Course:OL Delivery:OTL101

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THINK: Setting the Stage for Learning


In today's world, new and different skills and abilities are required. In our role as educators, promoting and enhancing critical thinking skills in our learner's is paramount. This course sets the stage for your online classroom will provide you with the tools to develop those critical thinking skills and create opportunities for deeper learning among the participants. Over a period of 4 weeks you will create, implement, and evaluate strategies for providing meaningful feedback in alignment with stated intended learning outcomes . You will acquire and develop the skills and knowledge to support a meaningful student experience through the creation of quality assessments and feedback in order to set the foundation for those increasingly important critical thinking


  1. analyze the characteristics of ‘cognitive presence’ in an effective online learning environment
  2. explain the importance of deep approaches to learning in relation to assessment, feedback and student attainment of learning outcomes.
  3. evaluate the quality of the feedback that they provide for students in light of relevant evidence-based research (SOLO Taxomony and Hattie & Timperley.
  4. analyze learning activities and their effectiveness to promote deep approaches to learning
  5. provide high quality feedback using appropriate tools to promote deep approaches to learning.
  6. create an environment that supports and enhances deeper approaches to learning in your courses
  7. monitor your progress towards achieving your goals resulting in an improved and enhanced cognitive presence in your courses.

Module 1


Hello and welcome toTHINK - Setting the Stage for Learning. We trust that this will be an enriching and challenging course on your professional development journey. Our goal is to provide you with the tools, knowledge and confidence in order to provide deep, meaningful learning experiences for your students. This course is one of three courses offered by Thompson Rivers University Open Learning's Program Delivery department and is based on the Community of Inquiry (CoI) model of teaching and learning described by Randy Garrison, Terry Anderson and Walter Archer in their article Critical Inquiry in a Text-Based Environment: Computer Conferencing in Higher Education.

Using Wordpress as a platform for the course allows for a wider reach and greater possibility of community engagement after you have completed the course. Instead of logging into a 'secure', protected course space where your only audience is the instructor and a few others who may be taking the course at the same time, you will create and control your own space which can be as open or closed as you want it to be. By "opening" your thoughts to as wide an audience as you feel comfortable, you have unlimited potential to build and share best practices with others. Don't worry about wanting to be more private in your thoughts as you will have the virtual key!

Need to put in something about the role of a blog in this environment.

To complete this course, you will be given your own blog hosted at Thompson Rivers University. You may, if you choose, download your content from that blog and upload it to your own WordPress site,, or another blog service. If you would like to use a blog that you already maintain, please contact your instructor to provide the link.

Customizing Your Blog

You will want to learn how to use the "Dashboard" interface of your blog to manage your blog's appearance, write and edit posts or pages, and manage comments and plugins. The video below presents a basic introduction to the WordPress dashboard.

For greater depth you may want to read First Steps with WordPress from This will provide detailed instructions with screenshots for many of the settings and processes you will handle during this course.

Categories and Tags

Your blog can group posts using categories that you can assign as you write them or by editing them. Your blog also allows you to assign tags to your posts that help to describe their content. As part of your work in this course, you will need to set up categories that will match the categories in other student blogs and on the course blog. You will also need to give specific tags to some posts to allow them to be collected for display with others from the class.

Writing and Commenting

Feel free to write on topics that interest you, in addition to any posts and pages produced for the course. Course-related posts will be aggregated on the course blog and can also be aggregated on your blog by using an RSS widget that will be provided in the first weeks of the course. Do take the time to visit other student blogs to comment on their individual posts or to respond to the posts of other students.