Appendix 1: Annotated Bibliography

Anderson, T. (2017). How Communities of Inquiry Drive Teaching and Learning in the Digital Age. Tools and Trends. Contact North | Contact Nord Online Learning. Retrieved from

FLO facilitators reflect many of the facilitation techniques described in the well-researched Community of Inquiry model. The important elements of 18 years of research are reported by the original proponent of the model, Professor Terry Anderson.

The concept of “teaching and social presences” and the acknowledgement of the more active role of learners online has been documented and analyzed in a wide range of academic environments. FLO facilitators are constantly adapted their facilitation practices to engage learners in a more active and participatory online learning environment.

Bates, A.W. (2015). Teaching in a Digital Age: Guidelines for Designing teaching and learning. Victoria, BC:  BCcampus. Retrieved from

Professor Bates modeled open and participatory practices in the writing of this open textbook, releasing sections through his website and inviting world-wide input. The final book has numerous chapters that have informed practices and understanding about online learning for many FLO course participants.

Brown, S.E., Karle, S.T., & Kelly, B. (2015). An Evaluation of Applying Blended Practices to Employ Studio-Based Learning in a Large-Enrollment Design Thinking Course. Contemporary Educational Technology, Vol.6 No.4., 260-280. Retrieved from

A very ambitious use of studio-based learning scaled for a large enrollment course and for students from various subject disciplines. The authors reported significant changes in learning using a collaborative studio model supported by technology. Their findings and the positive feedback from many participants in FLO Design support the use of the studio model in online environments to create a creative, collaborative, “hands-on” learning experience.

Gómez-Rey, P., Barbera, E., & Fernández-Navarro, F. (2018). Students’ perceptions about online teaching effectiveness: A bottom-up approach for identifying online instructors’ roles. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 34(1), 116-130.

A recent research report about the roles of online instructors and the perception of the effectiveness of each role from students’ perspectives.

Although their role-based models do not directly coincide with FLO facilitator skills categories, the individual skills they identified after applying a factor analysis reflected many similar skills (e.g., comprehensive, useful course materials, effective online facilitation strategies, course design, social or community-building skills, promoting student success or life skills.)

Hew, K.F. (2015). Student perceptions of peer versus instructor facilitation of asynchronous online discussions: further findings from three cases. Instructional Science, Vol.43, Issue 1, 19-38.

Cross-comparison of the three cases revealed the following reasons why instructor facilitation is preferred:

    • to prevent the discussion from going off track;
    • to resolve conflicts in the discussion;
    • to provide information particularly when the topic of discussion is new; and
    • to motivate the discussion when students’ participation wanes.On the other hand, peer facilitation is preferred:
    • when the participants desire greater freedom in voicing their own views;
    • when the participants want ownership in determining the direction of the discussion; and,
    • when the participants want actual hands-on-facilitation-experience.

Hrastinski, S. (2008, November 17). Asynchronous and synchronous e-learning. Retrieved from

In this article the author defines asynchronous and synchronous e-learning, and overviews types of communication that are important for building and sustaining e-learning communities. He discusses benefits and limitations of both asynchronous and synchronous online learning (based on research completed for a PhD dissertation) and “when, why and how” to use asynchronous vs. synchronous e-learning.

Kauffman, H. (2015). A review of predictive factors in student success in and satisfaction with online learning [PDF]. Research in Learning Technology, Vol. 23. Retrieved from

Learners were pleased with online courses that were:

  • structured (Ke and Xie 2009; Song et al. 2004);
  • interactive, that is, constructivist instructional design (Aragon, Johnson, and Shaik 2002;
  • Ke and Xie, 2009; Muilenberg and Berge 2005; Ruey 2010),
  • relevant, that is, application based with practical significance (Park and Choi 2009; Ruey 2010), and,
  • instructor-facilitated in terms of interactions/feedback (Eom, Wen, and Ashill 2006; Muilenberg and Berge 2005; Ruey 2010; Song et al. 2004).

All these factors come down to instructional and course design. Instructors need to align instructional methods, activities and assessment methods with learning objectives (Blumberg 2009). Instructors should provide timely feedback and facilitate discussion and interaction, as they do in traditional courses. Courses should provide opportunities for peer collaboration and sharing of ideas to develop an online community of learners.

Martin, F., & Parker, M. (2014). Use of synchronous virtual classrooms: Why, who and how? [PDF] MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching. Vol. 10 (No. 2). Retrieved from

This article discusses research undertaken on synchronous virtual classrooms, why instructors adopt them and how they use them after their adoption. Organizations interested in offering FLO Synchronous may wish to read this article to learn about organizational, technological, social and personal factors that influence adoption and use of virtual classrooms.

