As we pause this week to enjoy family, friends, food, and a bit of football, let us also remember and be thankful for those educators in our lives who have made a difference. At the School of Continuing and Online Learning, our goal is to create excellent, meaningful, and relevant educational experiences for our learners, whoever and wherever they are.
We have written extensively about rigor, design, and facilitation. We have discussed our ongoing initiative to encourage the use of the Quality Matters rubric. We have talked about integrating active teaching and learning strategies into our pedagogy. And we have highlighted why all of that matters.
As this holiday week rolls along, you will undoubtedly spend some time reflecting on the year you have had, the company you keep, and the future -- your future, your family's future, the country's future, the world's future. Reflection is a powerful tool that helps us take stock of where we have been, where we want to go, and how we might be able to get there.
As we teach and learn, we must also remember to tap into the powers of reflection. For students, reflection is an indispensable component of learner-centered instructional design. The act of reflecting demands critical self-evaluation: it forces us to confront what we think we know or can do, what we want to know or to be able to do, what we don't know or cannot do. For teachers, reflection opens up an opportunity for us to examine our own pedagogy and instruction. Are we designing curriculum, instruction, and assessment in a way that promotes student learning? Are we demanding quality and excellence from our students? Are we demanding it from ourselves?
Without reflection, improvement is elusive, because improvement requires introspection and critique. That process has to be both external and internal, from our superiors, from our peers, and from ourselves. So, as you take time to give thanks and reflect on your 2016, think about how you can carve out space in your own educational practice for the same sort of deep, honest thought.