The community of inquiry instrument: Validation and results in online health care disciplines

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This descriptive study using survey design sought to establish the efficacy of the Community of Inquiry instrument utilized in a study published by Shea and Bidjerano in 2009 exploring an online community of business students in a multi-institutional study. The current study sought to validate the instrument with a population of students in three health care disciplines (nursing, physical therapy and health care administration (HCA)) which includes health information management (HIM) at a large private western university. A secondary aim was to identify similarities and differences in the Community of Inquiry model among selected health care disciplines comparing sample student populations in previously described research. Results indicate that the instrument was validated in the health care disciplines on all subscales. Significant differences were found in social presence and cognitive presence among the three groups of students with no significant differences in teaching presence. There was a significant difference in presence by course experience (number of courses completed) for the second versus the fifth course in the social presence construct. The three factor model was validated with this population of students; however, when additional factor analysis was done, results indicated a potential four factor model consistent with recent research by Diaz, Swan, Ice.; Kupczynski (2010), Bangert (2009) and Shea and Bidjerano (2009a). These studies provided evidence of two factors within teaching presence whereas the current study yielded two factors within the construct of social presence (social comfort and social experience). © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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