“We do not learn from experience… we learn from reflecting on experience.”
― John Dewey
Reflection can be a powerful addition to any module or course both for instructors and for students. Instructors can inform themselves about student learning and whether their teaching is effective. Students can deepen their learning through reflection. Reflecting both on knowledge gained as well as areas of confusion can be valuable.
What types of reflective activities are of use in an online course? Two of the simplest activities to incorporate in a course are the Muddiest Point activity or the One Minute Paper activity. Both are short activities in which students answer questions after a brief reflection on their learning.
- What concept was the “muddiest” to you during this week, that is, which concept was most unclear?
- What was the most important thing you learned during this week?
- What important question remains unanswered?
Reflection questions can be general or can be more specific. An instructor may want general feedback on a module in the course or they may want students to reflection on a specific field experience, collaborative group project, difficult concept, lecture, reading, etc. Reflective questions can be general or specific.
In the online classroom in which there are many active learning opportunities, adding in extra reflection activities to an already busy schedule can seem overwhelming. One solution to effectively create reflection activities online is to use the Graded Survey option within Canvas (under Quizzes). Canvas will automatically give the student full credit for submitting the survey.
Reflection does not have to add significant time to the student’s workload, does not have to add significant time to the faculty workload, and can teach students the value of reflection which can be applied to their own lives and to their workplace.