Three Tips for Supporting Students Through Reflection in Online Courses

September 3, 2022

After the summer semester, are you noticing that there are areas in your online course where students are struggling? Are students not doing well in your online course and you’re not really even sure where in the course that they’re struggling because they’re not coming to you for help?

For many of us, the fast transition between semesters makes it hard to really analyze these issues and truly alter the course in large ways. In this blog post, I will present three easy and quick ways to build in checkpoints for your students without a full redesign of your online course!

#1: Self-Reflection

The first way is through self-reflection after a module or weekly lesson ends. Have students self-reflect on areas that they are still struggling with or areas that they really enjoyed. This allows students to think about the content they just learned, give some time to digest it, and see whether or not there are areas where they are still struggling. If you decide to have students turn it in as a Google Doc, you can then go and comment on things and say let’s meet or how can I help you and support you in this way?

#2: Activate Prior Knowledge

The second way is through a pre-reading, post reading, and a muddiest points. This activity is a bit like a self-reflection but it adds that pre-reading that allows students to think about what is it that they already know about the content. This allows students to actually peruse through the things that you are presenting first, think about what they already know, activate that prior knowledge and then students a chance afterwards to think about where they are still struggling. Once again, if you have students actually turn this using a Google Doc you can put comments on there to clear anything up or to say let’s meet and let’s check in with each other.

#3: Instructor Presence

Finally the third way is through integrating instructor presence. As you’re going through each module and you notice that students are struggling in certain areas or you’re reviewing their self-reflections and you’re seeing that there’s areas that they’re not understanding. It allows you, the instructor, to create a video or an announcement to clear anything up. This allows students to review this on their own time rather than having to attend asynchronous sessions or open office hours.

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