From Ordinary to Extraordinary: Designing a Blended Learning Training Program with the COI Framework

Streamed Session Blended

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Brief Abstract

Due to an institutional migration from Blackboard to Canvas, a faculty training program on blended learning was re-designed for both transition and program enhancement. This presentation will share how the COI framework guided online course design to engage learners and build a community of learning in the faculty development program.  


Hong Wang is a professor and serves as Associate Director of Instructional Technology Training at NOVA Online in Northern Virginia Community College, one of the largest community colleges in the United States. She has worked in higher education for over 20 years with extensive experience in course design, online teaching, technology integration, faculty training and development, and event planning and program management. She has been managing training programs on blended learning and online teaching for the college. As a Quality Matters certified online facilitator and peer course reviewer of online courses, Hong enjoys collaboration with faculty and colleagues to build a community of effective practices in online and blended courses to support student success. Hong holds a doctorate in educational technology from Kansas State University with master’s degrees in English and educational technology. She has been active in the field through professional services and presentations at national and international conferences on educational technology and online learning.

Extended Abstract

Blended learning thoughtfully integrate face-to-face classroom meetings and online learning with reduced seat time for students (Garrison & Kanuka, 2004). Blended learning provides students increased access to higher education because of its convenience, less seat time, and flexible schedule. For faculty who have never taught online, blended courses can be challenging to design and teach as they need to develop new technological and pedagogical skills for this teaching modality. Research shows that professional development is crucial to prepare and support faculty to teach blended courses (Owens, 2012). Faculty must have the technological skills to design and maintain the online portions of blended courses. They also must have pedagogical skills needed for instructional methods unique to blended learning (Korr et al., 2012).

In Fall 2019 our institution started to use the new Canvas learning management system, including all courses for students and all training courses for faculty. One of our training programs is to prepare faculty to design and teach blended courses. During the institution-wide learning management system migration time, we took the opportunity to re-design the training program from a three-week workshop to a four-week mini-course guided by the community of inquiry framework.

The community of inquiry has been widely used in the design and study of online environments (Garrison, 2017; Halverson et al., 2014). Garrison et al. (2000) first introduced this framework through their own work on computer-based conferencing, and it is the “most widely referenced framework associated with the study of online and blended learning” (Garrison, 2016, p. 68). The framework suggests that deep and meaningful learning results when there is evidence of sufficient levels of the various component presences composed of social presence, cognitive presence, and teaching presence.

Anderson et al.  (2001) defined social presence as the extent to which a learner’s true self is projected and perceived in an online course. It is composed of three subfactors: affective expressions, open communication, and group cohesion. Cognitive presence is defined as the extent to which learners can construct and confirm meaning through collaboration and reflection in a learning community. It consists of four subfactors: triggering event, exploration, integration, and resolution. Teaching presence is defined as the design, facilitation, and direction of cognitive and social processes to realize personally meaningful and educationally worthwhile learning outcomes. It is made of three subfactors: design and organization, facilitation of discourse, and direct instruction.

This discovery session, guided by the community of inquiry framework, will share how we re-designed the training program and engaged faculty in online learning to construct their knowledge about blended learning through social presence, teaching presence, and cognitive presence in the training course.

Session goals:
Participants will have a chance to see how the faculty training program on blended learning is designed using the community of inquiry framework. After the session, participants will have a better understanding of the COI framework and learn to apply it in online course design. They can also take away practical ideas and digital tools to apply in their own online courses or training programs.

Level of Participation

In addition to a presentation with visuals and examples, the presenters will provide an opportunity for all participants to ask questions and share ideas and resources related to the presentation topic. A free online resource will be provided for all participants to explore and implement in their own online courses or training programs.



Anderson, T., Rourke, L., Garrison, D. R., & Archer, W. (2001). Assessing teaching presence in a computer conferencing context. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 5(2), 1-17.

Garrison, D. R. (2016). Thinking collaboratively. Routledge.

Garrison, D. R. (2017). E-learning in the 21st century: A Community of Inquiry framework for research and practice. Routledge.

Garrison, D. R., Anderson, T., & Archer, W. (2000). Critical inquiry in a text-based environment: Computer conferencing in higher education. The Internet and Higher Education, 2(2), 87-105.

Garrison, D. R., & Kanuka, H. (2004). Blended learning: Uncovering its transformative potential in higher education. The Internet and Higher Education, 7(2), 95-105.

Halverson, L. R., Graham, C. R., Spring, K.J., Drysdale, J. S., & Henrie, C. R. (2014). A thematic analysis of the most highly cited scholarship in the first decade of blended learning research. The Internet and Higher Education, 20 (1), 20-34. 

Korr, J., Derwin, E. B., Greene, K. & Sokoloff, W. (2012). Transitioning an adult-serving university to a blended learning model. The Journal of Continuing Higher Education, 60(1), 2-11.

Owens, T. (2012). Hitting the nail on the head: The importance of specific staff development for effective blended learning. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 49(4), 389-400.