Moderating Relationships: Non-Designer Instructor’s Teaching Presence and Distance Learners’ Cognitive Presence

Laura Silva, Mary Shuttlesworth, Phil Ice


Distance learning enrollments in higher education continue to grow, and academic leaders increasingly use non-designer instructors (NDIs) to meet demand. NDIs have little control over some aspects of teaching presence, including course design through instructional media resources included in a predesigned master course. This study used the Community of Inquiry (COI) survey to investigate (a) do distance learners’ perceptions of their NDIs’ teaching presence predict their cognitive presence; and (b) does distance learners’ use of instructional media resources moderate the relationship between their perceptions of NDIs’ teaching presence and learners’ cognitive presence. Multiple regression results indicated that perceptions of NDIs’ teaching presence predicted learners’ perceptions of cognitive presence, but learners’ use of instructional media failed to moderate that predictive relationship. Limitations and directions for future research are discussed.


Community of Inquiry; teaching presence; cognitive presence; non-designer instructors; distance learners; instructional media; course design; distance education

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