Learners experiencing an online educational community for the first time can explain the adjustment required for participation. Findings from a study of adjustment to online learning environments validate differences found in 3 presences in an online community of inquiry. Using pre- and post-questionnaires, students enrolled in entry-level courses in 2 graduate degree programs at Athabasca University, Canada, describe their adjustment to online learning. Responses were analyzed in relation to the elements of cognitive, social, and teaching presence, defined by Garrison, Anderson, and Archer (2000) as core dimensions of learner role requirements in an online community of inquiry. Five areas of adjustment characterize the move toward competence in online learning: interaction, self-identity, instructor role, course design, and technology. Student comments provide understanding of the experience of first-time online learners, including the challenges, interventions, and resolutions that present themselves as unique incidents. Recommendations for the support and facilitation of adjustment are made.
IGI Global, 2008.