The Community of Inquiry and Types of Presence

This module introduces the community of inquiry model and provides strategies for establishing and maintaining cognitive, social, and teaching presence to ensure students are engaged throughout a course. It will cover the topics listed below.

After you’ve completed this module, you will be able to:

  • Apply the theories of Community of Inquiry and Cognitive, Social, and Teaching Presences to your course
  • Review strategies, activities, and tools for creating the three types of presences and boosting student engagement
  • Use an assessment checklist to monitor your course facilitation


Community of Inquiry

According to Garrison, Anderson, and Archer (2000), “An educational community of inquiry is a group of individuals who collaboratively engage in powerful critical discourse and reflection to construct personal meaning and confirm mutual understanding.”[1]


Types of Presence

In online learning, the community of inquiry is constructed through three interdependent presences. Click the numbers below to reveal the definition of each type of presence.


Click each title in the accordion to reveal information.



Community of Inquiry

The three types of presence overlap and interact to create a community of inquiry. Click on the plus signs in the image to learn more.



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


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Promoting Instructional Excellence Copyright © by Cathleen O'Neal; Constance Harris; and Olivia Pollard is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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