From Garrison, Anderson and Archer, attributed at head of post

So, these are the three types of presence Kop indcates as essential to the connectivist MOOC experience. Cognitive, Social and Teaching.

The Cognitive Presence seems to describe the Cognitive journey of the student (and there seems to be a social aspect to this, as it is a community of enquiry…), the social presence seems to indicate the joureny in, and towards community, and the teaching presence seems to loan itself toi scaffolding, instructionism, or an MKO of some description.

“The element in this model that is most basic to success in higher education is cognitive presence. This term here is taken to mean the extent to which the participants in any particular configuration of a community of inquiry are able to construct meaning through sustained communication.”

The connectivist, Community of Practice and social constructivist aspect here is clear. It is constucted meaning amidst a social network, and, unlike Siemens, admits of, and interweaves social constructivism and a cognitivist aspect to it’s netwoprked learning.

“social presence, is defined as the ability of participants in the Community of Inquiry to project their personal characteristics into the community, thereby presenting themselves to the other participants as “real people.””

Anecdoitally, or judging from my pown experience, it seems a clear, obnviopus and intuitive aspect to online communication that the experience of oneself and others as real, and projected in the environment is key. It;s interesting that Siemens doesn;t really delve into the trust, presence, or personality aspects of community in his networked elarning model.

Social Presence is cosidered primarily as a support to sognitive presence, insofar as it suppoorts a community of inquiry and it;s meaning creation, buit also affectively, where the enjoyment and sense of fulfillment from engage,ment is useful, an aim, or key.

Of the teaching presence,m they say it is likely to be a role fulfilled by a teacher in an institutional setting, but may be fulfilled by anyone in the community of inquiry. So, a broker, an MKO, a team member or blog commenter, a weak link or strong link, a random poster, or anyone else. This seems a definition with some of the flexibiloity Siemens calls for, but also one with more acceptance of likely institutional roles.

The first of these functions is the design of the educational experience. This includes the selection, organization, and primary presentation of course content, as well as the design and development of learning activities and assessment. A teacher or instructor typically performs this function.”

In a cMOOC, this m ight invol;ve choice of seminar materials, and/or speakers, choice of digital literacy supports, tasks and posts, fora and media,  suggestions about explicit pedagogical statements (how the mooc works, what it means to connect), visible learning/eportfolio suggestions, and indirect design aspects – highlighting comments, posts, artefacts, resources etc

The second function, facilitation, is a responsibility that may be shared among the teacher and some or all of the other participants or students. This sharing of the facilitation function is appropriate in higher education and common in computer conferencing. In either case, the element of teaching presence is a means to an endÐto support and enhance social and cognitive presence for the purpose of realizing educational outcomes.”

Here, it seems, is a clear and definite description of the social aspect of cMOOCery. The social context, netwoprk and connections are designed by both facilitators and participmnats (some participants will be native to this experience, and may act as broikers or MKO’s for others, some will be aware of, but not practicsing, some will be novices).

One such advantage is that text-based communication provides time for reflection.

For this reason, written communication may actually be preferable to oral communication when the objective is higher-order cognitive learning. Some of the literature does, in fact, suggest that written communication is very closely connected with careful and critical thinking (Applebee, 1984; Fulwiler, 1987; White, 1993). These authors suggest that it is the reflective and explicit nature of the written word that encourages discipline and rigor in our thinking and communicating.”

Laurillard also touches on this in her conversational framweork – the reflective opportunities that are present in asynchronous media. As aprt of the teaching presence aspect, Alec Couros et al in #etmooc designed in the idea of making your learning visible – an aspect of reflective practice as an explicit, and, in part, mandated practice – all participants in registration had to inculde a blog address, and there werre posts, seminars, tweets and videos on making your learning visible.

This was one of the earliest clear design aspects that was made explicitly transparent, and was placed at an early piut in the curriculum – this is paperworthy, and a design point to include and expand on.

More specifically, Lipman (1991) notes the

importance of community in higher-order thinking. He sees a community of inquiry as a valuable, if not necessary, context for an educational experience if critical thinking is to be facilitated and deep learning is to be an outcome. Lipman describes the characteristics of a community of inquiry in terms of questioning, reasoning, connecting, deliberating, challenging, and developing problem-solving techniques. Consistent with this, Ramsden (1988) argues that the opportunity to negotiate meaning, diagnose misconceptions, and challenge accepted beliefs, as in the community of inquiry described by Lipman, is essential for deep and meaningful educational experiences.”

Is this an idealised description? It is, I think, an accurate description of what an ideal community would interact like, but is it a description that models online communities, MOOC coimmunities and communities of formal and informal learners? Doubtless, all communities have knowledge oriented critical thinkers with good communication skills and community profiles, but these fora also have biases, blindnesses, loyalties, and communal identifiers, theoretical and ideological tags and lapses in critical thinking.

hat is, most technologies, if skillfully employed, are sufficiently robust to meet a wide range of educational needs and achieve a wide variety of desirable outcomes. However, it is also true that collaboration depends not only upon the skill of the user but also upon the tools used, and that technology “inevitably shapes the way people relate to each other” (Schrage, 1995, p. 137). It may be that different media have different potentials to address cognitive, social and teaching presence.”

