Our discussion questions :)

This topic contains 26 replies, has 13 voices, and was last updated by Avatar of Melissa Sunquist Melissa Sunquist 4 years, 2 months ago.

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  • #1044
    Avatar of Norm Vaughan
    Norm Vaughan
    Key Master

    Hi Everyone,

    Rob, is going to be our online discussion moderator this week and he has created the following three questions to help frame our discussion:

    1. Why is the COI an important part of blended learning?

    2. The COI framework is made of three elements social presence, cognitive presence, and teaching presence. How would you implement these elements in your practice and design of learning materials?

    3. Thinking about the last question (#2) can you briefly talk about an online/distance/blended learning course that you have taken that fully incorporates these elements or if yourself have developed and taught courses using a COI framework. What did learn about the experience and what would you do differently?

    All the best, Norm

    1. #1047
      Avatar of Robert Buck
      Robert Buck
      Participant

      I hope that everyone had a good week. As Norm has mentioned in the mass email, I will be the moderator for the discussion topic this week on the Community of Inquiry.

      My reflection on the questions:

      1. Why is the COI an important part of blended learning?

      The Community of Inquiry model is an important part of blended learning because we need to think of the overall objective of the model is to provide an educational experience. The education experience needs to be a positive experience with outcomes and objectives that are measurable and obtainable. When we design a program using a blended learning approach we are integrating both the human presence (face-to-face, classroom environment) with an online presence (discussion forums, blogs) to create that educational experience.

      2. The COI framework is made of three elements social presence, cognitive presence, and teaching presence. How would you implement these elements in your practice and design of learning materials.

      Social Presence: For me this implies that we all share a connection whether we are in the realm of the online environment or in a classroom receiving face to face instruction. As human beings we are social creatures and we need to have a connection with other human beings. When teach and design courses, I attempt to bring that social aspect to my planning and delivery of a course. When I first started to use a blended approach to teaching, it was more or less a space that I could keep files for the class in one spot. It was not until recently that started to experiment a bit more with the blended model and have started to include discussion forums as part of the learning environment. I find that forums gives me the opportunity to see what my learners are thinking and having problems with so that I can assist them in their learning.

      Cognitive Presence: Here we are looking at meaning and reflection of the lesson. Again, as an educator, I am always thinking about how a lesson, test, or assignment went and I am always thinking of ways of retooling those lessons, tests, and assignments. But do I reflect and try to find a meaning of a lesson that has been delivered to me as a learner. I probably do but I do not know if I do it often enough. It is something that I need to do more often and with courses that I am taking this term, I am now blogging which in itself a form of critical reflection and meaning.

      Teaching Presence: When I think about this element, I cannot help to think about what is my role as the educators in the COI. I find this element abstract because I am trying to envision what teaching presence would look like in a blended model. As an educator it has been told to me numerous times that if you teach to the objectives and outcomes you will have a successful learning environment. But is this true? Yes, but partly because we also have to an effective presenter and be able to facilitate learning.

      3. Thinking about the last question (#2) can you briefly talk about an online/distance/blended learning course that you have taken that fully incorporates these elements or if yourself have developed and taught courses using a COI framework. What did learn about the experience and what would you do differently?

      I am new to online/blended courses both as an educator and learner however I feel that an ideal course or program would incorporate those elements seamlessly into the instructional design. In the courses that I taught my take home message is try not to reinvent the wheel. Technology especially technology associated with a blended learning environment should supplement a course not overwhelm it. Use it as a tool and with any tool, if it is misused it will eventually hurt you. We have to be careful not overwhelm our learners and ourselves.

      I am looking forward the discussion. Have a good week.

      Rob

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      • #1052
        Avatar of Lida La
        Lida La
        Participant

        Hi Rob,

        Prior to reading your question, I thought of the relationship between COI and blended learning in the opposite direction. I think of blended learning as a means to facilitate a collaboratory learning environment needed to achieve and sustain the critical reflection and discourse characteristic of COI. Your question reframes this for me to suggest COI as a means to increasing effectiveness of blended learning. Which comes first… the chicken or the egg? :)

        In response to your first question, Garrison and Vaughan (2008) define blended learning as “the organic integration of thoughtfully selected and complementary face-to-face and online approaches” (p. 148). I believe INTEGRATION is key in this definition, as we all agree that merely ADDING ON information technologies to existing face-to-face learning would result in little more than cluttering learners’ mental space and available study time “to reflect on meaning and engage in discourse for shared understanding” (Vaughan, Cleveland-Innes & Garrison, 2013, p. 9). The CoI framework with its collaborative, constructivist philosophy (Vaughan, Cleveland-Innes & Garrison, 2013) can effectively enable critical thinking and collaboration. It facilitates the formation and sustaining of learning communities that support engagement and collaboration, thereby fostering higher order learning goals (Garrison & Vaughan, 2008).

