In the past two weeks we dived into the subject of design for online and blended learning. As I mentioned in my earlier blogposts, I am new to teaching and that to a degree explains why I so far have defaulted to traditional classroom lectures and seminars. Just now I got an opportunity to design a brand new course and I am keen to put all the learnings into practice. I must say I am grateful indeed that me taking the ONL course is coinciding with my first steps as a university teacher and I cannot thank enough the organizers, contributors, facilitators, and participants for everything that has been created within the ONL community.

In our group work, as has already been shared in the blogs by our PBL group members, we decided to get real and tried to integrate the Community of Inquiry [1] thinking into an actual course that is led by one of our group members (thank you Per for giving us this opportunity!). For me this was a very good way to learn as those things that were abstract became a lot less abstract when presented as a real life situation (as far as I understood Per actually was given a task to convert the course from an on-campus to a blended learning course).

To manage our group work we went for what I would call a collaborative cooperation. We individually explored each of the presences—social, cognitive, teaching, and the overarching emotional with each group member zooming into one of these as well as looking at things more broadly—and then discussed all of these further during our group meetings.

The cognitive presence was something I chose to focus on in greater detail. I have googled a lot, read a lot, got confused, got some clarity—this certainly was quite an iterative process. In parallel with this course I have also been learning about design thinking [2]. Similar to what Per—a member of our PBL group—experienced I also felt that concepts were converging. I am new both to problem-based learning (I certainly was exposed to it but I did not know much about it) and to design thinking so I am at the stage of discovery absorbing like a sponge as much about these concepts as I can.

The cognitive presence element includes four categories: triggering event, exploration, integration, and resolution. These to me seem converging with the double diamond model of the design thinking [3]. How coincidental it is that I am learning about these things at the same time!

Discovering design thinking was critical to me and I now simply cannot get enough of it. Same applies to working through this course with you all! I will certainly be exploring the ways I can use all the insights I have been gaining to improve both the experience of the students who come to learn with me and my own learning experience that I get from teaching.

[1] The Community of Inquiry theoretical framework. Available at

[2] Design Thinking. Available at

[3] Visualizing the 4 Essentials of Design Thinking. Available at

Topic 4: Design for Online and Blended Learning