Using teaching, social and cognitive presences as a lens to reflect on teaching a research module amid COVID-19




COVID-19 pandemic, Online teaching, Teaching practices, Community of Inquiry, Presences


COVID-19 forced academics to transition from face-to-face to remote teaching using various online platforms. This article focuses on my experiences of teaching a research module during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. The social, cognitive and teaching presences from the Community of Inquiry Framework for a successful higher education experience was used as a lens for the study. The data are generated from my reflection on teaching, the WhatsApp chat transcript and student emails. My reflections on teaching a research module suggest that the teaching, social and cognitive presences were experienced to a certain extent. The findings indicate that training and trials in preparation for transition to online teaching are important. In this study trials to familiarise academics and students with online teaching influenced the establishment of teaching presence positively because challenges related to online teaching were identified and addressed before the commencement of the actual online teaching. Therefore, when making instructional decisions, it is crucial first to diagnose and address challenges regarding online platforms. However, being accustomed to traditional face-to-face teaching, dominated by oral communication and telling methods, influenced the social presence negatively. Online collaboration among students was unclear. Notably, my social presence experiences suggest that teaching during and beyond COVID-19 requires a pedagogical approach that relies heavily on the social and collaborative component of learning as a point of departure for the development of online teaching and learning practices. The Community of Inquiry Framework used in this study could be helpful for higher education institutions to evaluate academics and students’ experiences of online teaching and learning, particularly when the institution is planning to redesign and implement online courses.


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How to Cite

Zulu, F.-Q. B. (2022). Using teaching, social and cognitive presences as a lens to reflect on teaching a research module amid COVID-19. Perspectives in Education, 40(1), 179-195.