26 April – 9 May

For this topic, we shift our focus from participation in a learning environment to the perspective of the educator in the 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 a good blended and online learning experience for your students. Enhancing community-building and promoting student engagement and ownership in learning becomes essential for blended and online learning. Learning design thus needs to be informed by a set of principles that considers approaches like PBL, Collaborative Learning, Networked Learning and Connectivism.

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 should watch the introductory video from Marti Cleveland-Innes on Blended and online teaching and learning: Identifying pedagogical change in higher education. You can find the video and slides on this Padlet (link also under topic 4 resources below. This Padlet offers the opportunity for the PBL groups to add comments and questions before the webinar. The Padlet will also remain open the whole week after the webinar, to follow-up any questions you would like to raise with Marti Cleveland-Innes.

To learn more about the Community of Inqury framework, you may want to listen to and view Marti´s videotalk and slides from ONL202 (see links under resources below)

On Wednesday 28 April 16:00-17:00 (CEST) there will be an interactive webinar with Dr. Marti Cleveland-Innes. The webinar will focus on four sub-topics related to designing for online and blended learning. Further information about the webinar and preparations is published on the event page!

Alastair Creelman together with Anne Whaits and others in the ONL team will be leading a discussion on questions related to Design for online and blended learning, picked up during the topic. This will be the 3:rd and last tweetchat in ONL211, if you have not yet tried it out, take the opportunity. (see 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. 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.


“ A year ago we were forced to work online with the implementation of emergency remote teaching and learning because of the Covid-19 pandemic. It seems that in many instances we may still be approaching our teaching practice in the same way without using any of the existing theoretical models for blended and online learning to inform our practice. An analysis of student surveys reflect that students are not very happy with how educators have been responding to the challenge. We need to rethink how we design hybrid, blended and online learning that works in both physical- and virtual rooms; and how we combine synchronous and asynchronous activities that encourage students’ engagement and learning.”

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. (2021). Blended and online teaching and learning: Identifying pedagogical change in higher education. ONL211 topic 4 Intro video (9:35 min).
Video and slides on the Padlet    /   Video on YouTube

Cleveland-Innes, M. (2020). Roles, learning design, and the Community of Inquiry. Introductory presentation for ONL202 where Marti describes CoI more in detail. Videotalk (35 min), Slides

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”. / Download the whole book.

Further optional readings and resources

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

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

Conrad, D. & Openo, J. (2018). Strategies for Online Learning. Engagement and Authenticity. Edmonton: AU Press. (book for download or read online)

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.

Mintz, Steven (2021). How to Design a Course for Maximum Student Engagement: Seven Innovative Approaches. Webinar presentation (60 min) Recording / Presentation slides

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

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 28 April 16.00-17.00 (CEST)  See the event page!

Tweetchat Wednesday 5 May, 11:00-12:00 (CEST)  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  where reso urces for this topic.