Inclusive Teaching @ UBC
A website for UBC instructors, graduate students and staff who want to learn more about inclusive teaching practices. Find resources, discover opportunities for professional development, and learn about work happening across UBC.
INCLUSIVE TEACHING DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
We recognize that this has been an extremely stressful time, as instructors continue to cope with the sudden and unexpected shift to online teaching due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. Please refer to UBC’s Keep Teaching website for technical and pedagogical support on how to make the switch to online instruction.
While these are challenging times, we encourage you to continue to be mindful that some of your students, especially those who are underprivileged, are likely to be experiencing many challenges, including limited or a lack of access to digital devices and the internet. While you may not be able to resolve all these challenges, you can still apply inclusive and equitable considerations to your online teaching so as not to unintentionally reproduce or exacerbate inequities.
Start with the following considerations, adopted from Dr. Calarco from Indiana University (please see below for her webinar information), to help you integrate equity and inclusion into your online teaching:
- Offer resources and support – Familiarize yourself with resources and support available to your students and share the information with them. Resources and support available to UBC students include:
- Adjust expectations – Revisit the course policies and expectations that you had developed for your face-to-face class, and consider how you may be able to adjust your expectations. For example, is it really necessary for students to attend a synchronous online class every week? Is it fair to count their attendance to synchronous classes as part of the participation mark?
- Increase flexibility for all students – Individual and retroactive accommodations take more time and are more stressful for individual students than making multiple options available to everyone from the beginning. There may also be disparities among students if they have to request accommodations on an individual basis. To allow more flexibility, you may consider, for example, creating multiple options for course participation, favouring low-stake and/or optional assignments, and giving students plenty of time to complete exams.
- Continue to be responsive to students’ individual needs – Even if you increase options and flexibility for your students, some students may still need individual accommodations based on their personal circumstances. Try to be kind and accommodate their needs as much as you can – many students and their families are directly impacted by this pandemic, and they didn’t sign up for an online course (just like you didn’t sign up to teach an online course!).
Here are some additional resources to help you develop inclusive and equitable online teaching practices:
- Bridging the Digital Divide: Teaching for Equity and Empathy in the Wake of COVID-19 (A webinar with Dr. Jessica Calarco, Indiana University)
- Inclusion, Equity, and Access While Teaching Remotely (Rice University)
- Maintaining Equity and Inclusion in Virtual Learning Environments (San Diego State University)
- Open Education Resource Accessibility Toolkit (UBC)
- Final Exam Strategies (University of Michigan – Dearborn) – See here for more remote exam and assessment options by Rutgers University
What is Inclusive Teaching?
There are many working definitions of inclusive teaching. We find the following definition informative:
Inclusive teaching refers to intentional approaches to curriculum, course design, teaching practice, and assessment that create a learning environment where all students feel that their differences are valued and respected, have equitable access to learning and other educational opportunities, and are supported to learn to their full potential. Rather than being a static checklist, inclusive teaching can change depending on context. It is a lens that guides instructors to consider and address the ways historical and systemic inequities continue to shape students’ learning experiences.