Online technology has been used as a means of social media and in the teaching environment for much longer than it has been used in management and administration of colleagues in the work context. The tools used in online facilitation include and not exclusive to twitter, blog, Facebook, Instagram, padlet, coggle, word press etc. The focus of this blog departs from the teaching environment to applying it as a tool for designing and creating communities of inquiry (Vaughan, Cleveland-Innes, & Garrison, 2013) in the context of a private higher education institution. More specifically for my own development and role as facilitator, in this instance.

Vaughan, Cleveland-Innes, & Garrison (2013: 17) provide a map and guide to creating and sustaining purposeful communities of inquiry: “1. Plan for the creation of open communication and trust. 2. Plan for critical reflection and discourse. 3. Establish community and cohesion. 4. Establish inquiry dynamics (purposeful inquiry). 5. Sustain respect and responsibility. 6. Sustain inquiry that moves to resolution. 7. Ensure assessment is congruent with intended processes and outcomes.” These seven provide us with guidelines to consider in the design, facilitation and direction of a community of inquiry.

The mechanism I found useful from my experience in this course is Salmon’s (2005) 5-Stage model of Teaching and Learning Online. I believe that this model will enhance the development of a successful community of inquiry among my colleagues going forward. My choice of Salmon’s (2005) model is influenced by the South African context in terms of being ready to engage with online tools. The greater population is culturally entrenched in the face to face culture and require small steps in the transition period.

Salmon (2005) suggests that the following five points be considered carefully when designing and facilitating effective online activities. The first point that he makes is that as facilitator I need to ensure that access is granted, and adequate support is provided by designing activities to welcome and encourage colleagues (motivation). The second crucial advice is to guide colleagues to establish their online identities and encourage team building. Thirdly find ways to encourage support for each other’s goals. Fourth, the establishment of common understandings must be facilitated. Last, prepare them for reflection and evaluation (metacognition) as a means of increased performance.

I am aware of the possibilities and challenges I might encounter on my journey, however I choose to focus on the possibilities of reaching my goal of successful online interaction with my colleagues.


Salmon, G (2013) The Five Stage Model. [Homepage]

EdTech Team. (2019). Online facilitation techniques.

Jisc Guide. (2016). Scaling up on Online learning.

Vaughan, N. D., Cleveland-Innes, M., & Garrison, D. R. (2013). Teaching in blended learning environments: Creating and sustaining communities of inquiry. Edmonton: AU Press. Chapter 1 “The Community of Inquiry Conceptual framework”.

4. Pathway to Online Engagement