Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Education




Dr. John Barnett

Second Advisor

Dr. George Gadanidis


This thesis is based on results from online surveys that were designed to better understand instructor and student perceptions of teaching, social, and cognitive presences within online courses. The research was prompted by my undergraduate and graduate online course experiences. The theoretical model developed by Garrison & Anderson (2003) was used to frame the research. Participant responses identified many issues of importance, including a description of the many roles of the social presence and the necessity to clearly establish a teaching presence as a course facilitator. Respondents further perceived that firmly establishing teaching, social, and cognitive presences resulted in much more enjoyable courses. In addition, the majority of respondents noted that while each presence was necessary, it was not essential for each presence to be equally represented; instead, respondents indicated that it was the actual interaction among the three presences that led to their perceptions of successful courses.



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