Text Box: Community of Inquiry Model by Matbury, available under a CC BY-SA license at
The above diagram represents the Community of Inquiry model, a popular organizational framework for an online course. A community of inquiry refers to a collaborative environment where the instructor encourages students to work together as a class or in small groups to problem solve. The optimal educational experience occurs when there is significant social presence, cognitive presence and instructor presence. To determine the extent to which your course is meeting the requirements of the COI model, ask yourselves the following questions:
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1. Social presence: Do students feel comfortable using the course technology and interacting with their peers and the instructor?
According to Scollins Mantha, 2008:
2. Instructor presence: To what extent am I visible and approachable to students? How am I creating a safe and welcoming environment while facilitating student cognition and encouraging higher order thinking, such as analysis and reflection?
3. Cognitive presence: To what extent do your course assignments and activities encourage higher order thinking? Is your course designed to encourage collaboration and problem solving? Is your course organized to reduce the cognitive load of students? For example, can students easily navigate through the course and locate information?
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Content. For each of your sections/modules/topics/weeks, do you:
For assessments and activities, do you:
Scollins-Mantha, B. (2008, March). Cultivating social presence in the online learning classroom: A literature review with recommendations for practice. International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning, 5(3). http://itdl.org/Journal/Mar_08/article02.htm
These principles apply to any learning experience regardless of modality (online. face to face, blended).
Chickering, A.W & Gamson, Z. F. (1987). Seven principles for good practice in undergraduate education [PDF file]. Retrieved Retrieved from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED282491.pdf