Thompson, Vogler & Xiu

Strategic Tooling: Technology for Constructing a Community of Inquiry

Penny Thompson, Oklahoma State University
Jane S. Vogler, Oklahoma State University
Ying Xiu, Oklahoma State University


The Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework describes online learning as a collaborative process supported by social presence, teaching presence, and cognitive presence, which work together to facilitate critical thinking and learning. The technology used in an online class can facilitate a CoI when its features support, rather than constrain, activities that promote these three elements. Affordance theory provides a starting place for matching technology features to teaching and learning goals. Based on affordances and constraints, we analyzed the use of technology in our online and hybrid courses to evaluate how well our chosen tools supported each CoI element, noting ways in which we might better capitalize on a tool’s affordances in future iterations of the course. By sharing our reflections, we provide instructors with an example of how they might apply a research-based framework to their own use of technology in the online environment for more effective course design that better supports student learning.


teaching presence, social presence, cognitive presence, technology affordances, community of inquiry, instructional design, online learning, higher education

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