Inclusive Teaching Online

Inclusive Teaching Online in the COVID-19 Era

As campus communities quickly pivoted to online teaching and learning in spring 2020, we are learning more about how to consider inclusive teaching in online learning spaces. There are three important points that cut across most articles. First is flexibility—both in the development of courses (synchronous/asynchronous, types of course assignments, etc.) and in the generosity afforded to students as they shift to a new way of learning and have disparate levels of disruption due to the immediate COVID crisis. Second is accessibility. COVID-19 has called attention to our students’ unequal access to resources (such as computers, internet access, quiet places to study) that are not always obvious in a face-to-face classroom interaction. Finally, is to know your students. If there was ever a time to learn more about your students, this is it. Without knowing them, you may miss some of the important ways they can contribute to the class and also where they have needs greater than others. 


Here are some links to help you think about inclusion and equity in remote learning environments.

The University of Michigan’s Center for Research on Learning and Teaching identified challenges to online teaching in the COVID-era. Read this blog post for tips on addressing those tricky situations.

The Rice University Center for Teaching Excellence was one of the first to publish guidance on inclusion when teaching remotely. Check out the article here.

Published by the John S. Knight Institute at Cornell University, this resource provides guidance for faculty teaching and connecting with international students when they may be living and taking classes abroad.

Vanderbilt University’s Center for Teaching published this set of testimonials from faculty who quickly made the switch to online teaching in March 2020 and the equity and inclusion issues that they were considering at the time.

Arizona State University offers 5 strategies for fostering an inclusive environment in an online course: knowing your students, reviewing course activities for cultural awareness and sensitivity, tapping into student’s backgrounds, cultures, and experiences, incorporating tools to bridge cultural and socioeconomic gaps, and striving to create safe, trustworthy, and positive rapport.

Check out Northwestern University’s resources for inclusive teaching online, including a section for thinking longer term about access and universal design beyond the immediate crisis moment.