Online Cognitive Presence

Cognitive presence is a component of the Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework for teaching effective, engaging courses. Other components of CoI include teaching presence and social presence. Cognitive presence is the academic content and engaging of the mind in the online environment.

20 Ways to Create Cognitive Presence Online

  1. Start with the end in mind. Clearly communicate to students what they will learn in class.
  2. Provide a variety of assignments that students can pick and choose from to demonstrate learning.
  3. Provide a variety of different types of content and assignments: video, writing, audio, reflection, team-based work, readings, games, etc.
  4. Provide many low-stakes formative assessment opportunities.
  5. Encourage reflection.
  6. Design discussion prompts and dive deep into engaged discussions.
  7. Use roleplaying activities to illustrate multiple points.
  8. Have students lead discussions.
  9. Develop group work where students work as teams.
  10. Provide peer-review opportunities with clear rubrics for assessment.
  11. Connect current learning content to previous content/learning.
  12. Have students reflect on what they are learning now and how they will use this knowledge in the future.
  13. Encourage multiple perspectives and dialogue to understand those perspectives.
  14. Model and support diverse points of view in online discussions.
  15. Provide opportunities for group brainstorming, such as designing concept maps together.
  16. Provide opportunities for insight on how others are thinking through tools such as polling, breakout rooms, or team assignments.
  17. Develop grading rubrics that clearly indicate the quality of different answers and the corresponding scoring.
  18. Post examples of completed assignments.
  19. Have students create or find relevant materials and post them to the class as resources.
  20. Provide frequent opportunities for feedback and testing.


This information was compiled by Online Learning's Kristin Palmer and can be accessed in the below document.

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