Online instructional effort measured through the lens of teaching presence in the community of inquiry framework: A re-examination of measures and approach


  • Peter Shea University at Albany, State University of New York
  • Suzanne Hayes Empire State College, SUNY
  • Jason Vickers University at Albany, SUNY



teaching presence, community of inquiry, higher education


With more than 4 million students enrolled in online courses in the US alone (Allen & Seaman, 2010), it is now time to inquire into the nature of instructional effort in online environments. Reflecting the community of inquiry (CoI) framework (Garrison, Anderson, & Archer, 2000) this paper addresses the following questions: How has instructor teaching presence (Anderson, Rourke, Garrison, & Archer, 2001) traditionally been viewed by researchers? What does productive instructor effort look like in an entire course, not just the main threaded discussion? Results suggest that conventional research approaches, based on quantitative content analysis, fail to account for the majority of teaching presence behaviors and thus may significantly under represent productive online instructional effort.

Author Biographies

Peter Shea, University at Albany, State University of New York

Peter Shea is an associate professor at the University at Albany, State University of New York, with a joint appointment in the School of Education and the College of Computing and Information. His research interests focus on teaching and learning in technology mediated environments in higher education. He is author or co-author of more than 30 journal articles, chapters, and monographs many of which investigate the Community of Inquiry Framework, including the recent development of the concept of "learning presence" in online education.

Suzanne Hayes, Empire State College, SUNY

Suzanne Hayes is the Director of Academic Technologies in the Office of Integrated Technologies at Empire State College, in Saratoga Springs NY. She is also a doctoral student in the Department of Educational Theory and Practice at the School of Education at University at Albany. Her research interests are focused on the intersection of how online learning environments and technology-based learning activities can support individual and group knowledge construction, metacognition and self-regulation in adult college students.

Jason Vickers, University at Albany, SUNY

Jason Vickers is in his fourth year as a PhD students in Curriculum and Instruction at University at Albany. He has an extensive history as a public school teacher, taught English as a Foreign Language in China for three years, and has been an instructor at the University at Albany for three years. He has co-authored one published article on the Community of Inquiry model and has several co-authored papers submitted for publication. Courses he has taught include introduction to distance education, integrating technology across the curriculum, and using media in the language classroom. His research interests include online learning, integrating technology into the curriculum, English as a Second Language writing, and writing center interactions between native speaking tutors and non-native speaking writers.



How to Cite

Shea, P., Hayes, S., & Vickers, J. (2010). Online instructional effort measured through the lens of teaching presence in the community of inquiry framework: A re-examination of measures and approach. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 11(3), 127–154.



Research Articles