During the Topic 4, our focus changed from be an online course participant to how to promote online learning.

    For this, the concept of Community of Inquiry is very important. A learning community is made of students, and their individualities, and a teacher, and it is proposed that each community is composed by three types of presences: social, cognitive and teacher.

Social presence is about how students communicate to each other. How they behave in the community. Which tools they use to talk one to another. The cognitive presence is about how the knowledge is built, individually and collectively, based in communication. And, the teach presence is the methodology, the content and the facilitator skills approached by the teacher. This is a stablished hypothesis (Garrison, D. R., Anderson, T., & Archer, W. (2000)) and can be seen also in this short video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=273WuFa6Z04).

     So, what is new about it? During our webinar, Dr. Marti presented a fourth presence in the community of inquiry. The Emotional Presence. This consider how the community components build their behaviour to show or hide emotions.

    Emotions are part of our lives. They interfere in everything, including the learning process. So, this makes me wonder which tools we can use measure effectively how much our emotions influences in our learning, and how we can change it to improve it. How we, as teachers, can help in this process without being invasive? And no, I didn’t figure out an answer yet… (maybe you, dear reader, can drop me some ideas in comments…)

     We were invited to participate of a Community of Inquiry Survey during this Topic 4 to evaluate our Presences as an Educator. In general, I kept the mean average. And I think this is a good start. Two scores should be pointed out. My worst (Personal Expression in Social Presence) and my best (Emotional + Teaching Presence in Emotional Presence).

      Questions regarding the Personal Expression (my lowest score) are related to students’ interaction and online communication between them. I must confess that I never gave it a real thought, because my classes are face to face type, and when students reach my subject, they already spent 5 semesters together. So, they know each other already. But, maybe is something to pay more attention from now on.

     About the Emotional + Teaching Presence, questions were concerning the emotion expressed by me and by students. Yes, it is there, I can feel it (for good or bad! kkk).

     Another matter approached in Topic resources was the 5 Stages Model. In this model, bonding and trust relationships between the Community of Inquiry are constructed along the way, enabling an improved learning.

Each stage has a purpose and a goal to be reached. Namely:

Step 1: Motivational.  Why I am doing this? In this step it is important that all group had access to platforms, process and systems.

Step 2: Socialisation. Who am I in the group? Build an identity.

Step 3: Information Exchange. How we are doing this?

Step 4: Knowledge Construction. Improved interactions and contributions between the group.

Step 5: Development.  Look steps 1-4 again with new eyes. Now we are supposed to know what we are doing.

     Here is the most amazing thing. I could recognize myself and my group in these 5 stages along the course. SO, yes, it works!

      I guess, what I take with me after this Topic is: the final goal is very important, but how we structure the path to it is also extremely relevant.

      See you in a bit!

Garrison, D. R., Anderson, T., & Archer, W. (2000). Critical inquiry in a text-based environment: Computer conferencing in higher educationmodelThe Internet and Higher Education, 2(2-3), 87-105.

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”.

Salmon, G (2013) The Five Stage Model. [Homepage] http://www.gillysalmon.com/five-stage-model.html

Now, let’s look to the other side…