International Online Graduate Students’ Perceptions of CoI

Charmaine Bissessar 1 , Debra Black 2 ,  and Mehraz Boolaky 2
  • 1 University of Roehampton London,
  • 2 University of Liverpool Online, , United Kingdom


With the current issue of student retention and attrition as a major aspect of online education, this interpretivist qualitative case study sought to determine whether online facilitators and online student-to-student relationships affect online graduate students’ ability to complete their modules and achieve student learning objectives and outcomes (LOO). This study encompassed CoI (Community of Inquiry) and surveyed 54 participants who indicated that the three interdependent presences that form part of CoI (cognitive, social, and teaching) were instrumental in helping them to complete their modules and to achieve student learning objectives and outcomes (LOO). Students’ feedback on online facilitators exemplified their cognitive presence in the form of statements linked to triggering events and exploring of ideas. However, there were few statements connected to integration and none linked to resolution. Overall, most of the data collected connected to subsets of teaching and social presences rather than cognitive presence. Additionally, students’ feedback on their peers suggests that social presence that fosters group cohesion is the most critical factor to assist in completion of the modules and achieving student LOO. Open communication was also indicated and, to a lesser degree, personal/affective subsets of social presence were evident. The findings of this study suggest that more research is needed on the components of the three presences and their relationship to students’ ability to complete the module and achieve student LOO.

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