Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall: How to Use Reflection to Promote Student Engagement in Online Learning Environments

Concurrent Session 3

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

Ready to take your online course to the next level? This workshop presents an excellent blend of experiential learning, meaningful reflection, and engaging technology. Discover how university service-learning students flourished into a vibrant community of practice and grew as relational leaders from rich knowledge-in-practice. An innovative format for all ages.


Beth Teagarden Bair is an experienced class room teacher, professor, and instructional designer for more than eighteen years. As an expert in leadership, reading instruction, and service learning, Dr. Bair enjoys teaching students of all ages in pursuit of life-long learning. She and her husband collaborate to enhance instruction through innovative technology and student engagement in the Miami area.

Extended Abstract

Are you interested in discovering how to achieve high levels of engagement and reflection in an online or blended learning format? As a participant in this session, you will collaborate on reflection strategies and explore possible resources through hands-on activities. The applications from this study transcend course content, LMS, and levels of instruction, benefitting all attendees who seek to develop, deliver, and evaluate instruction. The goals of this presentation are to encourage reflection as meaningful learning, to develop inspiring reflection on course concepts and relational learning, to explore opportunities for experiential learning, to analyze the role of service learning in academic course design, and to support collaborative and interactive group activities.

In this presentation, Beth Teagarden Bair will explain how university freshmen connected their course learning with their service experience using an innovative technology format, based on her published case study of service-learning students in a blended leadership course. In this study the instructor blended face-to-face and online learning as well as experiential learning and essential reflection to produce strong personal growth and development and intense relationships in a service-learning community of practice. Using content analysis of student reflection and perception, this qualitative study resulted in strong personal growth and development, a vibrant community of practice, relational leadership, and interactive reflection through computer-mediated communication in a blended learning environment. To analyze student engagement, Dr. Bair gathered data through written reflections from discussion board postings and journals, online survey responses, and personal interviews. This triangulation of data strengthened the validity and reliability of the results for natural generalization to other communities of practice.

As confirmed in the review of literature and this case study, student reflection is the critical component to the learning experience and to the mastery of course concepts. The incorporation of computer-mediated communication stimulated the reflection experience for the students in this case study, and the process of reflection excellence can be replicated in other learning venues. This presentation offers attendees the opportunity to participate in meaningful reflection and synthesize its value and contribution to authentic learning and a rich community of practice. With the practical application of content analysis, participants will determine the components of authentic engagement and meaningful reflection. Participants will also consider the results of the content analysis and convert those results into data that can be displayed in measurable graphs and charts to report levels of engagement and growth for learners. Dr. Bair will share actual student responses and reflections to reveal plausible activities for engagement and personal growth.

In this presentation, Dr. Bair will incorporate a lively format of partner exercises, creative visual prompts, small group moments, and interactive questions and answers to engage the audience in a deeper understanding of reflection and student engagement. As she presents the results of this research study, she will provide the audience with a valuable and engaging hands-on learning experience as well as the presentation slides and handouts from the session.

At the end of this session, participants will be able to

  • Access and adapt a reflection template that demonstrates understanding of a course concept
  • Identify possible engagement opportunities for online and blended courses in a variety of disciplines
  • Synthesize verbal and written conversational engagement in reflection
  • Distinguish learner engagement through basic content analysis