Externally-facilitated regulation scaffolding and role assignment to develop cognitive presence in asynchronous online discussions

Dragan Gašević, Olusola Adesope, Srećko Joksimović, Vitomir Kovanović

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

84 Citations (Scopus)


This paper describes a study that looked at the effects of different teaching presence approaches in communities of inquiry, and ways in which student-student online discussions with high levels of cognitive presence can be designed. Specifically, this paper proposes that high-levels of cognitive presence can be facilitated in online courses, based on the community of inquiry model, by building upon existing research in i) self-regulated learning through externally-facilitated regulation scaffolding and ii) computer-supported collaborative learning through role assignment. We conducted a quasi-experimental study in a fully-online course (N = 82) using six offerings of the course. After performing a quantitative content analysis of online discussion transcripts, a multilevel linear modeling analysis showed the significant positive effects of both externally-facilitated regulation scaffolding and role assignment on the level of cognitive presence. Specifically, the results showed that externally-facilitated regulation scaffolding had a higher effect on cognitive presence than extrinsically induced motivation through grades. The results showed the effectiveness of role assignment to facilitate a high-level of cognitive presence. More importantly, the results showed a significant effect of the interaction between externally-facilitated regulation scaffolding and role assignment on cognitive presence. The paper concludes with a discussion of practical and theoretical implications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-65
Number of pages13
JournalInternet and Higher Education
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Cognitive presence
  • Community of inquiry model
  • Computer supported collaborative learning
  • Instructional scaffolding
  • Role scripting and assignment
  • Self-regulated learning

Cite this