Revising and Validating the Community of Inquiry Instrument for MOOCs and other Global Online Courses  

Keywords: Community of Inquiry, MOOCs, global online courses, teachers of English, English as a foreign language


Globally, online course enrollments have grown, and English is often used as a lingua franca for instruction. The Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework can inform the creation of more supportive, interaction-rich online learning environments. However, the framework and its accompanying validated instrument were created in North America, limiting researchers’ ability to use the instrument in courses where participants have varying levels of English language proficiency. We revised the CoI instrument so it could be more easily read and understood by individuals whose native language is not English. Using exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses (EFA and CFA) on data obtained from global online courses and MOOCs, we found the revised instrument had good fit statistics once seven items were removed. This study expands the usability of the CoI instrument beyond the original and translated versions, and provides an example of adapting and validating an existing instrument for global courses.


Alaulamie, L. A. (2014). Teaching presence, social presence, and cognitive presence as predictors of students’ satisfaction in an online program at a Saudi University (Publication No. 3671236) [Doctoral dissertation, Ohio University]. ProQuest Dissertations Publishing.

Anders, A. (2015). Theories and applications of massive online open courses (MOOCs): The case for hybrid design. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 16(6).

Arbaugh, J., Cleveland-Innes, M., Diaz, S., Garrison, D., Ice, P., Richardson, J., & Swan, K. (2008). Developing a Community of Inquiry instrument: Testing a measure of the Community of Inquiry framework using a multi-institutional sample. The Internet and Higher Education, 11(3–4), 133–136.

Archer, W. (2010). Beyond online discussions: Extending the Community of Inquiry framework to entire courses. The Internet and Higher Education, 13(1–2), 69.

Bawa, P. (2016). Retention in online courses: Exploring issues and solutions—A literature review. SAGE Open, 6(1).

Bodily, R., Leary, H., & West, R. E. (2019). Research trends in instructional design and technology journals. British Journal of Educational Technology, 50(1), 64–79.

Brown, T. A. (2015). Confirmatory factor analysis for applied research (2nd ed.). Guilford Press.

Choy, J. L. F., & Quek, C. L. (2016). Modelling relationships between students’ academic achievement and community of inquiry in an online learning environment for a blended course. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 32(4), 106–124.

Council of Europe. (2018). Common European framework of reference for languages: Learning, teaching, assessment. Companion volume with new descriptors. Council of Europe.

Cronbach, L. J. (1951). Coefficient alpha and the internal structure of tests. Psychometrika, 16, 297–334.

Donitsa-Schmidt, S., & Topaz, B. (2018). Massive open online courses as a knowledge base for teachers. Journal of Education for Teaching: International Research & Pedagogy, 44(5), 608–620.

Field, A. (2009). Discovery statistics using SPSS (3rd. ed.). Sage.

Finardi, K. R., & Tyler, J. (2015). The role of English and technology in the internationalization of education: Insights from the analysis of MOOCs. In 7th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies (pp. 11–18). Barcelona, Spain.

Fiock, H. S. (2020). Designing a community of inquiry in online courses. International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 21(1). 135–153.

Garrison, D. R., Anderson, T., & Archer, W. (2000). Critical inquiry in a text-based environment: Computer conferencing in higher education. The Internet and Higher Education, 2(2–3), 87–105.

Gavriilidou, Z., & Mitits, L. (2016). Adaptation of the strategy inventory for language learning (SILL) for students aged 12–15 into Greek: Developing an adaptation protocol. Selected Papers on Theoretical and Applied Linguistics, 21, 588–601.

Gil-Jaurena, I., Figaredo, D. D., Velázquez, B. B., & Encina, J. M. (2019, June). Validation of the Community of Inquiry Survey (Spanish Version) at UNED Courses. In EDEN Conference Proceedings (pp. 28-34).

Gorsuch, R. L. (1983). Factor analysis (2nd ed.). Lawrence Erlbaum.

Heilporn, G., & Lakhal, S. (2020). Investigating the reliability and validity of the Community of Inquiry framework: An analysis of categories within each presence. Computers & Education, 145.

Hu, M., Arnesen, K., Barbour, M. K., & Leary, H. (2019). An analysis of the Journal of Online Learning Research, 2015–2018. Journal of Online Learning Research, 5(2), 123–144.

Hu, L., & Bentler, P. M. (1999). Cutoff criteria for fit indexes in covariance structure analysis: Conventional criteria versus new alternatives. Structural Equation Modeling: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 6(1), 1–55.

Kaiser, H. F. (1970). A second generation little jiffy. Psychometrika, 35, 401–415.

Kim, D. (2017). Flipped interpreting classroom: Flipping approaches, student perceptions and design considerations. The Interpreter and Translator Trainer, 11(1), 38–55.

Kline, R. B. (2011). Principles and practice of structural equation modeling (3rd ed.). Guilford Press.

Koukis, N. & Jimoyiannis, A. (2019). MOOCS for teacher professional development: Exploring teachers’ perceptions and achievements. Interactive Technology and Smart Education,16(1), 74–91.

Kovanović, V., Joksimović, S., Poquet, O., Hennis, T., Čukić, I., de Vries, P., Hatala, M., Dawson, S., Siemens, G., & Gašević, D. (2018). Exploring Communities of Inquiry in massive open online courses. Computers & Education, 119, 44–58.

