Unpacking the educational experience by applying the Community of Inquiry Educator Survey and the Design Principles of World Cafe to my overall practice

Notes on what others have done and what I need to add.

I found the Community of Inquiry Educator Survey Venn diagram a really useful tool to assess my own learning practice. Where it places me in the scheme of things and where I can add to my practice.


Teaching Presence crosses over with Social Presence in setting the climate of the educational space.

Teaching also converges with Cognitive Presence by a teacher selecting content to go online.

Thirdly, Social Presence crosses over with Cognitive Presence in supporting discourse online.

·        Reflecting on my current practice


During COVID 19 my teaching practice in accordance with my institution and the rules that governed my country underwent a radical shift to online whether practical and theoretical. My usual lecturing time was also doubled. It was a time of meeting demands, coming to grips with new technology, trying to be flexible and continuing  in student focused education with students who felt adrift and unmoored and were used to face to face. Luckily I had the advantage of knowing them in previous face to face lectures except for those who were on a campus in another city. In the parlance of theorists I see my approach would be termed synchronous even if online given that my lectures happened in real time. The asynchronous aspect would be in the readings and video material lodged in myClass as well as assignments.

I am using the break down of the Community of Inquiry Educator Survey as a tick list for my teaching. Although it’s primarily for online practice I’ve adopted it for my face to face practice.

·       Teaching presence (setting curriculum, sharing personal meaning, focusing discussion)

·        Setting curriculum

This is done in terms of study guides and assignment with the emphasis on learner focused on the learner and fulfilling the mandate of the course

·        Sharing personal meaning

Although we are all required to make an asynchronous pre lecture videos lodged on myClass as a teaser and also to assist learners who cannot attend I like the idea of “creating an introductory video of yourself for your students and don’t be afraid to let students learn more about you personally – pets, family “photo, book you are reading, etc. https://cte.virginia.edu/resources/applying-community-inquiry-framework

·         Focussing   Discussionadapted from https://cte.virginia.edu/resources/applying-community-inquiry-framework

      Icebreaker to kick the course off

      Discussion prompts to engage students. Art History is my subject and while it’s rooted in the past it becomes really relevant when seminal questions are asked which usher in the present and make the past relevant to the present

      Timely, actionable, and substantive feedback. These are both informal and formal, online and face to face

      As my campus is small lecturers know their students well and can check in with students regularly and reach out to those who fall behind and resolve student problems and questions. We also use a student at risk system.

      I provide clear expectations on how students can contact me both synchronously (office hours) and asynchronously (email, text, etc.). I allow students to contact me at after hours until 8pm

      All assignment are explained and how the assignments will help students obtain the learning objectives.

      Activities to make students comfortable with technology. This course has introduced me to a load of fun tools from Padlet to Miro which I have used effectively in lectures and which students have used in effectively in assignments.

      Show up 10-15 minutes early to class. This is always possible if one is lecturing back-to-back but it makes perfect sense

      Use formative assessments such as quizzes (these are inbuilt into our myClass system , reflective writing assignments (which I believe in as it raises the students awareness of where they have succeeded and what needs more work and also can indicate aspects they were not aware of both positive and negative I used to use these and will reintroduce the practice) and participation in class sessions to provide ample opportunity for feedback.

      Try to draw in participants so that all students are able to contribute. I do this by getting students to pair up and each pair research a different aspect of the topic and feed back into the class with their contribution. Online this is achieved by managing small breakout rooms.

      Encourage, acknowledge, and reinforce student contributions. Always. This extends to showing interest in work that is done in other subjects particularly practical work such as student exhibitions or film showcases

      Help students develop skills to manage their time. This, is vital. I encourage students to start from the deadline of each project and work back to see how much time they have. Also, to use a large calendar and plot all their projects if not for the whole year at least for each term

      Praise students with a shout-out to those who are being supportive of their peers. This can’t be emphasized enough. I have introduced a buddy system where a stronger student works with a les strong student to less or greater effect


·        Social presence (engagement with participants, risk free expression, encouraging collaboration)

      Develop initial course activities that are icebreakers to encourage interaction

       I have created a contract in which I state what I expect of them and what they can expect from me which each student signs and I refer to it should they not be honoring the contact. Students also created a contract with me.

      Students introduce themselves via the practical part of their course. For example -a photography student will introduce themselves by way of what photographers or photographic styles move them

      I have started providing in class assistance with assignments apart from the informal consultations

      My course allows for learner choice, flexibility, and control All my assignments which created so that students respond to either thematically or stylistically allow for students to connect with personal.

      All students are encouraged or required participation in class discussions.

       Students incorporate content from their practical subjects into their theoretical assignments. For examples the understanding of practical skills learnt can be included in theoretical assignments

      Encourage both peer-to-peer and peer-to-instructor connections.

      Each of my courses comes with a short video introducing the course and why a students should take it.

      Where appropriate I share my own stories and experiences with the students.

      Students lead discussions and be subject matter experts when they present their assignments to the class

      I use clear rubrics for grading and will pay more attention to including check lists .


·        Cognitive presence

      I start with the end in mind. Clearly communicate to students what they will learn in class.

      I provide a variety of assignments that students can pick and choose from to demonstrate learning. I need to provide more variety

      I provide writing, readings and reflection but need to provide more variety such as games, audio , video and team based work  

      Provide many low-stakes formative assessment opportunities. I am going to introduce more process-based assignments where the final mark is made up of smaller incremental ones

      Reflection is encouraged.

      I use discussion prompts to dive deep into engaged discussions.

      I will look at roleplaying activities to illustrate multiple points.

      Students do lead discussions.

      Some assignments utilise group work where students work as teams. Will consider introducing more of these

      Will consider giving peer-review opportunities with clear rubrics for assessment.

      Current learning content is connected to previous content/learning.

      Have students reflect on what they are learning now and how they will use this knowledge in the future. This happens informally will consider formalising it

      As my approach is and subject is highly interpretive   multiple perspectives and dialogue are encouraged.

      My subject, because of its interpretive nature encourages diverse points of view and discussions.

      In class opportunities for group brainstorming in terms of research are facilitated in class.

      Provide opportunities for insight on how others are thinking r team assignments.

      I have developed grading rubrics that are wide enough to encompass a range of answers and corresponding scoring.

      Examples of completed assignments are available on myClass to provide an idea of what is expected by students.

      I need to consider making a space for students to create or find relevant materials and post them to myClass as resources.

      I need to provide more frequent opportunities for feedback.

World Café

Design Principles

World Cafe Design Principles


I like the idea of examining pooled information from different angles and then integrating them into a new collective perspective

To this end I found the 7 guiding principles as seen in the above World Cafe Design Principles diagram very useful especially when creating assignments and the ethos in which these assignments will be received

1.                   Set the Context– what do you want to achieve

2.                   Create a Hospitable Space – consider the tone of your invitation and or your physical set -up -the aim is to provide a welcoming atmosphere which can apply to both online and face to face

3.                   Explore Questions that Matter-use compelling questions to open up responses of knowledge

4.                   Encourage Everyone’s Contribution-encourage active contribution

5.                   Connect Diverse Perspectives- this is so important to be inclusive of diversity as an enricher  and  facilitator of new insights

6.                   Listen- active rather than passive listening is vital to hearing both the text and sub text

7.                   Share Collective Discoveries- harvest is the key word here.