The Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework developed by Garrison et al., is a well-established instructional design model for the creation of engaging learning communities. This CoI model “represents a process of creating a deep and meaningful learning experience” and identifies three interconnected elements − cognitive presence, social presence, and teaching presence − as essential for a quality educational experience. (Garrison, D. R., & Arbaugh, J. B. (2007).

Creating a Community of Inquiry (CoI) is an important pedagogical goal for facilitating discussions in online contexts. Students may encounter barriers to participation, however, such as lack of access, engagement, and social equity. Innovative pedagogical practices using new learning technologies can offer solutions to overcome these barriers. The examples from the SHU classroom below demonstrate how to build a CoI using new technologies, and can be applied to face-to-face, online, and blended contexts.


Garrison, D. R., & Arbaugh, J. B. (2007). Researching the community of inquiry framework: Review, issues, and future directions. Internet and Higher Education. 10. 157–172.

Interactive Teaching using Flipgrid

FlipGrid is an online asynchronous video response tool where instructors can create brief questions or prompts in a grid for students to record a 90 second video response. Students may also respond to other student responses. Or, students might even trigger conversations.

FlipGrid can be used to introduce students in a Meet the Class topic, as an icebreaker, to spur discussion as a weekly Question and Answer forum on course content or feedback.

Check out the pedagogical applications in the SHU classroom, by visiting this webpage. We have examples from Prof. Pilar Munday (foreign language classroom) and Prof. Barbara Tarasovic (accounting classroom)

Task Design for promoting Critical Reading using Google Docs

In fall 2015, I taught the ENG201 Experiencing Literature course for the first time. A primary goal was to promote critical reading in that freshman classroom. For this, I chose to bring in the cloud based networked learning environment using a host of Google tools. A sub goal was to also promote a community of inquiry within the large class as we worked on honing our critical analysis.

This video describes the task design, and my observations of student learning. This includes what worked and some limitations to be aware of, especially when it comes to the socio-affective aspects of student learning.

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