Teacher Presence & Cognitive Presence

Week 4 Theme – Community of Inquiry Framework/Social Presence

The Community of Inquiry Framework is not a new concept for me; however, the readings and discussion this week gave me the opportunity to consider this framework from a new perspective: educational development. 

The component of the COI framework that was of immediate interest to me this week was the “Who?” and “How?” of establishing Teaching Presence.  Much of the discussion this week seemed to equate teaching presence with the “presence of the teacher” and viewed it as a type of social presence; however, I prefer how Anderson et. al. delineate the components of a COI, and suggest that “only the social aspects of the teacher’s messages that directly relate to the content contributions from the student are included in the teaching presence category” (2001, p. 4). Garrison and Arbaugh break Teaching Presence down further into 3 components: instructional design and organization, discourse facilitation, and direct instruction. In many of the articles on teaching presence, teachers were naturally made agentive (the subject of the sentence). However, contrary to the idea that the teachers are the only members of the learning community who can contribute to teaching presence, I believe that as a curricular and educational developer, teaching presence is the aspect of the COI that that I have the most direct influence over, particularly instructional design and organization practices (Garrison & Arbaugh, 2007, p. 163-164). Realizing this really emphasised to me the importance of working closely with our teaching team to ensure that the learning is designed in a way that easily allows the faculty to fulfill the other facilitating discourse and direct instruction. 

Cognitive presence can also be amplified through learning design. Garrison and Arbaugh’s 4-step cycle where “participants move deliberately from understanding the problem or issue through to exploration, integration and application” seems like a good foundation upon which to model cognitively deep activities, but they do highlight the challenges of moving the cognitive activity to a resolution (Garrison & Arbaugh, 2007, p. 161). I think this cycle actually could work really well for the self-directed asynchronous discussion activity that I have in mind for the assignment for this course, although, I would like to facilitate a discussion in which the exploration phase occurs in a shared space (rather than the Private World as suggested in the diagram). 


Anderson, T., Rourke, L., Garrison, R., & Archer, W. (2019). Assessing Teaching Presence In A Computer Conferencing Context. Online Learning, 5(2).

Garrison, D. Randy, and J.B. Arbaugh. (2007) “Researching the Community of Inquiry Framework: Review, Issues, and Future Directions.” Internet and Higher Education, vol. 10,  pp. 157–172.

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