An Exploration of Differences Among Community of Inquiry Indicators in Low and High Disenrollment Online Courses

Philip Ice, Angela M. Gibson, Wally Boston, Dave Becher


Though online enrollments continue to accelerate at a rapid pace, there is significant concern over student retention. With drop rates significantly higher than in face-to-face classes it is imperative that online providers develop an understanding of factors that lead students to disenroll. This study examines course-level disenrollment through the lens of student satisfaction with the projection of Teaching, Social and Cognitive Presence. In comparing the highest and lowest disenrollment quartiles of all courses at American Public University the value of effective Instructional Design and Organization, and initiation of the Triggering Event phase of Cognitive Presence were found to be significant predictors of student satisfaction in the lowest disenrollment quartile. For the highest disenrollment quartile, the lack of follow-through vis-à-vis Facilitation of Discourse and Cognitive Integration were found to be negative predictors of student satisfaction.


Disenrollment, Retention, Online Learning, Community of Inquiry


Copyright (c)