Communities of Practice (COP) in education are groups of educators who share a common interest, usually in regards to teaching or a passion for something within the education field. A community of practice requires a social presence to connect educators, cognitive understanding of the groups overall purpose, and educator presence in regards to those willing to lead the community. I share these three focuses because there are a lot of similarites in a COP as in a Community of Inquiry (CoI). In a CoI, when students social-emotional wellbeing is addressed in a respectful manner, students are able to engage in cognitive learning. In addition, in a CoI, educators need to be present and focused on building group cohesion (Garrison, 2007).
In my self-paced course, Integrating EdTech in the K-12 Classroom, social, cognitive, and teaching presence are necessary for students to be successful. Students will be given voice and choice in their responses and assignments. This is important for students to understand that they the owner of their learning, and that the assignments are focused on learner outcomes over specific tools. Meeting students social and emotional demands throughout the course ensures that learners are ready to take on the cognitive demands of a lesson redesign. For the summative assessment in my self-paced course, learners are asked to justify and clarify why they redesigned their lesson the way they did. This requires higher order Bloom’s DOK and higher cognitive demands. With the presence of both social learning and cognitive learning in an online CoI, that is not enough to ensure adequate learning is taking place.
The most challenging component that is necessary for an online CoI is teacher presence. While the educator is not physically with the students, sending video messages, genuine and specific feedback, and regular communication is key to building a teacher presence in an online environment. Bringing social, cognitive, and teaching presence into the online classroom and CoI is imperative to student learning.