, 52.2% were at the two highest levels of the Garrison model, and 54.3% were at levels four through six in Bloom’s taxonomy. These results seem appropriate to the level of response expected of doctoral students. For each frame, the analysis resulted in additional findings. The study concludes that each frame has value and focuses attention on different aspects of the student’s thinking as evidenced in his/her posting to an online discussion; however, some frames are more difficult to use than others, which argues for specific training and/or tailoring the topic of discussions to address issues in a particular manner. Lastly, the question initiating each of the online discussions influenced the level of the responses from students. Each frame has the potential to illumine students’ online discussions, although using multiple frames may have more benefit than using any one frame exclusively.

Meyer, K. (2003). Face-to-Face Versus Threaded Discussions: The Role of Time and Higher-Order Thinking. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 7(3), 55-65.

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 quot;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.

Garrison, D. R. (2003). Cognitive presence for effective asynchronous online learning: The role of reflective inquiry, self-direction and metacognition. In J. Bourne & J. C. Moore (Eds.), Elements of quality online education: Practice and direction. Volume 4 in the Sloan C Series, Needham, MA: The Sloan Consortium.

The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate that asynchronous online learning can create a rich cognitive presence capable of supporting effective, higher-order learning. It begins by exploring the properties of asynchronous online learning and their link with the dimensions of higher-order learning. The dimensions of higher-order learning emerge from the concepts of reflective inquiry, self-direction and metacognition. Moreover, it is argued that the dimensions of higher-order learning, reflection and collaboration, are, in fact, congruent with the asynchronous and connectivity properties of online learning. Finally, within this context, the issues and principles of effective asynchronous online learning are explored.

McKlin, T., Harmon, S.W., Evans, W., & Jone, M.G. (2002). Cognitive Presence in Web-Based Learning: A Content Analysis of Students’ Online Discussions. American Journal of Distance Education, 15(1) 7-23.

This first phase of a content analysis of online, asynchronous, educational discussions is designed to generate a method for automatically categorizing messages into cognitive categories using neural network software. This phase of research answers two questions regarding the method of automatically analyzing discussion messages: Can a neural network reliably categorize messages under optimum circumstances, and how can the method be improved to generate greater reliability? To determine whether neural network software can reliably categorize messages, two trials were conducted. The first, “best fit” trial, a proof of concept trial comprised only of messages which best fit the categorization model, generated strong reliability figures (CR = 0.84; k = 0.76), and the second, systematic sample, a sample much more indicative of the messages generated in an online educational discussion, produced formative reliability figures (CR = 0.68; k = 0.31) from which the method of analysis may be optimized. This analysis also provides a distribution based on cognitive presence categories and subcategories of one semester of graduate online educational messages.

Garrison, D. R., Anderson, T., & Archer, W. (2001). Critical thinking, cognitive presence, and computer conferencing in distance education. American Journal of Distance Education, 15(1).

The purpose of this paper is to describe a practical approach to judging the nature and quality of critical discourse in a computer conference. A model of a critical community of inquiry frames the research. A core concept in defining a community of inquiry is cognitive presence. In turn, the practical inquiry model operationalizes cognitive presence for the purpose of developing a tool to assess critical discourse and reflection. Encouraging empirical findings related to an attempt to create an efficient and reliable instrument to assess the nature and quality of critical discourse and thinking in a text-based educational context are presented. Finally, it is suggested that cognitive presence (i.e., critical, practical inquiry) can be created and supported in a computer conference environment with appropriate teaching and social presence.

Garrison, D. R., Anderson, T., & Archer, W. (2000). Critical inquiry in a text-based environment: Computer conferencing in higher education. The Internet and Higher Education, 2(2-3), 87 – 105.

The purpose of this study is to provide conceptual order and a tool for the use of CMC and computer conferencing in supporting an educational experience. Central to the study introduced here is a model of community inquiry that constitutes three elements essential to an educational transaction – cognitive presence, social presence, and teaching presence. Indicators (key words/phrases) for each of the three elements emerged from the analysis of computer conferencing transcripts. The indicators described represent a template or tool for researchers to analyze written transcripts as well as a guide to educators for the optimal use of computer conferencing as a medium to facilitate an educational transaction. This research would suggest that computer conferencing has considerable potential to create a community of inquiry for educational purposes.