Research shows that creating inclusive classes can help your students improve their performance by enhancing their learning (Muruyama, et. al., 2000). A key starting point for inclusion is making sure everyone feels like they belong to the class community—that they have opportunities to be heard and engage with classmates. As an IUB instructor, you have access to technologies to engage every student in your class by giving them a voice and helping create a true learning community. This post shares some technologies that can help you meet those goals.
Get to know one another
- Use the People tool in Canvas to see student photos and start learning their names.
- Use NameCoach to help ensure that you and your students know one another’s preferred name and how to pronounce it. You can easily incorporate this tool into your Canvas site and create an assignment for students to record their names.
- Create an activity and/or survey to learn more about your students and to help them get to know one another. Consider using Canvas Quizzes, Discussions, CN Post, or Zoom for this purpose.
- Create a welcome video to set the stage for the semester. This allows you to introduce yourself and share your aspirations for the course, along with important information that students need for a smooth start.
Create a learning community by including all students
You will likely need to help foster an inclusive learning community. Without guidance, students will often choose friends or peers like themselves for creating informal and formal learning communities (Rosser, 1998). There are several tools available to help you create more inclusive learning communities by providing opportunities for them to communicate with you and each other.
- Help students crowd source their notes and have them collectively create study guides. Consider using GoogleDocs (integrated into Canvas) to enable students to create these resources.
- Build a community where students rely on each other for answers to class-related questions. Piazza is an online problem-solving platform that allows students to post questions (including anonymously), answer questions posted by others, see instructor notes about answers, and see which answers have been endorsed by instructors. Students can also post images, videos, and/or equations using the built-in LaTeX editor, and edit computer code collaboratively.
- Collect immediate feedback from students. With TopHat, students can use their own devices (phones, laptops, tablets) to respond to questions, and instructors can display the results for the class. This can make for richer discussions that represent everyone’s thoughts and experiences.
- Have students share their thoughts using text, audio, or video comments. With VoiceThread, students can comment on a variety of file types, including images, videos, slides, and documents.
- Collect ongoing feedback from students. Using DropThought or the Online Course Questionnaire, you can find out which aspects of the course are enhancing student learning, and what suggestions for improvement they have.
- Consider holding online office hours. You can encourage students to contact you with questions and concerns using Zoom.
Help students create groups for formal and informal learning
- Use the Canvas groups function to provide an online space in which students can collaborate.
- Encourage students to use Zoom to meet virtually. They can use this video conferencing and collaboration tool to hold group meetings. They can even use it to create recordings of their presentations.
If you want to learn more, join us for the workshop STEM Tech2Teach: Creating Inclusive STEM Classes on Friday, February 15th. Registration is required as lunch is provided.
To learn more about the various tools mentioned in this post, and explore other that are not, visit the Technology Tool Finder.
Please contact us with any questions related to your teaching. We are happy to schedule a meeting with you.
Resources and References
Freeman, S., Eddy, S. L., McDonough, M., Smith, M. K., Okoroafor, N., Jordt, H., & Wenderoth, M. P. (2014). Active learning increases student performance in science, engineering, and mathematics. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(23), 8410-8415.
Maruyama, G., Moreno, J. F., Gudeman, R. H., & Marin, P. (2000). Does diversity make a difference? Three research studies on diversity in college classrooms. Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED444409
Rosser, S.V. (1998). Group Work in Science, Engineering, and Mathematics: Consequences of Ignoring Gender and Race, College Teaching, 46:3, 82-88, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/87567559809596243
Wehler, M. (2018). Five Ways to Build Community in Online Classrooms. Faculty Focus. Retrieved from https://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/online-education/five-ways-to-build-community-in-online-classrooms/
Williams, G. (2011). Use GoogleDocs for Crowd-Sourced Notes. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from https://www.chronicle.com/blogs/profhacker/use-googledocs-for-crowd-sourced-notes/31644