Mindfulness Matters Especially in a MOOC


  photo by johnwilliamsphd cc

Listening to Howard Rheingold on Blackboard Collaborate in ETMOOC last night shifted my attention to mindfulness. Mindfulness is a tool we can all use in this busy, often stressful world of ours. It is certainly a tool  that as a school counsellor that I  can teach students to use. Especially those students who are plugged in to all kinds of devices .It is a skill I need to remind myself to use while taking this ETMOOC course. Sometimes I have my laptop, my phone, my iPad all going at the same time, especially if I want to keep up in a chat.

It is a misnomer that mindfulness is about focusing. It isn’t. Jon Kabat Zinn describes mindfulness as “the awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and non judgmentally to the unfolding of experience moment to moment.”

In order to be mindful we need to carefully listen to ourselves. We need to shift our attention, not pay attention to where we want or need to be.

For educators here are some great resources to understand mindfulness better:

Open my livebinder: Click on this link:


Dr. Allan Donsky MD from the Department of Psychiatry of Calgary ,is a skilled practitioner in this area. He believes one of the doorways to being fully human is:  “AWARENESS >>>> CHOICE >>> ATTENTION >>> ACTION”

I liken this to what I am doing in ETMOOC

  • I am AWARE that I am attempting to follow many things. I can go off in many directions easily if I allow myself to do that
  • I make a CHOICE to focus on anything that is related to school counselling
  • I bring my ATTENTION to those skills, ideas, tweets, chats…
  • The ACTION part is that by staying in the moment I can get what I need from the experience that will be helpful for me in what I do

To be honest this is a very different learning experience for me and being mindful while having so much data and options laid out in front of me is not easy. I need to practice mindfulness in order for my students to understand it and to be able to use it myself. I need to be mindful of who is in my Personal Learning Network. I also need to model being able to shift my attention to my family, so that my children will be able to do the exact same thing. It is certainly a challenge to be able to put this into practice when I am so engaged in my ETMOOC.

Got to go … shifting my attention

2 thoughts on “Mindfulness Matters Especially in a MOOC

  1. I really like how you’ve applied the framework by Donsky to your work in etmooc–it helps me think about how to be more mindful in this course as well. I, too, find it difficult to be mindful of what I am doing in etmooc because, well, I just am enjoying it SO MUCH that I can easily find myself losing too much time engaging with the people involved, their writings, the tweets, and more. I realized I need to work on attention, as Howard Rheingold talked about, in order to make sure I don’t go off in too many directions, as you put it.

    Thanks for the mindfulness resources!

    1. Christina, glad there are others who may feel as overly engaged as I do. This process has helped me reflect about so many things while also assisting me in seeing how I can shift my attention to what is most helpful for me at that moment.
      Keep enjoying… happy to connect with you.

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