Assessing Teaching Presence on Computer Conferences - Content Analysis 

Content Analysis



Teaching Presence

Content Analysis

Theoretical Framework


Unit of Analysis

System Dynamics Model





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The functions of a teacher were more observable in the physical classroom than in the virtual conference where teachers and students do not meet each other face-to-face. In text-based discussion, the situation is even more critical. All emotional, social, and instructional interactions have to be communicated via text. To understand the effect of teacher behaviors in computer conferencing environment, the researchers need to conduct at least three steps before they could analyze the data. First, researchers derived behavioral indices from the categories defined by theoretical framework. Second, they collected representative text of communication. Third, they assigned numeric values to indicator texts according to measurement rules in order to describe communication or infer its meaning from the communication to its context. Some researchers called the systematic research techniques content analysis (Garrison et al., 2000; Hara, Bonk, & Angeli, 1998; McLoughlin & Panko, 2002; Newman, Webb, & Cochrane, n.d.) while others called it discourse analysis (Saba et al. 1994) or transcript analysis (Gunawardena, Lowe, & Anderson, 1998). Since content analysis, discourse analysis, and transcript analysis appeared to have referred to similar research methods in different researches on teaching presence, this literature review uses content analysis as a general terms for discussion.


The text-based nature of computer mediated instructional discussion made content analysis an effective method for assessing teaching presence because computer system recorded data faithfully.  All researchers need to do is compare, contrast and categorize elements of written dialogue.  


Many researches have been done. The researches have created a range of models for analyzing computer conferencing transcripts including Henri (1992), Gunwardena, Lowe and < xml="true" ns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" prefix="st1" namespace="">Anderson (1998), the Biggs’ SOLO taxonomy (1999), and Garrison (2000). Some researches often refer to Flanders interaction analysis (1967), the system for classroom observation, too.