Dr. Phil Ice talks about the Community of Inquiry

In this interview of Dr. Phil Ice, we talk about what drew him into researching the Community of Inquiry in the first place.  He explains how retention is tied back to social presence in online learning and explains how important teaching presence (or instructor presence) is at the start of a course.  He discusses how important teaching presence is at the beginning of a course to set the tone (forming and norming) before the social presence really takes hold and how cognitive presence really appears near the end of a course.

I took the liberty to try to draw how Dr. Ice explained that this evolves in a course.

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(Disclaimer: NOT SCIENTIFIC – just making meaning from a conversation)

We also chatted about the use of asynchronous audio feedback and how that was valued by students in some of his research from 8 years ago.  Students found that audio feedback was helpful in understanding nuances and decreased social distance. From the instructors’ perspective using audio feedback reduced time by 75% and it improved the quality of feedback by 255%. This technique also increased retention and helped facilitate deeper learning on content.

We also talked a bit about his work with Cleveland-Innes regarding “Emotional Presence” and the work of Peter Shea regarding “Learning Presence” and how the two overlap but are needed to define what happens inside the learner.  You can watch the full interview below:

I asked Dr. Ice for three ideas that online instructors could implement right away to improve instructor presence and social presence and he shared the following:

1. The student experience can be mind numbing… use Humor to connect with learners (if you are humorous – don’t force it).

2. Don’t underestimate the power of STORYTELLING.  Be a great storyteller to contextualize the content and establish instructor presence.

3. Be sure that the students are connecting across the course.  Mix them up as best you can so that they have the opportunity to meet and work with everyone.



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