teaching presence, community of inquiry, online education, online professional development, confirmatory factor analysis


The Community of Inquiry model provides a framework for recognizing and evaluating interpersonal behaviors in online educational settings. One of its three components, teaching presence (TP), describes those behaviors that are under the auspices of the online instructor. By examining these interactions and behaviors through the theoretical lens provided by teaching presence, and by measuring them with the Teaching Presence Scale (TPS), it may be possible to gain greater understanding of the practices employed most effectively by online instructors. This dissertation describes the background, theoretical and empirical foundations, methods, and results of a study on TP. The purpose of the study was threefold: to validate the use of the TPS in an online professional development setting outside of the higher education context in which it was designed and tested; to confirm the factor composition of TP among facilitators in an online professional development course; and to determine the extent and direction of the relationship between teaching presence and student satisfaction. The participants in this study (n = 718) were in-service educators enrolled at the Florida Online Reading Professional Development program. They responded to an instrument that included the 28 original TPS questions, plus 17 student satisfaction and 11 demographic items. Confirmatory factor analysis and Pearson's correlation were used to answer the three research questions and corresponding hypotheses. The research questions were answered in the affirmative, and the null hypotheses rejected. There was support for the use of the TPS in an online professional development setting (all 28 TPS items loaded as hypothesized on the three TP factors); support for a three-factor model of TP using 17 of the 28 TPS items (X2 [116, N = 718] = 115.56, p = .49, CFI = .999; NNFI = .999; SRMR = .02; and RMSEA = .03); and evidence of a strong relationship between components of TP and student satisfaction (statistically significant correlations [p < .001] between TP and student satisfaction, r2 values ranging from .25 to .57). A discussion of the results, implications for practice, implications for further research, and limitations of the study were presented following the data analysis.


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Graduation Date



Hahs-Vaughn, Debbie


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Education


Educational Research, Technology, and Leadership

Degree Program









Release Date

February 2010

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)

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Education Commons