Community of Inquiry – I completed a Bibliography assignment on this topic. I found the sources to be quite interesting. I think it addresses a great learning style to engage students in learning, rather than pushing a textbook at them to read and self-assess. I remember being very good at school, it just came easy to me, but I don’t recall much discussion in class as far as putting deep thought into concepts. The teacher presented a topic for the day, or a chapter from the book, it was reviewed, homework as assigned, and later in the week or month, a test was given. Of all the concepts learned in school, I only remember the ones that I actively utilize today, such as English skills and Math skills. Of course there are some basic ideas about science that I have committed to general knowledge (i.e. photosynthesis), but without the ongoing discussion and utilization of topics, the learning about them ceases in my opinion.
I think for students at the graduate level, who are supposed to learn useful skills that can be translated in the workplace and turned into promotions and higher salaries, I would love to see more discussion and “community of inquiry” style teaching. In her article about a children’s program, Sally Hagaman quotes Lipman saying, “The structured collaboration of the community of inquiry is an attempt to avoid the didactic approach which, regrettably, constitutes much of what goes on in the name of education” (1990). I do think that many online programs are attempting to do this via the classroom discussions, where students and instructor are supposed to engage with each other in significant discussions about course topics. It’s a little harder, as we can’t speak to each other and hear voices, but the idea is certainly there. I think as technology improves and online programs incorporate more technology, synchronous technology that can create more of a community of inquiry will begin to be utilized.
Hagaman, S. (1990). The community of inquiry: An approach to collaborative learning. Studies in Art Education, (3), 149. doi:10.2307/1320762