15–28 April

For this topic, we shift our focus from participation in a learning environment to how to support and design for learning. Over this fortnight, you will have the opportunity to explore the Community of Inquiry framework to learn about important pedagogical aspects to be considered when creating good blended and online learning environments.
Supporting student learning by scaffolding and facilitation is a key area in the provision of a ‘quality’ educational experience in formal settings. Successful student support has a marked and positive impact on retention, progression, completion rates and overall student satisfaction – this can be even more so for students studying online. You will be encouraged to reflect on your own experience of what constitutes good learning design as well as consider how you can design and support flexible, networked and community-based learning in your own teaching practice.

Activities for all learners

Introduction video and readings

As a start for the topic you can watch the introductory video from Marti Cleveland-Innes on emotion and learning, and emotional presence in the Community of Inquiry framework (CoI). You can find the video on our topic 4 Padlet page. After you have watched the film please add your comments, reflections and questions on the Padlet page (see instructions on the page). Your comments and questions will be used as a basis for discussion at webinar on 24 April. To learn more about the CoI framework please also view recommended readings on at the bottom of this page.

Survey on CoI

During the first week of the topic you are asked to do a survey “Community of Inquiry Educator Survey”. Further instructions and link to the survey is sent out by email to all participants during the first week. Let us know if you do not recieve it. The individual and groups scores from the CoI survey will (togheter with the Padlet) serve as preparation and a basis for discussion at the webinar.


We hope that you also will join this topic’s Tweetchat on Wednesday 17 April 19:00-20:00 (CEST)! A Tweetchat or Twitter chat is a synchronous discussion run through Twitter – good fun and worth trying. For guidance how you participate, see the event page.


On Wednesday 24 April 16:00-17:00 (CEST) there will be a “flipped” and interactive webinar with Dr. Marti Cleveland-Innes. During this webinar you will together with Marti be able to discuss Community of Inquiry (CoI) including emotional presence as a framework for designing flexible, networked and community-based learning. Further information about preparation for webinar will be published on the event page!

Learning blog – reflection

Towards the end of the topic, finalise and share your reflections in your blog and have a look around how others have captured their stories. Suggested themes for reflection in your learning blog:

  • Reflect on your current practice and reason about possibilities for development of online and blended learning designs.
  • Reflect on how you can provide support, facilitation and scaffolding for students in online and blended learning environments.
  • Are there opportunities for further development in this area, that you have identified as a result of your own experience as a learner in the ONL course and of your engagement in this topic?

Feedback on blogs

One essential aspect in designing and supporting learning is to regard the importance of feedback. We would therefore like to encourage you view and comment on other participants blogs – remember how motivating constructive feedback can be!

Blogcilitator blog

I addition to facilitation of PBL groups, a small group of facilitators are focusing on reading and commenting on participants blogs. The aim is to facilitate learning processes related to individual reflective blog posts as well as summarizing and highlighting themes that arises in blog posts for each of the ONL topics. You can view the Blogcilitator blog with  “meta blog posts” for each topic under the tab All blog posts on the ONL site.


During previous topics  we have encouraged you to try out twitter as a tool for collaborative and networked learning.  If you haven’t yet tried out Twitter you might want to give it a try during this topic. Have a look at Alastairs video What is Twitter? and make a tweet during the week.


PBL group work

For guidance on PBL group work including the FISh design please see Learning activities.

“I have recently attended a course in online learning and it has offered many new insights regarding transformative opportunities for my own teaching. So how can I now put this into play in the activities and contexts of my own teaching while simultaneously addressing some of the challenges associated with online learning? I am keen to design my own online or blended learning course that promotes student engagement, community, collaborative learning and enables me to practice the principles of good facilitation. To convince our heads of department, I think I must formulate a convincing argument and maybe try to illustrate in a visual way what a good online or blended learning design could look like. I wonder which activity, module or course I should choose? Maybe I should involve some of the colleagues in this?”

Readings and resources


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

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

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

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”

Further optional readings and resources

City University London. (2016). Online Facilitation Techniques.

Cleveland-Innes, M. & Wilton, D. (2018). Guide to Blended Learning. Burnaby: Commonwealth of Learning.

Conole, G. (2015). The 7Cs of Learning Design. Manuscript.  PDF

van Ameijde, J., Weller, M. and Cross, S. (2018). Learning Design for Student Retention. Journal of Perspectives in Applied Academic Practice, Vol 6 | Issue 2 | pp.41-50.

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



By the end of this topic, you will have had the opportunity to

  • discuss pedagogical approaches; possibilities and challenges in designing online learning environments
  • apply models for design and facilitation of online and blended learning.
  • reflect on how to design for learning and support learners in your own practice.


webinar Webinar

Wednesday 24 April 16:00-17:00 (CEST)
See the event page!


Wednesday 17 April 19:00-20:00 (CEST)
See the event page!


During this topic I have:

  • Attended at least two of the PBL group online meetings
  • Contributed actively to the group work on the scenario
  • Commented on some colleagues’ blog posts
  • Written my reflective blog post on topic 4
  • Studied the recommended resources for this topic.