Garrison and Community of Inquiry

I spent a lot of time reading these articles, and then didn’t finish the blog I’d begun on them!

I am now teaching a course at BYU, Introduction to Middle Eastern Studies (MESA 201).  As I read the two articles below, I thought of several questions that I might ask the class in the categories of social presence.  (I’m not necessarily doing research around Community of Inquiry, but wanted to think about this in that context nonetheless.)

  • Did you feel that through the class, your classmates came to know you better /as a real person?
  • Which activities/assignments were most helpful in helping you feel that others knew you?

– in-class discussions, pair-shares, etc

– discussion boards

– twitter posts

– other [fill in]

  • What questions might be asked for for each of these components? affective expression, open communication, & group cohesion

I found it harder to think up research questions for cognitive and teaching presence, but after reading the articles I can see that it is critical for researchers to investigate how the three presences interact.  For example, in the 2007 article, the authors write that “nearly all of this research has been done without considering its [social presence’s] relationship to cognitive and teaching presence” (159). As I think about it, it is much more interesting to find out how one or two presences influence the others, than to just observe things within a single presence.  Perhaps it would help to see the Community of Inquiry survey instrument that is used in Akyol & Garrison 2008 article.  Look this up!

I don’t completely buy an argument I see in these articles and elsewhere.  It is that social presence is most important for students who are less self-motivated.  I’m just not sure I agree.  From my own experience teaching online, some of the students who most projected their own social presence were also those most engaged intellectually.  They thrived on having a secure sense of social presence, too.  It added to their intellectual engagement.  On the other hand, some of the least motivated students didn’t strive to project much of a social presence (though I can think of one student for whom that was everything). In any case, I think this claim needs further investigation before it gets tossed around as fact.


  • Garrison, D. R., Anderson, T., & Archer, W. (2010). The first decade of the community of inquiry framework: A retrospective. The Internet and Higher Education, 13(1-2), 5-9.
  • Garrison, D., & Arbaugh, J. (2007). Researching the community of inquiry framework: Review, issues, and future directions. The Internet and Higher Education, 10(3), 157-172.

One thought on “Garrison and Community of Inquiry

  1. I have had similar thoughts . . . I guess the way I think about it is that both groups value it, but the highly motivated students don’t need it to be able to progress while the less motivated students will not figure out a way to motivate themselves without it.

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