Inclusive Remote Teaching

Recent focus has been on inclusive remote teaching. In this context, it is  important to consider the following circumstances in the current environment:​​​​​​​

  • Students have differential access to technology resources, including computers and WIFI. This may mean that they have difficulty accessing course materials and being able to fulfill assignments.
  • Students have decreased access to some university resources and supports, both formal and informal, which may make it more difficult for them to focus on their work.
  • Students are experiencing differential levels of “cognitive load.” These stressors may include health, financial, and family concern, which can distract them from their academic work.
  • Students are experiencing increased physical and emotional isolation. It is more difficult for them to maintain their relationships with fellow students, staff, and faculty, and they often feel alienated and powerless.

These considerations have given rise to a number of recommendations concerning inclusive synchronous and asynchronous teaching online, including the following recommendations by the Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching:

  • Communicate openly and often with all students about their and your needs.
  • Students of less privilege will be at greater risk of disengagement and less likely to persist, so reaching out and providing support is vital.
  • Collaboratively define new models of teaching and learning with your students, while being faithful to the goals and approaches of your course.
  • Be flexible and adaptable in redesigning course assignments and learning experiences that accommodate diverse learners and their needs, particularly those who need to learn asynchronously.
  • See this as an opportunity to experiment with new course design elements such as creative writing or multimedia assignments, as well as innovative interaction via synchronous (e.g., virtual breakout rooms) and asynchronous (e.g., discussion boards, blogs) modes.
  • Be attentive to, and supportive of, students confronting unique challenges of connectivity, distraction, time zone, abilities, international standing, resources, etc. and how you might accommodate their equitable participation in all aspects of the course. Leverage all online resources to offer the support necessary to make online learning easier – guidance for assignments, technological support (for connectivity, navigating course management systems, virtual classroom/Zoom usage, etc), how to access existing campus resources such as the Writing Studio or library support, financial support available through the university, and others.
  • As in any course, ensure the goals, structures, and assignments for the course are clearly articulated, well-integrated, well-planned, and easy to access. See more

Additional Resources

  • Inclusion, Equity, and Access While Teaching Remotely
    Rice University Center for Teaching Excellence site lists both general considerations and specific tips.
  • Maintaining Equity and Inclusion in Virtual Learning Environments
    San Diego State University Center for Teaching and Learning suggests ways for teachers to be accessible, flexible, identity-conscious, proactive, relational, and transparent.
  • Inclusive Teaching Online
    Washington University in St. Louis Center for Teaching and Learning emphasizes fostering relationships between students and the instructor and among students, as well as accessible course design.
  • Equity and Accessibility
    Barnard College Center for Engaged Pedagogy covers a wide range of topics, including Zoom etiquette, antiracist practices, and trauma.
  • Inclusive Teaching in Online Courses
    University of Denver Office of Teaching and Learning emphasizes the need for teaching strategies that reflect awareness and understanding of students’ social identities.
  • Equity & Access
    Harvard University Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning presents “contextual” points to consider and some recommendations for how to adapt teaching to foster an equitable and accessible online learning environment.