Date of Award

May 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Planning, Design, and the Built Environment

Committee Member

Shima Clarke

Committee Member

Mike Jackson

Committee Member

Dhaval Gajjar

Committee Member

Mickey Lauria

Committee Member

April Pelt


Technology is transforming higher education by removing geographic constraints for both students and instructors and increasing learning and cooperation with internet-based applications. Bloom’s taxonomy continues to play a significant role in instructional design for both the classroom and online, but other theories that address the challenges of designing and teaching effective online courses have emerged. Also, classroom techniques, many learned as a teaching assistant in graduate school, may not transfer to an online environment. The Community of Inquiry framework (CoI), which originated in 1999 in response to online education, emphasizes the importance of teaching, social, and cognitive presences as necessary components for effective online learning. CoI research has focused on student and instructor perceptions of online presence correlated with student performance using one-group posttest-only designs. The lack of empirical evidence for improved learning with CoI brings into question the value of its implementation. The present research adds to the CoI body of knowledge by providing empirical evidence of CoI learning compared to an online course without CoI. A quasi-experiment over three fall semesters explores the effect size of the CoI framework and its implications for future CoI implementation.



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