Dr. Martha Cleveland-Innes
Professor & Program Director
- B.A. (Sociology)
- M.A. (Sociology of Adult Education)
- Ph.D. (Social Factors in Education)
Dr. Cleveland-Innes is Professor and Program Director at Athabasca University in Alberta, Canada. She studied the sociology of education at the University of Calgary where she developed her strong views on the importance of education in the development of citizenry and healthy societies. Her commitment to open, digital, and distance learning is rooted in this perspective; education must be accessible, affordable, inclusive, and of high quality for everyone, anywhere.
Evidence-based practice with sound theory is a main driver in Martha’s scholarly work. She is a principal researcher on the Community of Inquiry framework for online and blended learning (coi.athabascau.ca), which is designed to maximize deep learning and provide students with a learning experience that is developmental and sustainable. She is co-author of a book on the topic with Drs. N. Vaughan and D.R. Garrison: Teaching in Blended Learning Environments: Creating and Sustaining Communities of Inquiry (http://www.aupress.ca/index.php/books/120229). Martha held a major research grant from the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council which supported rigorous empirical tests on the value of this framework.
She is currently Program Director of the Master of Education, Open, Digital, and Distance Education at Athabasca University. In her twenty years as an academic at Athabasca University, Martha has been involved in numerous research projects on open and distance learning and has taught, supervised, and supported hundreds of graduate students working in the same area of education. She teaches Leadership in Education Innovation in the Doctorate of Education, Distance Education program. She is the author of The Guide to Blended Learning and instructor, co-designer, and researcher for the open online course Blended Learning Practice. The 2nd edition of Introduction to Distance Education: Teaching and Learning in a New Era, which she co-edited, has just been released by Taylor & Francis for 2021. She has held major research grants supporting research on the technology-enabled student experience. In 2019 Martha received an Honorary Doctorate from Mid-Sweden University and the Leadership Award from the Canadian Network for Innovation in Education. Her research interest areas include 1) online and blended learning 2) communities of inquiry 3) higher education reform and 4) leadership in education. Martha is currently Visiting Professor of Pedagogy at Mid-Sweden University.
Martha served as a facilitator of Athabasca University’s Advisory Group on MOOCs. She is the project lead on the development and delivery of AU’s MOOC Learning to Learn Online, currently in its third implementation (www.ltlo.ca). She is also the co-lead of a MOOC designed and delivered in partnership between AU and the Commonwealth of Learning: Technology-Enabled Learning and is the lead and the instructor of the Blended Learning Practice MOOC. All three MOOCs are designed using a scaled version of the Community of Inquiry framework for online learning and are the subject of extensive research. This research has been presented and published in North America and Europe.
Martha has received awards for her work on the student experience in online environments and has received multiple research grants to study open and distance learning. In 2011 she received the Craig Cunningham Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence and in 2009 she received the President’s Award for Research and Scholarly Excellence from Athabasca University. From 2012-2018 Martha was a Guest Professor at The Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden. Her work there was part of a campus redesign toward blended learning. With PhD student Stefan Stenbom, she participated in the development of a theoretical model called Relationships of Inquiry for open and distance learning and was the co-lead of a campus-wide project to integrate evidenced-based practice into the running of the institution called Practitioner-Research in Engineering Education.
In 2018, Martha was invited to Portland, Oregon to present a workshop on Collaborative Online Learning at the Oregon Health and Science University. She also offers a webinar in Scandinavia on Flexible Learning each year and returned to Beijing in September as an invited international scholar by Beijing Normal University. Together they perform research on the Community of Inquiry with teachers at the Open University of China. She currently holds a major research grant through the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council to study the development of professional identity through online learning communities.
Active research projects and grants include:
- Honorary Doctorate with Guest Professorship (2019-present)
Department of Education, Mid-Sweden University.
- Co-researcher with Drs. Jennifer Lock and Sawsen Lakhal
“The heutagogical bridge: Blended study to technology-enabled lifelong learning”. 2019 Academic Research Fund Athabasca University ($8000)
- Best Paper Award Nomination 2019
Cleveland-Innes, M., Feng, X., Garner, A., Jaldemark, J., & McKenzie, G. (November, 2019). Assessing emotional presence in Communities of Inquiry: From the instructors point of view. Paper resented at the International Consortium of Distance Education Conference, Dublin, Ireland
- Leadership Award - Canadian Network for Innovation in Education, 2019
- Research Advisor - Board for Western Michigan University with Dr. Brian Horvitz and colleagues
"Development and validation of observational and self-report instruments to describe teaching practices in online undergraduate STEM courses"
- 2017 National Science Foundation ($299,861 US) Co- researcher with Dr. Anna McLeod and Olga Kits
"Becoming a Professional Through Distributed Learning: A Sociomaterial Ethnography"
2016 Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada ($314,474) Co-researcher with Drs. Parker and Ostashewski
"Understanding the experience of learning to learn online: A MOOC designed for novices."
