Unit 3 Readings and Reflections


Upon reading The Internet and Higher Thinking by Garrison, Anderson and Archer, I reflected on the collaborative constructivist perspectives mentioned and that teaching and learning transactions should incorporate a learner’s personal sphere into consideration for meaningful knowledge. That was something that I knew instinctively but had never read, written or spoke about in all of my years teaching and that cognition and cognitive development ought not to be divided from social circumstance (Garrison et al., 2000). “The educational process has two sides, one psychological and one social and that neither can be subordinated to the other or neglected without evil results following”. (Dewey 1959). From my own personal limited experiences with online learning many years ago, I realized that my limited success in class was due to the missing elements that Garrison mentioned above as being essential to learning online. I do believe it was due to the lack of social presence mentioned by Garrison’s epistemologies. 

During the pandemic shift online, I often doubted my approaches to teaching online. The idea that I had to try to recreate my class online without the help of MOOC or praxis was something that really had me struggling. After watching Cormier in the The Participatory Open, some of the fears started to move toward confidence and understanding. “The community is the curriculum. Why don’t you just tell us what to learn?” (Cormier 2019). Connection and reflection are very important and especially relevant for my students during this challenging time in the planet’s history. Right now many of my English as a second language students are alone in their homes, spread out all over the world and this class is their only way to connect to their learning community. Taking all of what I have read I have tried to add extra components to facilitate reflection, communication and collaboration. I am surprised at how much I have been able to apply what I am learning in my classes on a daily basis. 

“Reaching beyond transmission of information and establishing a collaborative community of inquiry is essential if students are to make any sense of the often avalanche of information” (Garrison 2000).


Dewey, J. (1897). My pedagogic creed. The School Journal, 56(3), 77–80.

Garrison, R., Anderson, T., & Archer, W. (2000). Critical inquiry in text based environment: Computer conferencing in higher education. The Internet and Higher Education, 2(2–3), 87–105.

Stewart, B., Phipps, L., & Cormier, D. (2019, April 10). The Participatory open: Can we build a Pro-Social, Pro-Societal web? [Video]. You Tube. https://oer19.oerconf.org/sessions/the-participatory-open-can-we-build-a-pro-social-pro-societal-web-o-127/

Photo by Wes Hicks on Unsplash

2 thoughts on “Unit 3 Readings and Reflections

  1. I resonate with your response to pandemic teaching. With few supports and a quick change in delivery it was hard to reconcile what is done in the classroom and taking that online. One thing I will take away from pandemic teaching and incorporate into my classroom even when we go back to face to face is a deeper understanding of how inviting the learners into making meaning is a better learning experience. Whether we are face to face or online. There is something freeing and slightly terrifying about it from the instructional side.
    Do I need to have all the answers as the instructor or can I facilitate ways forward for students by having structure that will lead them to find their own answers through collaborating?

    What are some of the bones I can design for students to collaborate? I think we can look to this course for a few examples. An initial forum for introductions via video (a rich channel compared to a written discussion forum), a small and low stakes collaborative group assignment where we shared about tech tool discoveries and gave each other resources for learning more in our annotated bibliography, the ongoing blog back and forth and the increasingly complex group work. It’s interesting to see how the design and structure can create the conditions for collaborative learning and how reflecting on the community here is the catalyst for learning.

    1. Hello Karen,
      Thank you for your thoughtful response. There is definitively something terrifying from the instructional side. I really loved to hear you verbalize these experiences. “Inviting learners into making meaning”. Hear Hear! I know that this has been a very challenging year for many of us. In my organization we had some layoffs and some leaves of absence offered. I chose to persevere rather than taking a leave. I do feel blessed that I kept going even when I thought I couldn’t. I have learned so much this year from the tech side of things as well as the new way I had to communicate with students online. This meant more communication ( and time ), more positive reinforcement, and more flexibility. From this course I learned that I cannot and will not throw up barriers to newcomers that already have so many barriers such a language, culture, funding, accessibility and fear. The readings really helped me with this as well as communicating with likeminded individuals as yourself.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *