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AbstractThis paper presents a tool developed for the purpose of assessing teaching presence in online courses that make use of computer conferencing, and preliminary results from the use of this tool. The method of analysis is based on Garrison, Anderson, and Archer’s model of critical thinking and practical inquiry in a computer conferencing context. The concept of teaching presence is constitutively defined as having three categories – design and organization, facilitating discourse, and direct instruction. Indicators that we search for in the computer conference transcripts identify each category. Pilot testing of the instrument reveals interesting differences in the extent and type of teaching presence found in different graduate level online courses.