16 – 29 November

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 (CoI) and possibly other frameworks to learn about important pedagogical aspects in creating good blended and online learning environments. Enhancing community building and promoting student engagement and ownership in learning becomes essential for blended and online learning. Designing for pedagogical processes in online environments needs to take approaches like PBL, Networked learning and Connectivism into consideration.

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

Padlet with an introduction video
As a start for the topic you can watch the introductory video talk from Marti Cleveland-Innes on the Community of Inquiry framework (CoI). You can find links to the video on this Padlet and under topic 4 resources below. After you have watched the video please add your comments and reflections to the questions in the Padlet as preparation for the webinar. You can do this indivdually and/or as a PBL group.

On Wednesday 25 November 16:00-17:00 (CET) 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 the 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. You may want to use the “Community of Inquiry Educator Survey” as a tool for reflection on your own teaching practice. (hopefully you are participating in the ONL evaluation study where this surveys is used, otherwise you can view the survey here).
  • 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!

PBL group work

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


“This year has seen higher education institutions respond to the impact of Covid-19 in an unprecedented manner. Due to this “emergency remote teaching and learning” situation I have been forced to move online and I have learnt a lot. But it seems that many of my colleagues, including myself, simply have copied our campus activities into synchronous online sessions and are providing students with material for self-study. I experience that we lose a lot of student engagement and a sense of community, therefore I believe that I need to re-think my teaching practice. It also feels like my role is changing towards being a designer for learning and to be more of a facilitator, which is new to me. When searching for support in this area, I came across the Community of Inquiry and some other models that looks interesting. But I am not sure how to use these as tools for design and how do I get everyone onboard, it seems like a lot to consider?!”

Readings and resources


Cleveland-Innes, M. (2020). Roles, learning design, and the Community of Inquiry. Introductory presentation and slides on the Padlet

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

Boelens, R., De Wever, B., & Voet, M. (2017). Four key challenges to the design of blended learning: A systematic literature review. Educational Research Review, 22, 1-18.

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

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

Fiock, H. (2020). Designing a Community of Inquiry in Online Courses. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 21(1), 135-153.

Hodges, C. et.al (2020). The Difference Between Emergency Remote Teaching and Online Learning. EDUCAUSE review.

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) – homepage and guidelines



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.




webinarWebinarWednesday 25 November 16.00–17.00 (CET) See the event page!



During this topic I have:

  • 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.