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Study Related Terms and Definitions


Course Management System. See Learning Management System.

Cognitive Presence

The manifestation of scaffolded learning – when students are moved from the lower learning levels of knowledge and comprehension toward the higher learning levels of application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.


A group of students that progress together through a program. Some online programs have cohorts of students start courses at the same time, and complete a group of core courses together. Cohorts enable online students to get to know each other better and form supportive networked learning communities.

Community of Inquiry

The Community of Inquiry (COI) is research-based framework for teaching and learning based on social constructivist education theory and research. The CoI identifies and measures three principle elements critical to a successful online learning environment – social presence, cognitive presence, and teaching presences.

Constructivist Learning

A research-based learning theory that supports the concept that learners construct their own knowledge and understanding based on experiences and understanding that they already have. While learning in a constructivist environment, students are expected to actively reconcile new knowledge with existing knowledge, and then advance to create novel ideas.