2015 Athabasca University Mission Critical Research Fund ($6,000) Co-researcher with Drs. Briton, Gismondi and Ives
“MOOC instructional design principles: Ensuring quality across scale and diversity.”
2013 Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation ($13,846). Research Principal
“Community of Inquiry research integration and practice alliance."
2013 Athabasca University Mission Critical Research Fund ($5,985) Research Principal
“Faculty perspectives on teaching with new technology: Uncovering a possible case of unrealistic expectations”
2011 Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada ($39,015) Co-researcher with Dr. Mohamed Ally
“Using mobile communication devices to support online learning communities”
2010 Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada ($62, 687) Research Principal
“Leadership in open and distance higher education.”
2010 Athabasca University Mission Critical Research Fund ($6,000) Research Principal
“The teaching role in online communities of inquiry: Verifying teaching presence across subject areas in higher education.”
2007 Athabasca University Mission Critical Research Fund ($7,000) Co-researcher
“Testing E-learning training methods to foster online soft skills in the workplace”
2006 Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada ($60,516) Approved but unfunded. Research Principal
“Bridging the campus: Disciplinary differences in online design and delivery”
2005 Athabasca University Mission Critical Research Fund ($7,578) Research Principal
Defining a learner-centered curriculum: A comparison of faculty perspectives”
2004 Athabasca University Mission Critical Research Fund ($7,429) Research Principal
“Higher order learning in online communities of inquiry: Identifying required student adjustment to cognitive, social and teaching presence”
2004 Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada ($60,045) Research Principal
“Testing the generative nature of learning objects: Independent learner use of learning objects in the affective domain”
2003 EduSource ($24,000)
- 2017 SSHRC Research Impact Award Nomination - Athabasca University
- SSHRC Impact Awards are designed to build on and sustain Canada’s research-based knowledge culture in the social sciences and humanities. The awards recognize outstanding researchers and celebrate their achievements in research, research training, knowledge mobilization and outreach activities funded partially or completely by SSHRC.
- Finalist – Best Paper Award 2014
Cleveland-Innes, M. & Gauvreau, S. (October, 2014). Faculty role change: Adjustment to the influence of online teaching and learning. Paper presented at the European Distance Education Network Research Workshop, Oxford, England.
- Cleveland-Innes, M., Stenbom, S., & Hrastinski, S. (October, 2014). The influence of emotion on cognitive presence in a case of online math coaching. Paper presented at the European Distance Education Network Research Workshop, Oxford, England.
- 2012-2016 Invited Guest Professor and Researcher
Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden
Part-time support to further develop research and education on technology-enhanced learning; develop funding applications; give research seminars; collaborate with and give feedback to faculty and PhD students; act as advisor in online learning projects.
- Craig Cunningham Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence - 2011 Athabasca University
- Finalist – Best Paper Award 2012
Cleveland-Innes, M., Ally, M., Wark, N., & Fung, T. (October, 2012). Emotional presence and mobile learning: Learner-driven responses in a wireless world. Paper presented at the European Distance Education Network Research Workshop, Leuven, Belgium.
- Finalist – Best Paper Award 2010
Cleveland-Innes, M. & Gauvreau, S. (October, 2010). Online support for online graduate students. 6th European Distance Education Network Research Workshop, Budapest, Hungary.
- President’s Award for Research and Scholarly Excellence 2009
- Finalist – Best Paper Award 2008
Cleveland-Innes, M., Sangra-Morer, A. & Garrison, D. R. (October, 2008). The art of teaching in an online community of inquiry: The online teacher as bricoleur. 5th European Distance Education Network Research Workshop, Paris, France, 2008.
- Finalist – Best Paper Award 2006
Cleveland-Innes, M., & Garrison, D. R. (October, 2006). Learner independence and interdependence in online communities of inquiry: The case for teaching presence. 4th European Distance Education Network Research Workshop. Barcelona, Spain, 2006.
- Best Conference Paper 2005
Ally, M., Cleveland-Innes, M., Boskic, N., Larwill, S. (May, 2005). Learner use of learning objects. Canadian Association for Distance Education Conference, Vancouver, B.C.
- Excellence in Research Award 2005
Cleveland-Innes, M. & Garrison, R. (May, 2005). Student role adjustment in online communities of inquiry. Canadian Association for Distance Education.
Cleveland-Innes, M. F., & Garrison, D. R. (Eds.). (2010). An introduction to distance education: Understanding teaching and learning in a new era. New York, N.Y.: Routledge.
True scholarship consists in knowing not only what things exist, but what they mean; it is not just memory but judgment. ~