The topic Design for online and blended learning have been the most challenging topic so far in the ONL-course. Even if I have experienced both being a student and a teacher in online and blended learning, I am still struggling when taking the position to guide colleagues in re(designing) their courses for online or blended. I am hesitating when thinking of what could be the best way to start. What should be the first scaffold I put in their hands when they ask for written guidance? Should it be Salmons five stage model (Salmon, 2011, 2013a, 2013b), or does it only deal with e-moderating skills and technological aspects of the online experience? Would it be better to start off with the Community of Inquiry framework instead (Vaughan, Cleveland-Innes & Garrison, 2013)? Or something completely else?

The five stage model and the Community of Inquiry framework are new to me, even if I have stumbled upon them previously during my career. They seem to be similar in that they both claim to constitute frameworks for online and blended learning (cf. Cleveland-Innes, 2018; Salmon, 2011). But on the other hand, I also find them different in character putting Vaughan, Cleveland-Innes and Garrison (2013) and Salmon (2013a) side by side. It seems like the Community of Inquiry could best be described as thematic in its approach, and the five stage model have more of a linear approach (dealing with a course from beginning to end). I am inclined to think that the five stage model therefore could be my choice if I need to focus on introducing only one framework in the very beginning of helping a colleague out. On the other hand, it bothers me that I do not yet know enough about the model in order to take a stance. Emotional presence has been proven to have important bearing on the teaching and learning process (Cleveland-Innes, 2019) and I am sitting here wondering if emotional presence are handled in the five stage model?

An issue related to concrete guidelines is the experiences I have made in this ONL course in relation to my studies for the bachelor’s degree, where we worked collaboratively in blended mode. I experienced the collaboration activities more as collaborating during the bachelor’s degree and more of dividing the work among the colleagues during the ONL course. I am not sure if this situation relates to the difference in length of the courses (ONL lasting for 10 weeks and a bachelor programme lasting for three years), the amount of time the participants have available for participating or the amount of time that the course stipulates, or if it depends on the composition of individuals, or if it is related to the learning design or something completely else.

When considering the learning design regarding the learning contract/group contract/guidelines for group collaboration in the ONL and the bachelor’s degree, I see a couple of differences. We spent more time on the contract in the bachelor’s degree, both as individuals and as a group, synchronously discussing how to work with each other. We also tried to be very specific when formulating the agreements during the bachelor’s degree. One example of how to be specific could be to write “Each member of the group should login on the platform and partake in the discussion actively at least two times a week”. A less specific way of expressing it (we did that in the beginning of the bachelor’s degree) could be “Each member of the group should login on a regular basis.” This makes me think of if there are any templates and guidelines out there regarding online learning contracts/online group contracts. I found an article licensed under Creative Commons, entitled Making Group Contracts. Centre for Teaching Excellence, University of Waterloo (Centre for teaching excellence, 2019) where an online group work contract template from the Taylor Institute Teaching Community, the University of Calgary are mentioned. Unfortunately, the link is no longer in function and I have not yet succeeded to find it elsewhere, but this is something I will follow up after the ONL course, since I would like to access examples of how these scaffolds of learning/group contracts for online learning could be formed.


Centre for teaching excellence (2019). Making group contracts. Available:

Cleveland-Innes, M.
(2019). Emotion and learning –  emotional
presence in the Community of Inquiry framework (CoI)? Introductory video on the

Cleveland-Innes, M. (2018) Community of Inquiry and Teaching Presence: Facilitation in online and blended learning. Presentation slides from ONL181 webinar.

Salmon, G. (2011). E-moderating: The key to teaching and
learning online.
New York: Routledge.

Salmon, G. (2013a). The Five Stage Model. Retrieved

Salmon, G. (2013b). E-tivities: The key to active online
New York: Routledge.

Vaughan, N. D.,
Cleveland-Innes, M. & Garrison, D. R. (2013). Teaching in blended
learning environments: Creating and sustaining communities of inquiry.
AU Press.

Roads ahead in guiding colleagues about online and blended learning