Course:OL Delivery:OTL101

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This course explores cognitive presence in a community of inquiry in relation the idea of promoting deeper approaches to learning. Participants will have opportunities to develop strategies for providing meaningful feedback in alignment with stated intended learning outcomes to promote deeper approaches to learning.


  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 to OTL101, 'Encouraging Deeper Approaches to Learning'. We trust that this will be an enriching and challenging course for you that will help you to understand more deeply how you can encourage 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 venerable 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.

This course is structured differently from what you may be accustomed to in that it is built using WordPress rather than a learning management system like Blackboard Learn or Moodle. The reason for this is to allow for a wider reach and greater possibility for community engagement after the course has completed. 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 as you, you will create and control your own space which can be as open or closed as you want it to be. Certainly, we will encourage you to make your thoughts as open and as public as you are willing which will enable you to gather an audience that is potentially as large as the Internet.

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.