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The Community of Inquiry

CoI LogoThe Community of Inquiry Model (CoI) serves as a framework for teaching and learning at APUS, informing methodologies and approaches to course design and delivery. Based on social constructivist education theory and research, the CoI identifies and measures three principle elements critical to a successful online learning environment – social, cognitive, and teaching presences. You can read more about each of the presences below and explore applied effective practices on each of the pages within this section.

The CoI is also used at APUS to guide the evaluation of teaching and learning outcomes in the online classroom. Referencing success indicators across social, teaching and cognitive presences, the end of course survey reflects the quality and validity of applied effective practices in course design and delivery. Survey results provide descriptive data to help faculty identify and reflect on individual strengths and weaknesses in course design and instructional approaches. Resulting data also informs faculty development initiatives and serves to identify exemplary course/program offerings and areas for targeted improvement.

For on-going CoI activities for APUS faculty members, visit FACULTY CONNECT.

The CoI Framework: Social Presence, Cognitive Presence, and Teaching Presence

Social Presence

Social presence relates to the establishment of a supportive learning community, providing a venue for communication within a trusted environment where students can express individual identities and establish social relationships. Social presence is modeled at APUS through responsive communications, course announcements, facilitated discussions, directed group projects, and social networking opportunities. Learn more about social presence ...

Teaching Presence

Teaching presence relates to the process of design, facilitation, and direction throughout the learning experience in order to realize desired learning outcomes. APUS faculty exemplify teaching presence by guiding students through course materials, reinforcing key concepts, fostering critical thinking skills, providing formative feedback and support in a timely manner, and evaluating student progress throughout the learning experience. Learn more about teaching presence ...

Cognitive Presence

Cognitive presence relates to the design and development of instructional materials, enabling students to construct and confirm meaning through related refection and discourse. In support of establishing cognitive presence, APUS courses are designed to engage students with content, support reflective dialogue, validate understanding, and scaffold learning -- moving students from the initial learning stages of knowledge and comprehension toward the critical learning stages of application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. Learn more about cognitive presence ...