Community of Inquiry (CoI) is based on social constructivism, where “a group of individuals collaboratively engage in purposeful critical discourse and reflection to construct personal meaning and confirm mutual understanding: (Athabasca University, n.d.). It entails three interconnected main elements of social presence, cognitive presence, and teaching presence.
Through a DBR study, a contextual understanding of the roles and responsibilities of online educators at the setting of the research was developed. Then the extent of the application of each of the teaching presence dimensions (i.e. design and organization, facilitating discourse, and direct instruction) and their relevant indicators was determined to generate a list of categories for identifying teaching practices in each area of responsibilities of an online educator. These lists of categories are included in the DOOT Observation Forms and can be used by DOOT observers.
For the details of the DBR study and development of the DOOT Protocol based on CoI, refer to link
Social presence is the pre-requisite for cognitive presence. Learners need to be able to identify with the community (e.g. the class) and its goals, project their individual personalities, and develop trust and inter-personal relationships among them. social presence serves the required emotional connections between the community members; learners need to know each other and find a common ground they can stand on before engaging in purposeful discourse and reflection together.
The ultimate goal of the educational experience is the cognitive presence, which happens when the learners are able to engage in a purposeful, ongoing communication, debate, and reflection that results in construction and confirmation of meaning.
Teaching presence is responsible for establishing the social presence and facilitating the transition from social to cognitive presence. Educators, or other assigned members of learning community, achieve teaching presence through design and organization of the course, facilitating discourse, and providing direct instruction to the community.