Reflection on COI and critical inqueiry of Discord


The past 2 months have witnessed my learning experience to make critical inquiry of discord, a digital learning platform, as well as a learning events of how to use this technology in establishing social connection in the first year of engineering course.

During the process, our team explore all elements of community of inquiry to analyze the pros and cons of Discord. By investigating the technology from 3 dimensions, namely teaching presence, social presence and cognitive presence, I have build a profound understand of the use of the new technology in digital learning environment withr reference to the 3 principles. First is the instructors’ role in digital education environment, who should be responsible for the overall design of the course and learning environment and act as the facilitator of engaging discourse. Apart from that, from the social presence perspective, I learn how individuals merger their authentic selves into a group via a specific communication medium. Finally, I understand the value of cognitive presence in the construction of meaning by sustained discourse and reflection. It is from all the 3 aspects of inquiry that I reach a holistic overview of the technology of Discord: the positives include the common identity and improved discourse among learners, while informal and other inappropriate communication inevitably result in problems such as marginalization, and Subjugation to core values.

It is with this project of critical inquiry of Discord that I reflect on the use of COI and the holistic analysis of the digital tools used in education.


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Eric Yu is a dynamic English Second Language Instructor in the areas of distant learning. He holds a Bachelor degree from the Shanghai International Studies University and is currently studying in the MS degree from Royal Roads University in Victoria, BC, Canada. Since moving to Canada in 2011, he acclimated himself to the local anculture, and quickly built a cross nation online learning practice, getting involved in IELTS teaching and other online training projects between China and Canada. Eric Yu currently lives in Shanghai, China and work as the team leader of online after-school education in Global Eduation of Puxin Limited. He loves music and is fascinated to search for rare CDs and LPs of rock and jazz musicians in 1960s. Eric Yu has performed well in a diverse range of team environments, from every corner of the world. He lives in Shanghai, China but travels around the world frequently both for work and leisure.

3 thoughts on “Reflection on COI and critical inqueiry of Discord”

  1. This is great, Eric. I use a somewhat similar tool, MS Teams, at my institution and am adjusting a course that aims uses a COI style structure. You stated that you’ve been doing a critical inquiry into establishing social connections in a similar environment and am wondering what recommendations you have for someone looking to do the same.

  2. Eric,

    Thank you for the post. It was an interesting read. There is something to say about creating a persona to define oneself in specific online environments. I wonder how these social constructs could affect the teaching, social, and cognitive paradigms introduced in CoI. The idea of Discord inevitably resulting in subjugation and marginalization through informal communication, I feel, is more a reflection of society if true. You do not need an informal setting to sublimate people; it can also happen holistically through regular socialization or, more commonly, in my opinion, through social hierarchies. In fact, I would argue that by setting strong values and expectations using any tool, you would most likely have fewer negative social impacts.

  3. Hi Eric,
    I didn’t actually use discord until I was introduced to it with my MALAT journey, I did not realize how the platform could be integrated into learning. Our school uses MS Teams as our communication tooth with faculty and D2L and Zoom with our learners.
    I also wonder about the designing aspect and who would ultimately be responsible to create the learning environment and how easy is it to make changes.

    Since the pandemic it has been clear that the lack of socialization in a face to face environment has impacted the engagement of the learners.

    I did struggle with this over the past year, I tried to incorporate new learning platforms into my courses to try to elevate the dreaded “Zoom fatigue” however, I found they were not anymore engaged then previously. I will admit, my content is sometimes very dry, who wants to listen to a lecture on periodontal health for three hours.

    After struggling half of the first semester, I realized that by setting goals for the learners, and expectations they were more interactive during my lectures and online labs.

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