Learning community

Week 2 – Community of Inquiry

By | IFN614, Learning community | No Comments

The Community of Inquiry (CoI) model sets out how social, teaching and cognitive elements are interconnected to provide an optimised educational experience. You can find a summary on Wikipedia:

I believe I have seen a great example of a CoI framework being utilised by the QUT IT Club communication channels. In the past when running the IT Club it was paramount to attempt to engage members through different communication channels. Whether they be email, Twitter, Facebook or live events. Through the couple of Facebook groups, I administered it was clear that many users found the channels as an invaluable source for different IT related issues. Members would post questions that sometimes were quite complex. In most cases a number of individuals would engage in helping find a solution for a particular problem. In IT sometimes there isn’t one correct answer so this engagement allowed cognitive thinking by all members reading posts to consider options.

To summarise CoI at the QUT IT Club:

  • The Facebook groups were the social element.
  • The expert members acted as teaching presence.
  • The experts along with other members who participated in solving different problems enabled cognitive thinking for all members.

The best community members are ones that engage with the entire network and do not focus in on specific topics that may be irrelevant or that the majority of the community has no knowledge about. For example, posting beauty advise in an IT forum is irrelevant and although might engage a couple of individuals as a whole it distracts from the core theme of the community. Furthermore, the more off topic discussions that are started and engaged causes community members to stop participating or returning. Therefore it is essential to maintain focus to allow cognitive thinking on the topic that most members are in the community for. When running the IT Club I found it essential to continue regular engagement when the rest of the community was relatively quiet.

In terms of Twitter I have used it extensively for my businesses and websites. I find it a great marketing tool for engaging certain types of individuals. Twitter users fall into a very specific category and as such I don’t think attempting to engage all students through Twitter is an effective avenue. The reason being that if you don’t use it on a personal level it is a hard tool to perceive value in gaining knowledge. On the other hand, as with my own personal experience if you see it as a marketing tool you may find it even more irrelevant for the purpose of academic engagement. Nevertheless, like with any popular forms of communication it is practical to understand and learn how to use Twitter in an effective way.