Applying Critical Digital Pedagogy

All learning is necessarily hybrid, regardless of the modality of instruction or materials. When educators use materials, tools, or platforms that are digital, their pedagogy must adapt to accommodate the affordances and concerns unique to digital technologies. Educators determined to enact Critical Pedagogy through their praxis must consider the impact of their teaching, their content, their contexts, and their tools when evaluating their pedagogy. This evaluation requires time, attention, and labor often overlooked when planning for course design and preparation, and the broad application of Critical Digital Pedagogy in nearly every aspect of planning makes it easy to feel lost among the proverbial weeds.

Navigating the Site

This website, created by the Critical Pedagogy and Digital Praxis in the Humanities course at DHSI 2019, aims to help guide you through the planning process by providing explanations, resources, and activities designed to focus attention on advocacy for student agency in the midst of corporate and institutional pressures to use students as data points or profit opportunities. The pages of this site reflect our efforts over a four-day seminar to bring a sense of organization and clarity to the important considerations of applying Critical Digital Pedagogy in today’s educational environment.

Just as we created this site while exploring, learning, and negotiating our positions, we invite you to move through this material in a direction that makes sense to you — there is no singular point of entry, only your decision to engage where the material seems most appropriate. Regardless of where you begin, you’ll quickly see that working to support one aspect of Critical Pedagogy can create tensions with another. For instance, efforts to enhance the openness of a course can butt up against the ethics of a learning space, making material accessible but exposing students to an Internet that may be hostile or threatening. Implementing Critical Pedagogy, especially in a digital space, is fraught with challenges, many of which this site will highlight rather than alleviate. Balancing the issues of Critical Digital Pedagogy challenges us all to better understand our intentions as educators and the needs of those put in our care.

Our Intention

We hope this site sparks curiosity, prompts questions, and drives further exploration. But above all else, we hope you use these pages to re-think your position as a pedagogue and to re-evaluate the role students play in your classes, remembering the words of bell hooks:

“To teach in a manner that respects and cares for the souls of our students is essential if we are to provide the necessary conditions where learning can most deeply and intimately begin.”

Sections of This Website


In this module, we apply a critical pedagogical lens to open praxis and explore four fundamental concepts that support it: access, transparency, sharing, and accessibility.


Work through four ethical concerns: colonialism, policing, surveillance, and accessibility. Apply these concepts to your own courses through activities and reflection.


Approach and evaluate participation in your classes in order to develop policies and practices that nurture student and instructor development.


Learn how mindfulness can help you balance issues of critical digital pedagogy in in-person and online learning settings.

Institutional Power

Explore how institutional power in higher education shapes curricula, pedagogies, and learning. Reflect on complicity and opportunities to navigate and disrupt systems of power.


  • Megan Adams, Grinnell College
  • Sierra Dye, University of Guelph
  • Chris Friend, Saint Leo University
  • Christine Gottlieb, Cal State East Bay
  • Serap Hidir, University of Rhode Island
  • Heather V. Hill, Fordham University, Instructional Technologist
  • Elliot Montpellier, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA
  • Urooj Nizami, Temple University, Philadelphia, USA
  • Elan Justice Pavlinich, University of South Florida, Tampa, USA
  • Nada Savicevic, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada
  • Rebecca Stephanis, Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA, USA
  • Kate Thornhill, University of Oregon
  • Vitor Yano, University of Victoria