Publication Date

Spring 2015

Document Type

Project Summary

Degree Name

Doctor of Education



First Advisor

Stephen H. Wagner, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

John W. Cook, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

David M. Gordon, Ph.D.


Distance education, including online learning and e-learning, continues to increase in higher education. Research indicates that online learning supports a constructivism (or student-centered, collaborative) approach to learning, and the sense of community is important to students in the online setting. The Community of Inquiry (Col) framework further defines a sense of community as satisfaction in the teaching presence, social presence, and cognitive presence of learning. Using the constructivist approach and the Col framework, online instructors have the ability to use different techniques and tools with asynchronous discussion prompts to foster a sense of community in the online learning setting. Discussion prompts are typically text-based in an online classroom. A quantitative study was designed to gather data to compare asynchronous text-based discussion prompts with video-based discussion prompts in online undergraduate higher education courses. The results indicated the video discussion prompt, alone, does not impact the sense of community within an online course. In this study, in courses with "non-traditional" students, the text-based discussion prompts were preferred over video-based prompts.