New Perspectives on Inclusive Teaching

New Perspectives on Inclusive Teaching

May 6, 2020

On April 3, 2020, UNH hosted “New Perspectives on Inclusive Teaching,” the fourth and final webinar in the USNH Academic Technology Open Education webinar series. Scott Kimball, Manager of Learning Development and Innovation, and Ken Mitchell and April Rau, Instructional Designers in Academic Technology, were the panelists.

Although this webinar was planned well in advance of the COVID-19 situation, the live broadcast coincided closely with the sudden and unexpected shift to remote learning. The hosts discussed the work that was already being done at UNH to assist faculty with developing inclusive teaching in their classrooms. But they also reported on ways in which faculty can employ these practices and strategies in this new world of online courses.  They provided examples of how this is being done at UNH and within the University System of New Hampshire as well as at other institutions of higher learning, and encouraged participants to share their own best practices, as well as their challenges.

The webinar began with defining inclusive teaching and implicit bias and reflecting on the implications of inclusive teaching on Open Education.  Scott Kimball shared this from “Inclusive teaching considers the needs and backgrounds of all students to create an environment in which they feel valued and have equitable access to learning” and added that educators should be mindful of making assumptions about students and to be aware of hidden disabilities. Implicit bias was defined as a “bias that results from the tendency to process information based on unconscious associations and feelings, even when these are contrary to one’s conscious or declared beliefs.” Scott noted that the discussions that come out of observations of these biases and how we react to these biases is what’s important.

In describing the online Inclusive Teaching course he and his team developed for faculty at UNH, Scott provided examples of how faculty can incorporate Open Education into their inclusive teaching practices. He recommended choosing course material that takes into consideration a student’s financial situation – choosing Open Education Resources (OER) or digitized and free curated materials from your institution’s library. He discussed open pedagogy and allowing students to bring their own identity and experience into the course. He also stressed encouraging students to have diverse perspectives and points of view in their group work.

The next portion of the webinar was led by Ken Mitchell, who was instrumental in developing  the free and open UNH self-paced Inclusive Teaching course. He  shared the content of the course which  includes defining inclusiveness, exploring teaching strategies and practices, course organization and content, interactions within the classroom and implementing inclusive teaching. He described an "inclusive teaching notebook" that participants in the course are encouraged to keep as they learn and develop new strategies. He concluded his presentation by leading participants through one of the online surveys of the course that has faculty reflect on their own teaching practices. 



April Rau concluded the webinar by acknowledging how quickly faculty have had to shift to online classes while managing to continue inclusivity. She shared a video of a Boston University professor, Binyomin Abrams, who teaches a 300-student undergraduate chemistry course and his adjustment to remote learning. The video demonstrates, through Abrams actions, inclusivity in many unexpected ways. He is recording his class by himself in an empty lecture hall and begins by telling students that he will start a few minutes “late” to allow students to log on - despite his penchant for starting his classes exactly on time. He confesses to students that he was worried the class wouldn’t be interactive, but it is and he praises and thanks his students for a job well done. He acknowledges that he misses his students tremendously and how “weird this situation is.” He pauses many times, allowing students to process what he is saying, and asks for students’ feedback. He concludes the class by saying, “We’re all in this together. Thank you so much. Have a good afternoon, or morning, or whatever it is where you are. I’m tired.”

April also provided many other ways faculty can incorporate inclusivity into an online course and outlines them in her Slide Deck presentation. Some highlights are: having a flexible attendance policy, recognizing students new learning spaces, acknowledging time zone differences, pre-recording asynchronous lectures, having low stakes assessments, and offering live virtual office hours.

This USNH webinar “New Perspectives on Inclusive Teaching” was open and free to the public and those interested may view the recording here.

Participants were asked at the beginning of the webinar to provide their own definition of inclusive teaching and responses are below.

  • Open, non-judgmental
  • Treating all students the same.
  • Making sure that everyone feels welcome in the learning space and can access the learning space
  • Universal Design...anticipating all learning styles from the git go
  • Equity
  • Including all at their ability level with accommodations/modifications to level the "playing field"
  • Acknowledging and addressing the individual differences of all
  • Considering all perspectives and connecting with all different aspects of the humans in our courses
  • Capability and comfort to participate in learning in whatever ways you want
  • Recognizing and engaging different perspectives & orientations
  • Making sure everybody feels like they’re a part of the class and feel comfortable to contribute
  • Making the classroom accessible and available to all students and allowing equal learning opportunity
  • Respecting and valuing varied perspectives and experiences
  • Inclusion is giving the students possibilities to give feedback on teaching to the teacher
  • Including students in thinking about teaching in the class, class resources, etc.
  • Perhaps it is as easy as putting yourself into the shoes of the "outsider" or "Other"


Bookmark and Share

Add new comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
8 + 3 =