Asynchronous Discussions to Enhance Online Communities of Inquiry in the Saudi Higher ‎Education Context

Abeer Alharbi


This paper aimed to examine the efficiency of web-based asynchronous discussions in establishing and sustaining online collaborative learning communities in the Saudi higher educational context, by adopting the Community of Inquiry (Garrison et al., 1999) framework as a guiding model. The implementation involved setting up online asynchronous discussions in the Blackboard Learning Management System for a fourth-year undergraduate Education course over 20 days. By using a mixed methodology approach, the results revealed that within the Saudi university context, social presence patterns changed over time, with an overall increase in their levels. This increase attributed to three main factors: the instructors’ effective participation; peers’ active contribution; and the student’s desire to receive higher marks. However, the levels of students’ cognitive presence did not show  adequate growth, which is assigned mainly to an inadequate teaching presence. The study also explored the relationships between the three factors and concluded that in order for students to achieve their goals via online learning communities, time is an important consideration.

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International Journal of Higher Education
ISSN 1927-6044 (Print) ISSN 1927-6052 (Online) Email:

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