Kumar, S., Dawson, K., Black, E. W., Cavanaugh, C., & Sessums, C. D. (2011). Applying the Community of Inquiry framework to an online professional practice doctoral program. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 12(6), 126–142.

Lowenthal, P., & Hodges, C. (2015). In search of quality: Using quality matters to analyze the quality of massive, open, online courses (MOOCs). The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 16(5).

Ma, Z., Wang, J., Wang, Q., Kong, L., Wu, Y., & Yang, H. (2017). Verifying causal relationships among the presences of the Community of Inquiry framework in the Chinese context. International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 18(6), 213–230.

Maíz-Arévalo, C. (2014). Expressing disagreement in English as a lingua franca: Whose pragmatic rules. Intercultural Pragmatics, 11(2), 199–224.

Meyers, L. S., Gamst, G., & Guaino, A. J. (2017). Applied multivariate research: Design and interpretation (3rd ed.). Sage.

Moreira, J. A., Ferreira, A. G., & Almeida, A. C. (2013). Comparing communities of inquiry of Portuguese higher education students: One for all or one for each? Open Praxis, 5(2), 165–178.

Nunnally, J. & Bernstein, I. (1994). Psychometric theory (3rd ed.). McGraw-Hill.

Öberg, L. M., & Nyström, C. A. (2016). Evaluation of the level of collaboration in a regional crisis exercise setting: The use of Community of Inquiry. In Proceedings of the 39th Information Systems Research Conference in Scandinavia, Ljungskile, Sweden.

Palvia, S., Aeron, P., Gupta, P., Mahapatra, D., Rosner, R., & Sindhi, S. (2018). Online education: Worldwide status, challenges, trends, and implications. Journal of Global Information Technology Management, 21(4), 233–241.

Phan, T., & Zhu, M. (2020). Professional development journey in MOOCs by pre- and in-service teachers. Educational Media International, 57(2), 148–166.

Poquet, O., Kovanović, V., de Vries, P., Hennis, T., Joksimović, S., Gašević, D., & Dawson, S. (2018). Social presence in massive open online courses. International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 19(3), 43–68.

Reich, J., & Ruipérez-Valiente, J. A. (2019a). Supplementary material for the MOOC pivot.

Reich, J., & Ruipérez-Valiente, J. A. (2019b). The MOOC pivot: What happened to disruptive transformation. Science, 363(6423), 130–131.

Sallam, M. H., Marin-Monje, E., & Li, Y. (2020). Research trends in language MOOC studies: A systematic review of the published literature (2012–2018). Computer Assisted Language Learning.

Schreiber, J. B., Nora, A., Stage, F. K., Barlow, E. A., & King, J. (2006). Reporting structural equation modeling and confirmatory factor analysis results: A review. The Journal of Educational Research, 99, 323–338.

Steiger, J. H., & Lind, J. M., (1980). Statistically based tests for the number of common factors [Paper presentation]. Meeting of the Psychometric Society, Iowa City, Iowa.

Stenbom, S. (2018). A systematic review of the Community of Inquiry survey. The Internet and Higher Education, 39, 22–32.

Tabachnick, B. G., & Fidell, L. S. (2019). Using multivariate statistics (7th ed.). Pearson.

Teräs, M., Teräs, H., Arinto, P., Brunton, J., Daryono, D., & Subramaniam, T. (2020). COVID-19 and the push to online learning: Reflections from 5 countries. Digital Culture and Education.

Thymniou, A., & Tsitouridou, M. (2021). Community of Inquiry model in online learning: Development approach in MOOCs. Research on E-Learning and ICT in Education: Technological, pedagogical and instructional perspectives, (pp. 93-109). Springer.

Tzovla, E., Kedraka, K., Karalis, T., Kougiourouki, M., & Lavidas, K. (2021). Effectiveness of in-service elementary school teacher professional development MOOC: An experimental research. Contemporary Education Technology, 13(4), 1–14.

Uchidiuno, J. O., Ogan, A., Yarzebinski, E., & Hammer, J. (2018). Going global: Understanding English language learners’ student motivation in English-language MOOCs. International Journal of Artificial Intelligence in Education, 28(4), 528–552.

Wilson, L., & Gruzd, A. (2014). MOOCs: International information and education phenomenon? Bulletin of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 40(5), 35–40.

Xiao, J. (2018). On the margins or at the center? Distance education in higher education. Distance Education, 39(2), 259–274.

Xing, W. (2019) Exploring the influences of MOOC design features on student performance and persistence, Distance Education, 40(1), 98–113.

Yousef, A. M. F., Chatti, M. A., Schroeder, U., & Wosnitza, M. (2015). A usability evaluation of a blended MOOC environment: An experimental case study. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 16(2).

Yu, T., & Richardson, J. C. (2015). Examining reliability and validity of a Korean version of the Community of Inquiry instrument using exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis. Internet and Higher Education, 25, 45–52.

Zein, S. (2019). Preparing Asian English teachers in the global world. In S. Zein & R. Stroupe (Eds.), English language teacher preparation in Asia: Policy, research and practice (pp. 1–15). Routledge.

Zhang, R. (2020). Exploring blended learning experiences through the Community of Inquiry framework. Language Learning & Technology, 24(1), 38–53.

How to Cite
Borup, J., Shin, J. K., Powell, M. G., Evmenova, A. S., & Kim, W. (2022). Revising and Validating the Community of Inquiry Instrument for MOOCs and other Global Online Courses  . The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 23(3), 82-103.
Research Articles