The foundation to creating an engaging learning environment is ensuring that students feel welcomed and included. Students will be more active and inclined to participate in class if they feel safe enough to express their ideas and opinions. Inclusive teaching strives to create a learning environment in which all students have equal access to learning regardless of their background or needs.
Designing a Welcoming Syllabus
The syllabus is often students’ first introduction to your presence as an instructor as well as to course material and expectations. To provide clarity to your students, it is important to use the course syllabus to communicate the course description, learning objectives, assignments, and grading criteria. Review your syllabus through an inclusive teaching lens using our inclusive syllabus review guidelines.
Enhancing Student Success through Transparent Assignments
Like syllabi, assignment descriptions are at the core of your communication with students. Transparent design that describes the purpose, tasks, and criteria for major assignments can increase the quality of student work and increase students’ sense of belonging and confidence in your class. The Transparency in Learning and Teaching project’s research-validated Transparent Assignment Design template is a great tool to help you reflect.
Building Community in Your Class
Building community involves using synchronous and asynchronous strategies to foster productive and collegial student-instructor and student-student connections in face-to-face, online, and blended courses.
Discussing Controversial Topics
Discussing challenging topics can be a rewarding venture into critical thinking for students and faculty. Much has been shared recently about how to facilitate challenging conversations in person and online through acknowledging how events and emotions affect learning, increasing critical literacies around media, and fostering long-term engagement.