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      Guidelines for Supporting a Community of Inquiry Through Graded Online Discussion Forums

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            Abstract

            Online courses have risen in popularity over the last few years, mainly because of the convenience of studying from anywhere and at a time that is suitable for students. The Covid-19 pandemic has made online courses a convenient way to learn in a safe environment. Online environments that can instil a strong sense of community therefore need to be created to support students adequately. One way to create such an online learning community is to engage students in online asynchronous discussions. The purpose of this paper, therefore, will be first to determine successful strategies and the value of online discussions from the previous research literature. Second, we will report on our research findings and provide guidelines for designing online graded discussions that support a community of inquiry. We will employ the Community of Inquiry framework to conceptualise the community in online discussions. In the research, we will use a qualitative approach to collect data within an interpretative paradigm. The context of this study is a structured online master’s programme offered at an open distance e-learning institution. It is envisaged that the insights from this research would guide facilitators in selecting suitable strategies when designing online graded discussions. Graded online discussions have the potential to encourage student engagement and to create an online learning community if they are designed to encourage social, cognitive and teaching presences.

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            Author and article information

            Journal
            UnisaRxiv
            UNISA Press
            23 June 2022
            Affiliations
            [1 ] 46 9 St NE
            Author notes
            Article
            10.25159/UnisaRxiv/000027.v1
            c65d7f4e-afa6-455d-aebf-c28c8fefa8b5

            This work has been published open access under Creative Commons Attribution License CC BY 4.0 , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Conditions, terms of use and publishing policy can be found at www.scienceopen.com .


            The datasets generated during and/or analysed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.
            Education
            community of inquiry,online graded discussions,pedagogical tool,design guidelines,qualitative research

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