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The Oregon Health and Science University School of Nursing identified a current trend in higher education, and in nursing programs at OHSU specifically: pressure to provide high quality online and hybrid programs and courses to students in our graduate and undergraduate programs.  Twenty-seven percent of Masters Programs in US schools of nursing offer courses online (Brooks & Morse, 2015) as do the majority of RN-BS programs. Further, a growing number of RN to MSN programs are also finding new homes online (AACN, 2015). These numbers are increasing based in part on the call from the IOM (2011) to increase BSN prepared nurses and to practice at the full extent of their license. Despite this growing demand and need for online programs that allow current RNs to further their education (undergraduate and graduate), faculty development in this rapidly expanding teaching modality is often limited. Faculty teaching in these online and hybrid courses need training in designing and delivering effective high quality online learning environments (Lloyd, Byrne, & McCoy, 2012).

A faculty development initiative to obtain expert training and consultation for faculty development in a well-researched framework called Community of Inquiry (CoI) ensued.  The framework is aimed at improving collaborative learning and teaching in blended and online courses. The SoN Distance Education Work Group developed recommandations related to faculty development in online pedagogies and specifically the CoIframework: 1) Incorporate the CoI model as a framework for faculty development initiatives and 2) provide faculty with ongoing training and/or education in emerging technologies and teaching strategies to support them in meeting school-established standards for course development and delivery in hybrid and/or online courses.

A workshop, with a main objective to engage OHSU undergraduate and graduate faculty in a two day training and development experience focused on the components of CoI, occurred January 5th and 6th, 2017. This workshop provided opportunities for faculty from multiple campuses and programs to apply CoI strategies in their own courses and classrooms. Workshop feedback was very positive with valuable recommendations for continuing the SON’s engagement with CoI strategies. Faculty who attended the workshop formed a steering committee with the goals to develop systematic communication processes and ongoing integration of CoI across our 6 campuses. Follow-up discussions on CoI theory and research occurred via Adobe Connect in June. Ongoing discussion in online forums are now being implemented by the steering committee members, with plans to expand access to all SON faculty.

As a result of this activity, it was agreed that an Instructor Version of the CoI measurement instrument, used as a training exercise in this workshop, would be tested in the School of Nursing at OHSU in the Fall of 2017. This version of the CoI will be validated with data from this sample and two other data collection venues also engaged in workshops with M. Cleveland-Innes: Mid-Sweden University and the Open University of China. For further information, contact:

Annette Garner

Michelle Hall

Tatum Korin

Glenis McKenzie

Annette Garner · 6 years ago
It' been so much fun working on this project. I so appreciate Marti's support and guidance. Here openness and sense of humor invite true collegial exchange of ideas. And I've keep learning and exploring my expression of CoI in courses, as well as returning to the framework to help me guide learning activity design/redesign.

Our group is clicking and I feel energized by the on-going conversations and unfolding opportunities to contribute to scholarship.

Martha Cleveland-Innes
Professor, Open, Digital, and Distance Education, Athabasca University
Dr. Martha Cleveland-Innes is Professor of Open, Digital, and Distance Education at Athabasca University. She is the Editor-in-Chief of the bilingual Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology and the author of The Guide to Blended Learning. Martha is instructor, co-designer, and researcher for the open online courses Blended Learning Practice. and Leading Change for Teaching and Learning in a Digital World. The 2nd edition of Introduction to Distance Education: Teaching and Learning in a New Era, which she co-edited, was released by Taylor & Francis in 2021. This same publisher will release The Design of Digital Learning Environments: Online and Blended Applications of the Community of Inquiry, co-edited by Martha, in late 2023. She has held major research grants supporting research on the digital technology-enabled student experience. In 2019 Martha received an Honorary Doctorate from Mid-Sweden University and the Leadership Award from the Canadian Network for Innovation in Education. Her research interest areas include 1) online and blended learning, 2) communities of inquiry, 3) higher education reform and lifelong learning, and 4) leadership in digital education. Martha is currently a member of the Advisory Group for Digital Literacy with the B.C. Ministry of Advanced Education, Visiting Professor of Pedagogy at Mid-Sweden University and former Virtual Educator in Residence, National University of Singapore.



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The project (March-December 2018) analyzed the educational practices in 25 courses delivered at UNED (Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia), Spain, using the"Community of Inquiry" (CoI) framework. The aim was to set recommendations based on the ...

Recent learning development activities
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iMOOCs and Learning to Learn Online
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Athabasca University is known for its leadership and innovation in distance education. The emergence of MOOCs was of both interest and concern;
The Community of Inquiry is a project of Athabasca University, Mount Royal University, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, and the Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology, as well as researchers and members of the CoI community.