Electronic Theses and Dissertations


Lauren Lum Ho



Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Instruction & Curriculum Leadership

Committee Chair

Amanda Rockinson-Szapkiw

Committee Member

Andrew Tawfik

Committee Member

Craig Shepherd

Committee Member

Kiriko Takahashi


The community of inquiry (COI) framework is a theoretical and practical model for creating deep, meaningful online learning experiences through three essential and interconnected elements: teaching presence, social presence, and cognitive presence. Asynchronous online discussions (AODs) are the typical communication medium in a COI; therein, a sense of community (i.e., social presence) is designed and facilitated (i.e., teaching presence) to develop and foster critical inquiry (i.e., cognitive presence). The construct of cognitive presence is based on the practical inquiry model, which includes four phases—a triggering event, exploration, integration, and resolution—to foster critical thinking skills through knowledge generation and confirmation. However, a persistent finding in COI research is that learners experience difficulty in moving beyond the exploration phase. Across a variety of AOD types, learners demonstrate low engagement levels in integration and little or no resolution, which are the phases associated with higher-order critical thinking processes and skills. This problem of practice may be symptomatic of the focus of the COI framework on developing learners’ critical thinking skills and the inattention to critical thinking dispositions, such as open-mindedness and truth seeking. Thus, this quantitative, experimental posttest-only control group study investigates the impact of the constructive controversy (CC)-AOD learning strategy on learners’ perceptions of the COI, their actively open-minded thinking about evidence (AOT-E), and AOD rubric scores. Those in the treatment group participated in the CC-AOD learning strategy, a collaborative argumentation process in which learners worked in pairs and utilized perspective-switching to reach a consensus position on a controversial issue; learners in the control group worked independently. The treatment group had higher mean scores in every self-reported dependent variable, but the between-groups differences were nonsignificant. Learners in the treatment group, furthermore, exhibited significantly higher cognitive presence and social presence rubric scores in weekly AODs during the intervention period compared to the control group. Practical and theoretical implications are discussed, with a focus on the unique cultural context of the study and the potential conceptual mismatch between the COI and AOT-E.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to ProQuest.


Open Access