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Universal Design for Learning
Curriculum Considerations

Action & Expression and the Community of Inquiry Model

Similar to the three principles of UDL, the three presences of the Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework intersect and overlap. All three presences capture aspects of the Multiple Means of Action and Expression principle, particularly where social presence and cognitive presence overlap, “creating conditions to collaboratively achieve worthwhile educational goals” (Garrison, 2007; Anderson et al., 2001). In particular, where action and expression map to the Col model, learners can express their lived experiencesOpens in a new window authentically, enriching the learning experience for everyone in the learning community. In the Venn diagram below, you’ll see the Community of Practice model with teaching and learning activities in each presence that relate to action and expression.

Three overlapping circles form a Venn diagram. Each circle is a different colour. Where two circles overlap, the shading is darker. Where all three circles overlap is white with the words “Educational Experience” at the centre. The top left circle is labeled “Social Presence.” Underneath this label are the words: “Collaborative Practice and Assignments.” The top right circle is labeled “Cognitive Presence.” Underneath this label are the words: “Apply New Ideas and Confirm Understanding.” The third circle at the bottom, centred, is labeled “Teaching Presence.” Underneath this label are the words: “Facilitating Practice/Discussion Assignments.” Under this activity, written in a curve that follows the base of the circle is the label “Setting Curriculum (UDL Design).” Where Social Presence and Cognitive Presence overlap at the top centre is the label “Supporting discourse.” Where Cognitive Presence and Teaching Presence overlap is the label “Selecting content.” And where Teaching Presence and Social Presence overlap is the label “Setting climate.”

If we revisit the CoI model through the lens of Multiple Means of Action and Expression and anti-oppressive educational frameworks, we can use the areas of the Venn diagram to design guiding questions for our reflective practice:

Social Presence

  • Are there multiple opportunities for students to express themselves openly and collaboratively?
  • Are guidelines or norms established by the community to guide collaboration? Are these regularly revisited and revised?
  • Are there different modalities for students to use to express their ideas (verbal, text, video, etc.)?

Cognitive Presence

  • Are students supported to check their understanding in different ways (self-check, peer-check, teacher-student conference)?
  • Are students invited to apply their learning in meaningful contexts that connect to learning goals (their own and for the course)?

Teaching Presence

Next sectionP.O.P. Revisited