The Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework has the potential to contribute to online education by addressing the nexus of pedagogy, technology, and learners’ needs. However, there has been limited investigation of the application of CoI to Australian online tertiary education, with the awareness of CoI amongst Australian nurse educators being unknown. This paper reports on a project which used an online survey to investigate the level of awareness of the CoI framework and its applicability to the design of online and blended courses in Australian higher education nursing schools. Most respondents ranked the core concepts of the CoI framework as applicable for nursing education, but only 20% of the participants were familiar with the CoI framework before they participated in the survey. While nearly 90% of the participants viewed instructional design and a theoretical framework as essential for building an online course, 70% of respondents indicated that they did not use an explicit theoretical framework to guide the design or the evaluation of their nursing teaching and learning. These results provide the impetus for further investigation of factors influencing the development of online nurse education including the specific consideration of CoI frameworks.
- Community of inquiry applicability
- Community of inquiry awareness
- Online nursing education
- Theoretical framework