Cultivating the Contemplative Mind in Cyberspace: Field notes from pedagogical experiments in fully online classes



Contemplative Pedagogy, Online Teaching, Environment


Fully online classes are on the rise in US higher education institutions. This article describes pedagogical methods for incorporating contemplative practices into these courses, using an undergraduate class in Philosophy, Religion and the Environment. I give a rationale for incorporating contemplative exercises into this class, along with specific techniques and example exercises and assignments. Drawing on literature about pedagogical best practices, I suggest some guiding principles for incorporating contemplative exercises into online classes. I then discuss the results of these pedagogical experiments, measured in terms of qualitative student feedback and instructor impressions.

Author Biography

Jane Compson, University of Washington at Tacoma

Jane Compson is Assistant Professor in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences at the University of Washington, Tacoma, where she teaches religious studies and philosophy. She studies the application of contemplative techniques in contemporary secular contexts and has authored articles in journals including Mindfulness, Contemporary Buddhism, Journal of Nursing Education and Practice, Interdisciplinary Environmental Review, and in the books Contemplative Approaches to Sustainability in
Higher Education: Theory and Practice (Eaton, Hughes and MacGregor, 2017) and Meditation and the Classroom (Simmer-Brown et al., 2011). She co-edited the book Practitioner’s Guides to Ethics and Mindfulness-Based Interventions (Monteiro, Compson, Musten, 2017).


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