Online and blended communities of inquiry: Exploring the developmental and perceptional differences


  • Zehra Akyol Suleyman Demirel Universitesi
  • D. Randy Garrison University of Calgary
  • M. Yasar Ozden Middle East Technical University



Community of inquiry, online learning, blended learning, social presence, teaching presence, cognitive presence


This paper discusses findings of a mixed method approach to a study of the development of a community of inquiry in an online and a blended learning environment. A graduate course delivered online and in a blended format was the context of the study. Data were gathered from the Community of Inquiry Survey, transcript analysis of online discussions, and interviews with students and the course instructor. Using multiple qualitative and quantitative data sources, the goal was to explore the developmental differences of the three presences (social, teaching, and cognitive) in the community of inquiry framework and students’ perceptions of a community of inquiry. The results indicated that in both the online and blended course a community of inquiry developed and students could sense each presence. However, the findings revealed developmental differences in social and cognitive presence between the two course formats with higher perceptions in the blended course.

Author Biographies

Zehra Akyol, Suleyman Demirel Universitesi

Zehra Akyol is a faculty member at Suleyman Demirel University (Turkey). She got her PhD degree in the field of Instructional Technology. She conducted her doctoral research at University of Calgary. Her research interest includes the various factors affecting the development of communities of inquiry and the role of cognition, emotions, and metacognition on online learning.

D. Randy Garrison, University of Calgary

Dr. Garrison is the Director of the Teaching & Learning Centre and a professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Calgary. Dr. Garrison has published extensively on teaching and learning in adult, higher and distance education contexts. He has authored or co-authored seven books and over 100 refereed articles/papers. Recently he has co-authored Blended Learning in Higher Education (2008). This book won the UCEA Frandson Book Award. Dr. Garrison has a co-edited book in press titled: An Introduction to Distance Education: Understanding Teaching and Learning in a New Era. He has also won several awards including the 2009 Sloan-C Award for Most Outstanding Achievement in Online Learning by an Individual.



How to Cite

Akyol, Z., Garrison, D. R., & Ozden, M. Y. (2009). Online and blended communities of inquiry: Exploring the developmental and perceptional differences. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 10(6), 65–83.



Research Articles