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Friday, June 24 • 10:00 - 10:50
CON11.03 - Mindfulness in the Virtual Classroom: Tools and Techniques

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Mindfulness practices are an established way of promoting effective student learning (Gardener and Grose, 2015; Zajonc, 2013). Classroom mindfulness activities have been connected to increased student memory capacity (Mrazek, Franklin, Phillips, Baird, and Schooler, 2013), reduced feelings of stress (Oman, Shapiro, Thorsen, Plante, and Flinders, 2008), and improved mental health (John-Henderson, 2011).

Although increasingly employed in face-to-face classrooms, mindfulness practices are somewhat less common in online education. Classroom mindfulness practices are frequently rooted in a shared experience of a particular contemplative practice either led or initiated by the instructor and delivered to the group as a whole. However, the perceived distance from students and asynchronous nature of online learning makes many of the mindfulness practices used by educators more challenging to implement in an online classroom setting. Given the increasing interest in and deployment of mindfulness practices in face-to-face classes at our institution, we wanted to ensure that students were offered the same opportunities in blended and online courses. To this end, we set out to investigate strategies for faculty to effectively integrate mindful and contemplative practices in all course formats.

Grounded in literature dealing with the benefits and challenges of mindfulness, this workshop will explore approaches to enacting contemplative practices in the online classroom. Participants will have the opportunity to identify the challenges, concerns, and limitations associated with integrating mindfulness into online courses. At the same time, they will also explore affordances created through online delivery that can offer students opportunities for greater flexibility, choice, and self-discovery through mindfulness. Experiential elements will also include hands-on engagement with mindfulness tools that can be incorporated into online teaching and learning and a discussion of approaches and strategies to situate mindfulness in the context of online classes in a way that is relevant to students.


Apryl Gill

Niagara College
Apryl Gill is an Educational Developer with the Centre for Academic Excellence at Niagara College. Apryl previously worked as an adjunct communication instructor in the Academic and Liberal Studies Department for several years. Now, as an educational developer, she focuses her work... Read More →
avatar for Jennifer Martin

Jennifer Martin

Educational Developer, Niagara College
Jenn Martin is an educational developer with the Centre for Academic Excellence at Niagara College. With a background in teaching about and researching digital media and culture, her current focus is on promoting and supporting technology enhanced learning. She also teaches part-time... Read More →

Friday June 24, 2016 10:00 - 10:50 EDT