Evaluating Online Programs: Adapting the Community of Inquiry Survey

Swapna Kumar
University of Florida, United States of America

Helga Dorner
Central European University, Hungary


This paper describes the adaptation of the Community of Inquiry (CoI) survey to evaluate the quality of a cohort-based online graduate program in the United States. The academic activities in this program included both course work and research activities; and based on the CoI framework (Garrison, Anderson, & Archer 2000). The original CoI framework and its assessment were proposed for online courses; however, in this particular case an alternative assessment method was necessary. Hence, the CoI survey (Arbaugh et al., 2008) for online courses was adapted and used with the two cohorts of online students (n = 32) to measure the success of the community of inquiry design at the program level. The constructs cognitive, teaching, and social presence were thus extended for online programs, which resulted in an instrument to survey student perceptions of a CoI that encompasses asynchronous and synchronous interactions, as well as course-specific and non-course-specific interactions in different learning spaces.

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