My infographic represents how the three presences; social, cognitive and teaching in the Community of Inquiry (COI) are found in a course I teach called Principles of Project Management. I highlight some of the activities in the course and how they align with presences of the COI model. This course is taught fully online. Students initiate, plan, execute and close out projects in an authentic learning experience.
Anderson (2017) cites Garrison, Anderson & Archer’s work (2010) as stating that the context of education and its artificiality create an absence of interactions demonstrating higher levels of cognitive presence through problem solving. The nature of this course design is students are simulating a project as found in industry. Students are provided templates for project documentation and examples of these from past student work. Each of these documents are problems to resolve in their small groups, requiring decisions and demanding what Vaughan, Cleveland-Innes and Garrison say are “practical applications of knowledge” (Table 3.2, Row 7). The deliverables provide the triggering event each week to facilitate a discussion where students are exploring, integrating and coming to resolution about decisions in their projects (Perry, 1981). Through facilitating these discussions I am working in the role of process leader and learning support as Vaughan, Cleveland-Innes and Garrison advise for online COI to facilitate cognitive presence (2013).
Aligning with the guidelines presented by Vaughan, Cleveland-Innes and Garrison (2013) for social presence I facilitate co-creating guidelines for online work. These are posted in the course space. Online office hours are posted to the class beyond the course schedule. Aligning with Vaughan, Cleveland-Innes and Garrison’s principle of establishing community and cohesion (2013), early in the course, groups are provided a low stakes challenge in a digital escape room which sets the conditions for continual building of their group into a cohesive one that can perform. When the activity is complete I facilitate a reflective conversation on how the groups did, posing questions to them about the behaviours that promoted or declined success of the group.
Synchronous sessions are recorded to ensure students can receive the information even if their schedule does not allow them to attend the sessions. Along with the semester long group work the course has individual assignments. Having both the group and individual activities is according to Anderson (2017), “one of the key components of teaching presence” (para.4). Through these sessions I model and guide participants through problems solving, provide constructive feedback and facilitate conversations.
Anderson, T. (2017). How Communities of Inquiry Drive Teaching and Learning in the Digital Age. Contact North.
Garrison, D. R., Anderson, T., & Archer, W. (2010). The first decade of the community of inquiry framework: A retrospective. The Internet and Higher Education, 13(1), 5-9.
Perry, W. G., Jr. (1981). Cognitive and ethical growth: The making of meaning. In A. W. Chickering, The modern American college (pp. 76–116). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Vaughan, N. D., Cleveland-Innes, M., & Garrison, D. R. (2013). Teaching in blended learning environments: Creating and sustaining communities of inquiry. Athabasca University Press. Chapter 3: Facilitation (pp. 45-61).