Applying the community of inquiry framework to an online professional practice doctoral program


  • Swapna Kumar University of Florida
  • Kara Dawson
  • Erik W Black
  • Catherine Cavanaugh
  • Christopher D Sessums



Distance Education, professional practice doctorate, higher education


The community of inquiry (CoI) framework has commonly been used to study teaching and learning in online courses (Garrison, Anderson, & Archer 2000). This paper describes the implementation of the CoI framework in a cohort-based online EdD program, where teaching presence and cognitive presence were easier to foster than social presence. Based on the results of an initial evaluation, suggestions are made to expand the components of the CoI framework when using it at a program level. Lessons learned from the implementation are also shared to assist others wishing to apply the CoI framework to online graduate programs.

Author Biographies

Swapna Kumar, University of Florida

Swapna Kumar coordinates the Ed.D. in educational technology at the University of Florida. Her teaching and research focus on online pedagogy and program development, blended learning, online communities, and the use of social media in higher education.

Kara Dawson

Kara Dawson is an associate professor in educational technology at the University of Florida. She studies the ways in which educational technologies impact teaching and learning in K-12 and post secondary environments.

Erik W Black

Erik W. Black is an assistant professor of pediatrics and educational technology at the University Florida. His research and applied practice focuses on faculty development, teaching and learning with technology and interprofessional health science education.

Catherine Cavanaugh

Cathy Cavanaugh teaches in the areas of instructional design and distance education. Her research includes studies of physical and virtual learning environments, including effectiveness in virtual schools, and design of online professional development and professional education courses and programs.

Christopher D Sessums

Christopher D. Sessums is a post-doctoral associate in educational technology in the School of Teaching and Learning in the College of Education at the University of Florida. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in social media integration.



How to Cite

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.



Research Articles