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Examining teaching presence, social presence, cognitive presence, satisfaction and learning in online and blended course contexts

Akyol, Zehra
Online and Blended learning are becoming widespread along with the changing needs of society and advances in technology. Recently, there is a growing emphasis on building learning communities in order to increase the effectiveness of these learning environments. In recent years there is one promising theory that has generated considerable interest and has been widely adopted and studied by researchers: the Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework developed by Garrison, Anderson and Archer (2000). The CoI framework, with its emphasis on critical thinking and collaboration, provides a well-structured model and set of guidelines to create effective learning communities in online and blended learning environments. The purpose of this study was to examine the development of a CoI in online and blended learning contexts in relation to students’ perceived learning and satisfaction. A graduate course delivered online and blended format was the focus of the study. The data was collected through transcript analysis of online discussion, the CoI Survey, and interviews to examine social, teaching, cognitive presence postings patterns, to explore students’ perceptions of each presence, learning and satisfaction, and to compare the differences between online and blended learning environments. Overall, all three sources of data indicated that a CoI developed in both courses. However, the study found developmental differences in the CoI presences regarding the course format. In terms of social presence, two categories – affective communication and group cohesion – were found different. Another difference between the two course formats was on the cognitive presence categories. Overall, the transcript analysis in this study found that integration was the most frequently coded phase in both courses. However, the integration phase was found to be significantly higher in the blended course compared to the online course. Finally, the survey analysis yielded higher perceptions of each presence in both courses. However, the students in the blended course had slightly higher perceptions of each presence. The only significant difference was found on teaching presence. The study also yielded some significant relationships among presences which varied according to the course.