        Lida

        Garrison, D. R., & Vaughan, N. (2008). Chapter One: Introduction. Blended Learning in Higher Education. San Francisco : Jossey-Bass. Available at: http://www2.mtroyal.ab.ca/~nvaughan/chpt1intro.pdf

        Vaughan, N.D., Cleveland-Innes, M. & Garrison, D.R. (2013). Teaching in blended learning environments: Creating and sustaining communities of inquiry. Athabasca: Athabasca University Press. Available online at: http://www.aupress.ca/index.php/books/120229

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    2. #1048
      Avatar of Lillian Li
      Lillian Li
      Participant

      Hello Rob:

      Very thoughtful insight. Thank you.

      I would like to comment on your reflection on the teaching presence. I agree that without the face-to-face component, it can become somewhat abstract. However, in order to create the positive educational experience which is the core of the CoI, to me teaching presence plays a vital role in connecting the cognitive and social processes in order to achieve the desired learning outcomes.

      If we look at the framework closely, we will notice that in the circle of teaching presence, it consists of a few elements that are crucial to achieving positive education experience. These element are “setting climate”, “regulate learning” and “engagement re. goals/direction”. My take-away from the CoI structure is that an authentic community of inquiry, which blended learning environment can very well create, requires all parties to fully engage and participate in the process. I have seen cases of “blended learning” that failed to create such learning environment largely due to the shallow understanding that blended learning is about technology. As long as the course content is online, the blended learning environment is created and the job is done. The CoI model is such an important concept that serves as an overall framework we can all refer to when tasked to deliver learning in a blended approach.

      Thanks for sharing,

      Lilian

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    3. #1049
      Avatar of Norm Vaughan
      Norm Vaughan
      Key Master

      Hi Lilian and Rob,

      Great comments – I too believe that teaching presence is the “glue” or “connective tissue” for the CoI framework!!

      And, we must remember that the focus is on “teaching” not “teacher” presence – as the roles and responsibilities must be shared by all participants in a Community of Inquiry :)

      I love how the Maori people use the word “ako” to represent teaching presence!!

      Te Kete Ipurangi (2013). The concept of ako. Available online at http://tereomaori.tki.org.nz/Curriculum-guidelines/Teaching-and-learning-te-reo-Maori/Aspects-of-planning/The-concept-of-ako

      I’m curious to know how people are currently using this concept of teaching presence in their educational workplaces?

      Norm

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    4. #1051
      Avatar of Robert Buck
      Robert Buck
      Participant

      Good Morning Norm and Lillian

      Thank you being the first two to contribute to this discussion forum. I do realize that focus is teaching not the teacher however how can you have one without the other whether its is an online environment or classroom environment. I do agree the Maori concept of ako as I often do tell my learners that I learn just as much from them and that learning is a shared responsibility amongst all the participants. However I believe and it is supported by literature that it has to do with good design and organization of the content which strengthens the teaching presence (Nagel and Kotzé, 2010).

      Nagel, L., and Kotzé, T., G. (2010). Supersizing e-learning: What a CoI survey reveals about teaching presence in a large online class. Internet and Higher Education 13, 45-51. doi:10.1016/j.iheduc.2009.12.001

      Have a good day

      Rob

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    5. #1053
      Avatar of Michael Magowan
      Michael Magowan
      Participant

      Hi Rob,

      The importance of COI in blended learning is found in the heart of the model where the three elements converge to create the “Educational Experience” (Vaughan, Cleveland-Innes & Garrison, 2013, p. 11). Disengaged students, drop out rates and a lack of appreciation of an education are problematic issues faced by universities and many school districts. I believe it is the overall experience that educators must begin to focus their practice on, and a shift away from curricular coverage and dated delivery models must begin. Vaughan et al. (2013) discuss the “organic integration” (p.8) of practice and “indicate a significant rethinking of how we should be approaching the learning experience” (p.8). Engagement and authentic task design dominate my professional conversations at district meetings and frame my professional development within my school. The premise of the COI framework is that “higher education is both collaborative and an individually constructivist learning experience” (Vaughan, Cleveland-Innes & Garrison, 2013, p. 10). The notion that the learner and the teacher work collaboratively and interchangeably is what is important to the educational experience and ultimately to the creation of a blended learning environment.

      The implementation of the entire educational experience begins with choice and an examination of what curriculum is. Curriculum is not simply the topics to be covered, but rather the knowledge, skills and attributes described through the topics of study. As teachers examine their role or “teaching presence” the approach to education shifts from content delivery to facilitator of learning. The redesign of educational practice invites choice in learning and “participants become more metacognitively aware” (Vaughan, Cleveland-Innes & Garrison, 2013, P.13) and “assume increasing responsibility and control of their learning” (Vaughan, Cleveland-Innes & Garrison, 2013, P.13), demonstrating the cognitive presence. As greater responsibility and control over learning is realized, the social presence becomes increasingly crucial to the community of inquiry through collaboration, co-construction of knowledge and connection to a greater online learning community. Everyone connected to the educational experience contributes to the “purposeful collaboration to resolve an issue, solve a problem, or create new understanding” (Vaughan, Cleveland-Innes & Garrison, 2013, P.17) and “address new requirements of the knowledge age of the 21st century” (Vaughan, Cleveland-Innes & Garrison, 2013, P.17).

