Online Teaching & Learning

This guide was created in partnership with The Centre for Teaching and Learning & Library and Learning Services.

Principle 7

Commit to Continuous Improvement: Gather formative and summative feedback on your teaching; practice critical self-reflection; consult scholarly literature on teaching & learning; identify clear goals for strengthening your teaching practice.

Critical Reflection

Ongoing, supported, and critical reflection is a key component of an educational practice. Experiences in and of themselves do not facilitate learning. When combined with critical reflection, we make sense of the experiences in the context of our worldviews - either supporting our pre-existing views, or potentially disrupting and eventually altering them (Brookfield, 1995; Jarvis, 2006; Mezirow, 1998; Schön, 1995). 

At this time of remote online learning, it is important to intentionally embed time, space, and support for reflective practice into our lives. Reflective questions will support and guide inquiry related to our faculty identity, our beliefs, values, assumptions, and intentions about teaching and learning, and our practice of teaching in the online context. 

Reflective practice is one of several dimensions of scholarly teaching and continuous improvement in educational practice. Other important dimensions include: critical inquiry, application and experimentation, and sharing with Sheridan colleagues, as well as with our local, national, and international networks and communities. 

Critical Reflection in teaching

Image from Sheridan, CTL

For individuals to act as scholarly teachers, they identify questions and challenges in their teaching, become familiar with the relevant pedagogies, engage in [online learning]-centred inquiries to examine their teaching practices, and then share the results of their inquiries with others."

(Bunnell & Bernstein, 2012, p. 14)

The Pause

Take some time to pause and consider the following reflective questions as you continue to experiment, iterate, and continuously enhance the course learning experiences in the online context. 

  1. How might I describe my first experiences of teaching my course(s) online?  How did it feel? 
  2. What does reflective practice mean to me? 
  3. Why does reflective practice matter? 
  4. How do (might) I regularly incorporate reflection on (into) my practice? 

pause image

Image from Sheridan, CTL

Brookfield, S. (1995). Becoming a critically reflective teacher. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Cranton, P. (2006). Understanding and promoting transformative learning: A guide for educators (2nd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. 

Cranton, P., & Roy, M. (2003). When the bottom falls out of the bucket: Toward a holistic perspective on transformative learning. Journal of Transformative Education, 1(2), 86–92.

Jarvis, P. (2006). Towards a comprehensive theory of human learning: Lifelong learning and the learning society (Vol. 1). New York, NY: Routledge.

Mezirow, J., & Taylor, E. W. (2009). Transformative learning in practice: Insights from community, workplace, and higher education. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.  

Schön, D.A. (1995) The reflective practitioner: How professionals think in action. [UK: Taylor & Francis Ltd.].