From 1997 to 2001, Randy Garrison,
Terry Anderson, and Walter Archer
collaborated on “A Study of the
Characteristics and Qualities of Text-
Based Computer Conferencing for
Educational Purposes” a research
project at Athabasca University.
The Community of Inquiry framework
represents a process of creating a deep
and meaningful learning experience
through the development of three
interdependent elements - social,
teaching and cognitive presence.
Social presence refers to the ability of
learners to project their personal
characteristics into the community of
inquiry, thereby presenting themselves
as “real people.”
Social presence is exemplified
through responsive communications,
course announcements, facilitated
discussions, directed group projects,
and networking opportunities.
Teaching presence refers to the
design, facilitation, and direction of
cognitive and social processes for the
purpose of realizing personally
meaningful and educational
worthwhile learning outcomes.
Teaching presence is exemplified by
guiding students through course
materials, reinforcing key concepts,
fostering critical thinking skills,
providing formative feedback and
support in a timely manner, and
evaluating student progress
throughout the learning experience.
Cognitive presence refers to the
extent to which the participants in
any particular configuration of a
community of inquiry are able to
construct meaning through sustained
Cognitive presence is exemplified by
moving students from the initial
learning stages of knowledge and
comprehension toward the critical
learning stages of application,
analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.