So, what we have is a sophisticated attempt to moedl the interaction of technology and the characterics of community learning experiences, nd how they affect each other. It’s the most sophisticated model I;ve yet read of how networked learning might look, dealing as it does with individsual ( the psyc=hological and sociological aspects, neither of which can be suborned to the other ala Dewey), the communal/social, the cognitivist and the instructional design aspects (in their widest sense – from instructuonst to MKO constructivist).

Many theories talk about how technology will shape this interaction, but few, in my limited experience, have looked at it with this type of complexity.

A weakness in the paper is how dated parts of it are. In talking about the difference between face to face ond asychronous computer conferencing interactions (itself a dated idea and nomenclature) they refernce papers form the late nineties, and ideas that students engage more carefully, with a worthier tone in online interactions, but are more divergently creatoive in face to face meetings. Needless to say, twitter, social media, video conferencing, and the immediate ability to share may have hjad a huge impact on this. Students may still be engaging in more worthy, careful, and considered manners in blog posts 9though they may not) but Facebook, Twitter, and messaging interactions may be as casual and divergent as face to face interactions.


, we do not believe that the effect of media per se is the most salient factor in determining the degree of social presence that participants develop and share through the mediated discourse. Rather,


the communication context created through familiarity, skills, motivation, organizational commitment, activities, and length of time in using the media directly influence the social presence that develops.”

Thi9s is extremely interesing. Once again, there is a degree to which this is dated, but the theme of tool familiarity/unfamiliarity seems interesting, and is mirrored in participoant complaints, queries and suggestions.


We argue that cognitive presence, as defined and described in the previous section, is

more easily sustained when a significant degree of social presence has been established

(Garrison, 1997; Gunawardena, 1995). That is, socio-emotional interaction and support are important and sometimes essential in realizing meaningful and worthwhile educational outcomes. Social presence, in the form of socio-emotional communication, is possible in CMC, but not automatic. Walther (1992) suggests that CMC users adapt their linguistic and textual behaviors to the solicitation and presentation of socially revealing, relational behavior.”

They also mention the compensating strategies people develop to reduce misunderstanding in the absence of traditional cues. There’s much more to be covered here, and it’s a field that needs more in depth analysis.  And, again, it’s dated. Unfortunatley, these ideas, though interesting, are, to a degree, limnited in how we can assume they currently apply (apart perhaps from the investment aspect mentioned previously).


“Collaboration must draw learners into a shared experience for the purposes of constructing and confirming meaning. Realizing understanding and creating knowledge is a collaborative process.” This is located in a discourse regarding the community aspect of learning, and the essential aspect of social presnce on community of inquiry building.


“The educational process is largely concerned with being initiated, not only into the common body of knowledge (i.e., public knowledge), but also into the meta-cognitive processes and culture of a discipline or field of study.”

So, here, we have a Wengeresque description, knowledge building via collaboration is a function of, and creates community and community membership. Creating collaborations of knowledge building participants creates community feeling – it’s an expression of, and is  reated by, social presence. This is, once more, a significantly more sophisticated description of networked lkearning than iemen’S produces. 4

Social presence marks a qualitative difference between a collaborative community of

inquiry and a simple process of downloading information. The difference is the quality of

the message; in a true community of inquiry, the tone of the messages is questioning but

engaging, expressive but responsive, skeptical but respectful, and challenging but

supportive. In such a collaborative community of learners, social presence is enhanced.

When social presence is combined with appropriate teaching presence, the result can be a

high level of cognitive presence leading to fruitful critical inquiry.”


This is, once more, an idealised description, but a educational and enlightening one. It ties in social and collaborative learning with safe and supportive community buoilding, and the MKO aspects that extend and expand the learing horizons. It also opute=s me in mind of Laurillard again, arguing that the teacher as environment designer has a huge imoact on participans learning experiences, and a responsibility commensurate with that. – ”

The binding element in creating a community of inquiry for educational purposes is that

of teaching presence. Appropriate cognitive and social presence, and ultimately, the

establishment of a critical community of inquiry, is dependent upon the presence of a



With regard to student activity in a computer conference, Tagg and Dickenson (1995)

found that student activity is influenced by tutor behavior. More specifically, they

conclude that continual tutor presence, characterized by short messages acknowledging

a student’s contribution and followed by guidance, increases student activity.” again Bandura and Laurillard.

Due to the asynchronous nature of the medium, learners are provided time to reflect,

then contribute to the discussion after they have formulated their thoughts. If reflection is to

be encouraged and the strength of the medium utilized, then the amount of “content must be

limited if students are to have the time to critically analyze and construct deep meaning”

(Fabro & Garrison, 1998, p. 51)” This is interesting, especially in the context of participant bewilkderment in MOOCs, and, again, mirrors BANDURA AND THE THRESHOLD DEFAULT idea. Too much gognitive load, and, along with everything else, reflection suffers. Too little, and, presumably, the same is the case. So, how to design for that in a cMOOC coontext (is that possible, or, as in etmooc, is it a situation where learner independence in this regard – cvhoose your opwn apth, choose your participation, don;t do everything, don;t feel learners gyilt – is the only way…)

Therefore, discussion topics should last a week or two at

the most so as to avoid the build-up of large numbers of postings on the same topic.” sound advice.


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