Inclusive Pedagogical Practices in Online Courses

Inclusive Pedagogical Practices in Online Courses

Christina M. Nash (Green Mountain College, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8009-6.ch019

Abstract

This chapter examines the best practices for creating inclusive online courses, focused at the K–12 level. It presents a theoretical framework that is rooted in teacher reflectivity and social justice in the classroom. Teachers should not only present voices from a diverse population, but also ask students to evaluate the dominant voices still left in the curriculum and how those voices shape societal institutions. Strategies recommended include, but are not limited to, being aware of cultural differences through both information gathering and experience; providing opportunities for communication that honor both students cultural and learning preferences; providing explicit course guidelines, expectations, and extended descriptions of course assignments; addressing the implementation of collaborative work with students of diverse backgrounds; and promoting students' cultural awareness through the critique of content.
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Theoretical Framework

This chapter is framed around critical theory. Teachers need to consider not just who their students are, but what cultural ideologies are they, as educators, promoting through their pedagogy, their curriculum, and materials. In this case, culture “encompasses the institutions and practices, rites and rituals, beliefs and skills, attitudes and values, worldviews and localized modes of thinking and acting” (Martin, 2002, p. 12). This educational philosophy moves beyond asking “how are my students different?” to asking questions such as: Are my teaching practices equitable to all students? Does my curriculum not only acknowledge diversity, but does it act as a counterpoint to the dominant systems of inequality? Do my students and I evaluate the content of the course for prejudices and discriminations against those of a different race, religion, gender, or socioeconomic background? Are my students and I working toward building a more just and sustainable society? Am I and my students moving beyond tolerance of diversity to appreciation of diversity? Educators need to be “actively involved in the philosophical conversations that ultimately shape the educational system in which they work” (Franklin, 2014, p. 82).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Culture: The norms, values, beliefs, languages, and artifacts of a particular group of people.

Privilege: Any unearned benefits derived from being a member of a particular group.

Voluntary Immigration: A person who chooses to move to another country for the potential promises of a better life.

Dominated Immigration: A person who was forced into assimilating to the dominant culture. This can be the result of physical domination through colonialism or slavery, or through economic domination.

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