      My school community is currently implementing components of the COI framework through the concept of “Genius Hour” http://www.geniushour.com. Students are provided time, support and tools to pursue what they are most passionate about. Although, I believe Genius hour allows for the social, cognitive and teaching presence to converge to create sound “Educational Experience” I do find the online component of the blended environment with the elementary age difficult to execute. This is an area that I hope to learn more about through this course.

      Reference

      Vaughan, N.D., Cleveland-Innes, M. & Garrison, D.R. (2013). Teaching in blended learning environments: Creating and sustaining communities of inquiry. Athabasca: Athabasca University Press. Available online at: http://www.aupress.ca/index.php/books/120229

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      • #1054
        Avatar of Robert Buck
        Robert Buck
        Participant

        Good Afternoon Michael

        Thank for replying to the questions in our discussion forum. It seems like a lot of discussion is being generated over teaching presence. The role of an online instructor does change from being “the sage on the stage” to “the guide on the side”Being the facilitator of the course can be done through careful planning and design, as well as participating in the virtual classroom environment. The teacher still must be available not absent from the virtual learning environment. Lowenthal and Parscal (2008) describe strategies on how teachers can improve their presence online to increase student learning.

        Have a good weekend

        Rob

        Lowenthal, P. R., & Parscal, T. (2008). Teaching presence.The Learning Curve, 3(4), 1-2, 4.

        http://patricklowenthal.com/publications/TeachingPresenceFacilitatesLearning.pdf

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      • #1055
        Avatar of Lida La
        Lida La
        Participant

        Hi Michael,

        I enjoyed learning about Genius Hour as a great example of COI in action.

        Based on the website, it seems that during Genius Hour, learners engage with their personal question(s) of interest. In your experience, does this compromise the opportunity for interaction and collaboration, and by extension the sense of community and social presence? How can teachers build in opportunities for engaging learners in critical discourse and reflection? Would assigning a group project to initiate and sustain group cohesion and common purpose (Vaughan, Cleveland-Innes & Garrison, 2013) go against the idea of Genius Hour?

        I imagine transitioning the school community to regard school as a constructivist learning space would require time and patience. I look forward to reading more about the challenges and opportunities that you encounter on the way.

        Lida

        Vaughan, N.D., Cleveland-Innes, M. & Garrison, D.R. (2013). Teaching in blended learning environments: Creating and sustaining communities of inquiry. Athabasca: Athabasca University Press. Retrieved from: http://www.aupress.ca/index.php/books/120229

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        • #1057
          Avatar of Michael Magowan
          Michael Magowan
          Participant

          Hi Lida,

          Again, we are really in the beginning stages of implementing our genius hour. To begin to create buy in with both staff and students we shared youtube videos from the “Kid President” youtube channel. This young man represents what our youth are truly capable of and is a source on inspiration for our students. We shared his video “How to be an inventor” which can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75okexRzWMk&index=21&list=PLzvRx_johoA-YabI6FWcU-jL6nKA1Um-t

          This was a jumping off point for many of our classes. Teachers chose to ask students if they could invent anything what would it be? This gave a focus to the conversation as you could imagine to just ask 6 years old to study what they are most passionate about would have been difficult. This created collaboration and conversation amongst the students as they eagerly shared their questions and inventions. While at the same time created student dialogue with teachers, giving them insight into what the students are truly interested in or most passionate about. From here individual project began to grow and the COI principals began to converge on Educational Experience.

          Our grade 5/6 classrooms were able to connect the entire class around a central idea while still allowing for the individual project to flourish. The students decided to create a museum to share their passion projects with a real audience. Class discussion revealed that many different types of museums exist in our world examples including sport, art, science, etc. were shared. Students are pursuing areas of interest by creating their own space within the museum but will be joining together to create a classroom museum to display and share their work with a real audience. They have even discussed creating a virtual tour of the space when it is complete and inviting discussion questions and comments from an online audience.

          I highly recommend watching some of the Kid President videos as he has quite the presence himself. Another favourite of mine is “A Pep Talk from Kid President to You” and is found at:

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-gQLqv9f4o

          Mike

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      • #1076
        Avatar of Shauna Elliott
        Shauna Elliott
        Participant

        Hi Mike,

        Thanks for sharing your experiences with the “Genius Hour” as I had never heard of it before. I am also glad that you highlighted the difficulties of executing such an initiative with elementary-aged students.

        A few years back, one of the grade three teachers at my school tried a new initiative, somewhat similar to Genius Hour, however students were not required to use technology. Some students took interest in theater, others in music, etc. There was one group who decided to complete a power-point slideshow (on the Montreal Canadians, not that it matters) and I remember when the teacher shared her experiences about the overall project she emphasized that the “tech” group required the most assistance and really was unable to work independently at all. I believe this is part of the reason why primary and elementary teachers are sometimes hesitant to implement technology, particularly individual-based projects, with these young children in their classrooms.

        Interesting discussion!

        Thanks,
        Shauna

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