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Are Students Experiencing Our Strategies as Inclusive?

A pair of videos featuring students’ perspectives on inclusive classrooms and one faculty’s strategies for creating an inclusive classroom online.

This fall, I asked students in my Women Writers and Writing course to share with me features of our class (and others) that were making for an inclusive online atmosphere. In the first video below, they share some of their thoughts. A big theme in these responses was the idea of valuing student experiences, voices and contributions "however those contributions are made.” This includes having options for how to interact, opportunities for collaboration, and lots of space for questions. I was intrigued by the emphasis students placed on having their ideas engaged seriously, even when those ideas may differ from the ones we are asking them to explore, and the value of searching for the intersections between those diverse ideas and perspectives. As the students explain, this isn’t what they always experience in their classrooms. 

So, how have I tried to provide this kind of support to the students in our course? In the second video, I overview a few small strategies that I used to support an inclusive and supportive learning environment online. Some features discussed include: 

  • syllabus statements and course policies
  • assignments that actively value points of confusion and diverse perspectives
  • classroom practices that make space for and invite difference 

While the students and I are specifically discussing our experiences and strategies in relation to online learning, these insights and strategies clearly apply to in-person teaching as well. We offer these resources as a way to invite all faculty to start small and try even just a few small revisions to their course designs in order to support inclusive learning for all students.

SCU students Jessica, Nathan, and Catherine share their perspectives on what makes for an inclusive classroom environment.

Amy Lueck (English) highlights some features of her course design and materials to support an inclusive classroom environment.

 

About the Contributor

Amy J. Lueck is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English, where her research and teaching focus on histories of rhetorical instruction and practice, women’s rhetorics, feminist historiography, and public memory.