Increases students academic self-confidence, social agency and critical thinking abilities
Builds student confidence in engaging with diverse others
Impacts course design including content and assessment
Encourages self-reflection and to recognize that multiple perspectives exist
(Brock et al, 2020)
What is course content?
Course content is course material that connects course learning outcomes to student assessments. It consists of what students are learning and enables them to participate in course activities and demonstrate their learning. Not all course content is knowledge, but could also include skills, concepts, and experiences.
There are many sources and forms of course content. Traditional content comes from sources such as textbooks, academic articles, and the instructor in the form of lectures, articles, text, graphics and videos. Other sources of content include:
- Guest presenters
- In-class or online student discussions
- Student presentations
- Open educational resources
- Community engagement
- Student experiences, culture and background
- Diverse ways of knowing and doing
- Selecting course content from diverse sources, authors, backgrounds, perspectives
- Promoting multiple ways of knowing
- Students engage in quality interactions with diverse perspectives
- Using learner-centred language and teaching practices
- Providing options and choices for assessment (such as topics for assignments or connections to personal experiences)
- Provide students with choices, such as topics on an assignment or how to demonstrate their learning
- Integrate opportunities for students to voice their understanding and experiences
- Use a variety of activities throughout the course providing opportunities for students to experience the content in different ways
- Encourage collaboration and diverse perspectives
- Talk about EDI with your students
- Use a variety of sources and help students make personal connections to see themselves within the content
- Learn and use student names regularly to show value, trust and care
One place to start is by reflecting on your positionality. Positionality is to identify how we place ourselves in society in relation to others. Your positionality can influence how you perceive and understand course content, knowledge and perspectives.
As you reflect upon your positionality related to your teaching, consider:
- Whose learning do I cater to in my class?
- Whose voices dominate in my class?
- How can I mitigate my own biases?
The next steps involve reviewing your course outline from an EDI perspective. In the process of doing so, think about the following:
- How does my positionality shape course content?
- Whose knowledge am I honouring through the course?
- How and why do I choose and showcase class resources, materials, and activities for my course?
Reach out to your students often and engage purposefully and positively.
- Create a student-centered, inclusive course outline
- Have regular and accessible office hours
- Provide meaningful feedback to promote student learning
Authentic relationships between students and faculty are critical for student success.
- Be available and approachable during and outside of class
- Be supportive of student needs
- Foster a caring, safe and trustful learning environment
Culturally relevant and affirming
A culturally-affirming learning experience entails educators’ ability to connect course content to students’ lived experiences and cultural contexts.
- Establish relevance to students’ learning using real-world examples, connections to student experiences and ways of knowing and doing
- Provide opportunities for student voices and sharing
- Provide choice on how students demonstrate their learning (such as a visual or oral representation instead of writing)
It is vital to build a sense of community in learning environments, so that students feel connected, engaged and supported
- Collaboratively create class norms
- Foster a safe learning environment that is judgement free
- Connect in-class activities to course learning outcomes
Race conscious with intersectional lens
Being mindful of the multiple, intersecting identities that students hold
- Remove barriers to access, expression and technology
- Be aware of your assumptions
- Check-in with students to ensure everyone can access and engage with course information
- Consider student abilities (such as writing ability)
- Ask for student feedback (use D2L surveys)