Hello, and welcome to Critical Digital Pedagogy! Over the next several days, we’ll be working together to break down what critical digital pedagogy is, why it’s important, how it’s useful (especially in our current crisis), and how we can apply it in the work we do with students, in classrooms and online.

Today’s Activities

  1. Read through this post and let us know if you have any questions. Add questions to the Questions & Answers discussion thread in the forum or reach out to Sean or Jesse by e-mail.
  2. Jump into our Introductions discussion thread and meet our (rather large) cohort.
  3. Check out two short readings for today (down at the bottom of this post).
  4. Don’t miss Jesse’s keynote in the Auditorium, and be sure to sign up for his Q&A at 12:00pm EDT and/or his “fireside chat” at 6:00pm EDT

As you can see, today we’re just getting oriented. So let’s start with some fundamentals.

This course is what we call “synchronish,” meaning that the work of the week is primarily asynchronous in nature, but we will be keeping pace with one another and finding ways to work together in real time. When Digital Pedagogy Lab happens on-ground, we have the benefit of all being co-located, and so it’s easy to form a cohort and a sense of community. This week, however, we are all online; additionally, we are 120 people strong and stretched across 20 time zones. Building a sense of community, even a sense of togetherness, has to be more intentional, and it can’t all happen at once.

So, you won’t be expected to show up at a specific time, nor is this week self-paced. It is synchronish.

Your Instructors

This course is larger than any of the others at this year's lab. We wanted to experiment with scale a bit, so there are 120 participants but 4 instructors. Our plan is that this will give us the critical mass necessary for interest groups to form in our discussion forums. And we'll likely have a raucous group for each of our synchronous sessions. However, we also want you to have the opportunity to work directly with us, so there are also more teachers in this course than any other. We'll introduce ourselves in the forum, but here we are:

Sean Michael Morris is the director of Digital Pedagogy Lab and Senior Instructor in Learning Design and Technology at the University of Colorado Denver. He is interested in the practice of critical digital pedagogy as a social justice movement and has been working in and around digital learning environments for 20 years.

Jesse Stommel is co-founder of Digital Pedagogy Lab and Hybrid Pedagogy: the journal of critical digital pedagogy. He’s got a rascal pup, Emily, two clever cats, Loki and Odin, and a badass daughter, Hazel.

Stefanie Chae is a Communication and Events Specialist at the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice. She is also the Event Manager for Digital Pedagogy Lab. She is fascinated by the concept of social media identity and digital storytelling.

Amy Collier is the Associate Provost for Digital Learning at Middlebury College. In this role, she provides strategic vision and leadership to position Middlebury as a leading innovator in creating and sustaining a global learning community through the effective use of digital pedagogies and technologies.

Our Days Together

Each day at 7:00pm EDT / 9:00am AEST, we will publish a post here on this course site. We’ll offer a provocation for the day, an opportunity to participate, collaborate, discuss, and we’ll provide some reading material to consider. Our optional synchronous sessions will alternate between 12:00pm EDT (TR) and 6:00pm EDT (MWF) in order to cover as many time zones as possible. Our goal is to provide you with enough to do each day that you can scale to your capacity to participate.

Keep in mind as you go along this week that everything we post will remain on the Web indefinitely. This course site won’t go away, nor will any of the exercises, readings, or provocations. So, if you need to take a break, you can always start again where you left off.

It might be helpful for you to set some goals for yourself this week. To do a little writing. To explore ideas you’ve been curious about. To create some product or finish a project by the end of the week (a new syllabus, a teaching statement, a manifesto). Even as a cohort, each of us will necessarily be a bit self-directed… so having a direction will help! And you'll have lots of folks around you to bounce ideas off.

Critical digital pedagogy, like its forerunner critical pedagogy, is a problem-posing approach to education. As such, we tend to ask a lot of questions. A few questions we set out as we designed this course are:

  1. What is critical pedagogy? Why is this approach important, unique, relevant?
  2. What is digital pedagogy? How is digital pedagogy different from traditional pedagogy? (What is traditional pedagogy?)
  3. What are the most immediate problems that arise when considering a critical pedagogical approach?
  4. What is a learner? What is a teacher? How are these roles and definitions changing today? What are the challenges involved in the evolution of these roles and definitions? What are the benefits?
  5. Is all learning necessarily hybrid? What do we mean by “hybrid”? How is this different from “blended” learning, flipping, etc.?
  6. How does our pedagogy need to respond to digital tools and environments, and how must it remain the same?
  7. What is the difference between learning online and online learning?
  8. What are the rights, responsibilities, and privileges of learners online? What are the rights, responsibilities, and privileges of teachers online? How do we design for these?
  9. Can critical digital pedagogy apply equally well to both humanities and STEM fields?

We’re looking forward to the questions you’ll add to our exploration.


All our readings this week are open access, so you don’t have to worry about purchasing anything or getting past any paywalls. Our primary two texts are available to buy should you wish to have a hard copy, but you can also read them easily on the web.

For today, take a look at:

  • An Urgency of Teachers: the Work of Critical Digital Pedagogy, “Introduction
  • Critical Digital Pedagogy: a Collection, “Introduction
    Note: this is a brand new collection being published this week open-access and in print, so you are getting a special preview.

~ Read next post in Critical Digital Pedagogy ~

Monday: What is Critical Digital Pedagogy?

Posted by Jesse Stommel

3 min read