What are the crucial tasks or activities for each dimension?
The selection, design and facilitation of learning activities are crucial in addressing the three presences. Activities that can be done to improve on the different dimensions are as follows:
a. Social Presence – the main task is to seek the most effective practices that will set the climate and support the community in building shared understanding. According to a study by Rovai (2007) activities that can help in promoting social presence are:
· Addressing the person by name
· Allowing for sharing of personal and professional experiences
· Encouraging participation
Other strategies to employ are:
· Facilitating and modeling discussions, comments, sharing of one’s opinions
· Personal anecdotes
· Encouraging personal reflections
· Being personal with learners
Modeling social cues like those mentioned above will most likely encourage learners to do the same, thus enhancing the learning community experience.
b. Cognitive presence - to encourage high levels of cognitive presence, one needs to include purposeful design of the discussion prompts. Discussion prompts are very important strategies to use in promoting cognitive presence. It provides the structure and directs the activity of the learners. There are three different types of discussion prompts:
Problem-based prompts typically focus on a problem that is related to the content area and
ask learners to discuss and work together to formulate solutions.
Project-based learning - similar to problem-based learning, project-based learning has
learners develop solutions to problems. However, students create concrete products or
artifacts that engage them in solving the problem. These are often scenario based and
directly related to ‘real-world’ situations.
Debate prompts - they help learners challenge what they know, form arguments, advance
arguments, and work through conflicts in concepts and assumptions. Engaging in a debate
requires learners to examine, compare, and contrast other solutions, exposing the
advantages and disadvantages of the positions. Through debate prompts, learners also get
experience with persuasion and the art of respectful disagreements.
Skillful implementation of facilitation strategies – the presence of the facilitator is not the only important aspect in cognitive presence. The quality and effectiveness of the facilitation strategies also need emphasis. Questioning and assuming a challenging stance were both identified as effective facilitation strategies
Questioning- is considered the best facilitation strategy. It guides learners in the cognitive
process and helps prompt learners to dive deeper into the materials presented.
Challenging stance involves prompting learners to consider different viewpoints by
presenting various perspectives. It also helps learners to defend their position by providing
evidence and credence to their position.
c. Teaching Presence is the backbone of the online learning community. Some of the activities that highlight teaching presence are:
· Promptness in giving feedback
· Providing multifaceted feedback – i.e. text, audio or video feedback
· Provide opportunities for peer facilitation
TO SUM IT UP
An educational community of inquiry is defined as “a group of individuals who collaboratively engage in purposeful critical discourse and reflection to construct personal meaning and confirm mutual understanding” (Garrison, 2011, p.2). The Community of Inquiry (CoI) theoretical framework embraces deep approaches within the social, cognitive and teaching presence dimensions to create conditions that encourage higher order cognitive processing, engagement and deep learning.
Anderson, T., L. Rourke, D.R. Garrison and W. Archer (2001). Assessing teaching presence in a computer conferencing context, Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks 5 (2).
Garrison, D. R. Communities of Inquiry in Online Learning: Social, Teaching and Cognitive Presence. In C. Howard et al. (Eds.), Encyclopedia of distance and online learning. Hershey, PA: IGI Global, in press.
Rovai, Alfred P. Internet and Higher Education , v10 n1 p77-88 2007.
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