Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Major Professor

Wei Zhu, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Dana Ferris, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Sanghoon Park, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Janet Richards, Ph.D.


Distance Education, Community of Inquiry, Online Self-Regulated Learning, Writing Across the Curriculum, Community College, Multilingual Writers


In this phenomenological case study, I elicited the perspectives of first-year community college second language (L2) students enrolled in an online general education course, Studies in Applied Ethics. Four L2 participants narrated their lived experiences and impressions of distance learning via Skype interviews at early, mid, and end-of-semester junctures. The Distance Education instructional model Community of Inquiry (COI) served as the theoretical framework for the inquiry. The multilingual participants suggested the COI components Teaching Presence (design and facilitation of the course) and Learning Presence (self-regulated learning behaviors) led to Cognitive Presence (the understanding of and ability to demonstrate content knowledge). Social Presence, the concept of collaborating with classmates in a virtual community, seemed less desired or effectual for the L2 participants in this general education online course. Discoveries in this phenomenological case study add qualitative data and diverse perspectives to the extant research on Community Colleges, Online Teaching and Learning, Writing Across the Curriculum, and English for Academic Purposes