What does your syllabus say about your online course? I just completed a research project developing a rubric to identify the potential for a community of inquiry in online college courses. Then I used the rubric to review 23 online course syllabi from my university’s College of Education. I found a high amount of cognitive presence in the instructional activities and extensive and varied learner support. Overall, the syllabi met, or exceeded, a moderate level of planned activities to engender a community of inquiry in their online courses. As you may surmise, the online course syllabi were very detailed. I did not review the actual courses, only the syllabi.
Here are the examples of cognitive online activities used in the undergraduate and graduate level courses: developing questionnaires, peer review of papers, pre- and post-assessments, analysis of case studies, critically review an article, development of a personal instructional design model, student-created multiple-choice questions, hyper inquiry team project, academic controversy assignment, instructional design project, peer evaluations of project, simulation project, develop a creativity workshop, developing an online course, developing course evaluations, creating a welcome video, creating an academic contract, creating a course checklist, writing a literature review, completing CITI module, evaluating a program, completing a meta-evaluation of a program evaluation, develop an autobiography, conduct child observations, weekly self-evaluation of own learning, create a professional development plan, essay exams, develop a book trailer, develop a podcast, develop lesson plans, develop a how-to video, write a blog, develop a personal learning network, develop a digital story, develop a wiki, curate digital books and other electronic resources, and participate in monitored teacher education field experience.
I plan to submit my paper to an upcoming conference and try to publish the findings. My report is 34 pages long, so I’ll share the highlights in a few more blog posts.