Setting the climate in an authentic online community of learning
Abstract: The growth of online learning and the demand for quality education has prompted universities to investigate innovative approaches for providing students with a more interactive, engaging and authentic learning experience. Frameworks such as Garrison, Anderson and Archer’s (2001) community of inquiry (CoI) model have been widely used in the design of learning tasks and communities of learning to address this challenge. In this paper, the key elements of the CoI model are explained—the cognitive, social and teaching aspects—together with a brief look at the intersecting areas of these elements. Of particular interest in this paper was the intersection of social and teaching presence, because of its capacity to contribute to setting climate in an online learning environment. A systematic analysis of recent studies focusing on key elements of the CoI model is reported, and characteristics for setting the climate in an online environment to assist the development of a community of inquiry are identified, together with guidelines to assist with the implementation. Finally, an authentic online professional development course for higher education professionals is described to illustrate the guidelines in practice.