“Once community is established, the more likely deep and meaningful learning will occur” (Vaughan et al., 2013). The Community of Inquiry (CoI) model rests on this understanding, that learning is deeper when it occurs socially.  The idea that learning is a social process wasn’t born with the Community of Inquiry Model (see my previous Youtube video on the topic ), however consideration of the CoI model has led to the emergence of pragmatic teaching strategies that can be employed to establish this desired community. The CoI model describes three presences; teaching, social and cognitive, and describes how when they are successfully merged, they can optimize the educational experience and increase the potential for meaningful learning to occur.

The infographic shown here depicts a relationship between these three presences and draws on Vaughan et al.’s “Teaching in blended learning environments” (2013) to suggest specific strategies that could be employed to establish these presences.

The elements of teaching presence, (design, facilitate, and direct) manifest themselves as the other presences are established. That is, the act of trying to establish the dimensions of a CoI, is in of itself evidence of teaching presence, as shown in the infographic.

The target audience for this infographic would be higher education online instructors who do not have the benefit of a face-to-face classroom with which to establish community and have until now relied on bounded LMS discussions for discourse. The hope is that with a few broad, guiding strategies, online instructors who are otherwise unaware of the value of a CoI could realize the benefits of establishing one, with relatively limited knowledge in the field. Perhaps their LMS discussion boards would become more useful, or perhaps they would integrate some unbounded conversations (that is, one’s that would live outside of the LMS) into their online classes. Perhaps as a result, learners might feel more apt to genuinely and authentically engage, thus bolstering the sense of community and subsequently creating deeper learning opportunities.



Vaughan, N. D., Cleveland-Innes, M., & Garrison, D. R. (2013). Teaching in blended learning environments: Creating and sustaining communities of inquiry. Athabasca University Press.