Mor, Y., & Mogilevsky, O. (2013). The learning design studio: collaborative design inquiry as teachers’ professional development, Research in Learning Technology, Vol. 21.

This article explores the integration of the studio-based learning approach to teacher development as a way to foster inquiry learning. The FLO Design course used a similar collaborative inquiry-focused, studio-based approach to encourage participants to explore different ways of designing effective online learning.

Pratt, D. (1998). Five Perspectives on Teaching in Adult and Higher Education. Malabar FL: Krieger Publishing Company.

FLO courses encourage self-reflection and awareness of perspectives and beliefs about teaching and learning. FLO Fundamentals often includes a teaching perspectives framework (available online at that encourages participants to self-assess and recognize the range of perspectives (and how they can change through learning and experience).

Richardson, J.C. et al. (2015). Conceptualizing and investigating instructor presence in online learning environments. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, Vol. 16, No. 3., Retrieved from

This article used the Community of Inquiry model’s identification of social and teaching presences in online learning and reviewed the ways in which 12 online instructors manifested these “presences.”  They identified different strategies instructors used and derived a series of roles that are considered (and tested) in FLO courses:

Advocating:  instructor encourages learners to take ownership and have confidence to participate in course activities and learning.

Facilitating:  instructor prompts, invites discussion (often by using questions) and may guide conversations to consider specific topics. Provides summaries.

Sensemaking:  scaffolds students by clarifying points, providing resources and examples, demonstrating, and sharing both formative and summative feedback.

Organizing:  instructor provides structure, assists with scheduling, using time well, etc.

Maintaining:  maintains course flow through various administrative actions and technological assistance.

Scott, C.L. (2015) THE FUTURES of LEARNING 3: What kind of pedagogies for the 21st century? [PDF]  UNESCO Education Research and Foresight, Paris. [ERF Working Papers Series, No. 15]. Retrieved from

This UNESCO working paper is based on a comprehensive, international perspective on education. Most of the pedagogical changes identified in the section “Overall Vision of Twenty-First Century Pedagogy” are reflected in the practices and activities used throughout the FLO family of courses (for example: encourage collaboration and communication, foster participation, personalize and customize learning, etc.).

Sun, A., & Chen, X. (2016). Online education and its effective practice: A research review. Journal of Information Technology Education Research, 15, 157-190. Retrieved from

An important role of FLO facilitators is to build and sustain a sense of community in each course. The authors of this 2016 study reviewed 47 published studies and research on online teaching and learning since 2008 and concluded that effective online instruction depends on three major factors – one of which is the creation of a sense of online learning community.

Vaughan, N.D., Cleveland-Innes, M., & Garrison, D.R.. (2013). Chapter 3: Facilitation, Teaching in Blended Learning Environments: Creating and Sustaining Communities of Inquiry, 45-62. Retrieved from

A strong reinforcement, from four leading educational researchers, of the importance of the instructor or facilitator’s role in the facilitation of learning – both in virtual and face-to-face classes, and within the more complex blending learning options. The facilitator presence we emphasize in FLO courses is examined in terms of how it affects the cognitive and social processes in learning communities that support individually meaningful and educationally recognized learning.

Wiggins, G. & McTighe, J. (2007). Schooling by Design. Alexandria, Virginia: Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development (ASCD). Retrieved from

An interesting perspective (and early recognition) of the changing roles of teachers. Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe are well-known authors, researchers and instructors. Their 2007 book differentiated the roles of teachers into direct instruction, facilitation of understanding, and coaching of performance. They defined a type of facilitative teaching that seems directly relevant to what is modeled within FLO courses:

“…help students construct meaning and come to an understanding of important ideas and processes….guide student inquiries into complex problems, texts, cases, projects or situations…principle methods are questioning, probing, and process-related commentary…” (excerpt from Chapter 5)

Yamagata-Lynch, L.C. (2014). Blending Online Asynchronous and Synchronous Learning, The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, Vol.15, No.2. Retrieved from

Describes why you might choose asynchronous over synchronous (or vice versa) and how communication strategies can be chosen such that one supports/complements the other.

The author discusses how learning can be facilitated via a spectrum of response times.


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FLO Facilitation Guide Copyright © 2019 by Sylvia Currie; Sylvia Riessner; Gina Bennett; and Beth Cougler Blom is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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