Role of the Community of Inquiry Framework in assessing best practices in online and hybrid course implementations in nationally certified courses

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Brief Abstract

The purpose of this discovery session is to explore research ideas in assessing the implementation of the Community of Inquiry Framework as a pedagogical tool for evaluating the implementation of cognitive, social and teaching presence in a nationally certified evidence-based course.

Presenters

Amar Kanekar is an Associate Professor and Graduate Program Coordinator for Health Education and Health Promotion at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. His eleven years of teaching experience involves more than twenty-five different courses (undergraduate and graduate) in the areas of public health, health education and health promotion. Recipient of numerous teaching awards, his pedagogical techniques involve online –distance learning, hybrid and face to face courses with web enhancement using instructional technology such as synchronous and asynchronous student interaction. His research areas of interest focus on adolescent health, measurement in health education, global health, online and hybrid pedagogy and health behavior interventions. He currently serves on the Society for Public Health Education Ethics Committee and Editorial Board for the journal American Journal of Public Health . He also on the Review Board of the American Journal of Health Behavior and Journal of Health Education Teaching.

Extended Abstract

The popularly known community of inquiry framework as per Garrison, Anderson & Archer (2001) discusses cognitive presence, social presence and teaching presence when designing and implementing online courses. Numerous researchers have applied the Community of Inquiry Framework (COI) while designing and implementing online and hybrid courses over the last decade ( English, West & Jackson 2019; Reitsma & van den Berg, 2017; Zhang, 2020),  Cognitive Presence is the ability of learners to co-construct knowledge as they engage in course interactions, the aim of social presence is to develop interpersonal relationships among learners and the role of teaching presence is more of facilitation techniques used by instructors to facilitate course based activities which may involve social and cognitive presence.(Stavredes, 2011). Quality Matters is a research-based national framework for designing online and hybrid courses (https://www.qualitymatters.org) where one of the central tenets of its mission being to peer review and provide certification in quality online course design.  

 

The purpose of this discovery session is to explore research ideas in assessing the implementation of the Community of Inquiry Framework as a pedagogical tool for evaluating the implementation of cognitive, social and teaching presence in an evidence-based course. Several courses taught at the undergraduate and graduate levels by faculty across  institutions emphasize best practices in course design but do not necessarily and effectively assess the implementation of assignments and activities. The presenter believes that effective integration of the COI framework in well designed courses strengthen the courses in terms of better pedagogical practices and improved learners education and retention.   

 

The presenter would use examples of undergraduate health education courses taught by him to initiate the initial contextual discussion and float ideas such as survey implementation in active LMS environment, content analyses of activities related to gauging  social, cognitive and teaching presence and across the institution surveys to gauge what elements related to the practice of COI framework are practiced and if they differ based on multiple parameters such as type of instructors ( full time vs part time), expertise areas ( psychology, health, science, management, social sciences etc), undergraduate vs graduate courses, number of students, cultural and educational background etc. Also explored would be challenges for assessing and implementing  frameworks  such as COI from learners and instructors perspectives. This session generates online conversation around application of the Community of Inquiry framework as an evidence-based tool for assessing pedagogical best practices in online and hybrid courses, particularly if they have received a quality national review. Finally, the take away from this session is for attendees to come out with brainstorming a variety of research ideas which they could apply in their respective courses as well as at their institutions.