Figure 1: Elements of an educational experience. Based on the “Critical inquiry in a text-based environment: Computer conferencing in higher education by Garrison, Anderson & Archer, 2000.

Our fast-track web developer program trains students to enter the workforce, and the education is pragmatic, practical and applicable. My concerns over “fast education” is that it can be merely dumping information on learners; thus, the cognitive presence might stay on a low level, causing a lack of preparedness to tackle real web development problems as learners have not started developing a pattern for them.

The Community of Inquiry (CoI) model, with its teaching, social, and cognitive presence components, is a framework to understand how learning and community can exist within online and blended learning environments (Garrison, Anderson, & Archer, 2000) (Figure 1). CoI does not provide step-by-step guidance on designing and facilitating learning and engagement. The infographic in Figure 2 provides a few considerations that instructors could utilize to be effective online facilitators, create educational experience and reach the learning goals even in a fast-track educational environment.

Teaching presence is the action and role of teaching and is shared by the instructor and the students, leaving the primary responsibility to the instructor (Garrison et al., 2000). The three elements are design and organization, facilitation, and direct instruction. The design and facilitation of the learning activities are vital for teaching presence and critical for the other two presences (Anderson, 2018). They contribute to a sense of community and ensure an established social presence among members through the communication of time parameters, clear course goals, course topics, and instructions for participation in the course. In turn, cognitive processes are directed to meaningful and planned outcomes (Vaughan, Cleveland-Innes, & Garrison, 2013).

Figure 3: Practical inquiry. Based on “Critical inquiry in a text-based environment: Computer conferencing in higher education by Garrison, Anderson & Archer, 2000.

Social presence is to project one’s personal identity into the community to be perceived as ‘real’ persons while having purposeful communication, and building relationships (Garrison et al., 2000) with open communication, group cohesion, and affective expression (Vaughan et al., 2013). It can be assigned to both the learners and the instructor; an emotional projection makes the instructor more human and personable.

Cognitive presence is evident when students move from social to academic interactions and purposefully and collaboratively construct meaning and knowledge (Garrison et al., 2000), resulting in deep meaning, retained knowledge, and critical thinking. The model in Figure 3 was designed to represent the stages of practical inquiry illustrating the sequence of critical thinking while displaying the levels of cognitive presence; the phases are not linear; one may return to a previous one or iterate between them (Sadaf & Olesova, 2017).



Figure 2: CoI infographic

Download the infographic: CoI-infographic-BeataKozma.


The illustrations are created by the author. The images in the infographic are from – see concept sources and references in the infographic file. 


Anderson, T. (2018). How communities of inquiry drive teaching and learning in the digital age. Retrieved September 8, 2019, from website:

Garrison, D. R., Anderson, T., & Archer, W. (2000). Critical inquiry in a text-based environment: Computer conferencing in higher education. The Internet and Higher Education, 2(2–3), 87–105.

Sadaf, A., & Olesova, L. (2017). Enhancing cognitive presence in online case discussions with questions based on the practical inquiry model. American Journal of Distance Education, 31(1), 56–69.

Vaughan, N. D., Cleveland-Innes, M., & Garrison, D. R. (2013). Facilitation. In Teaching in blended learning environments: Creating and sustaining communities of inquiry. (pp. 45–61). Retrieved from