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Three Quick Approaches for Increasing Inclusion
Using the (hopeful) change of seasons to reflect on broadening practices
Temperatures are (hopefully?) cooling off in many places. Deciduous leaves have not yet started to change colors, but the fall semester is swinging in for most institutions throughout the United States.
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In this, what feels like pandemic semester number 3,248,390, just getting by seems to be the new normal. As we focus on surviving - and hopefully thriving - here are a few quick resources to revisit.
For those not starting a new semester, a change of seasons is also a good time to consider broader aspects of interactions.
Starting day one with sharing your pronouns sets a good example and helps others know which pronouns to use for you. This can be done on the syllabus using the format: Instructor Name (pronoun/pronouns). The pronouns can also be included in personal introductions during live class sessions, class introductory recordings, and similar. Sharing pronouns is a great way to be more inclusive. Check out this past post from The Write Climate for more information on pronouns:
In the last few moments before the semester kicks off, finalizing the course syllabus can have an inclusive lens. Bringing in concepts from Universal Design for Learning (UDL) can make the course as a whole more inclusive, as well as supporting individual learners. Multiple ways to take in and show evidence of learning are two of the hallmarks of UDL. These courses can be more interesting, interactive, and help learners to bring in their own lived experiences into the work. Learn more about UDL in this earlier post:
Finally, as we consider the inclusion and accessibility aspects of a course, images are often overlooked. Images are useful for reflecting the population and helping students “see themselves” in the literature of the discipline. Educational images are also essential in conveying information. From charts and graphs to flowcharts and diagrams, images are part of the learning process. Using alt text can increase accessibility in images. Consider supplementing images with alt text using the introduction here:
As the heat waves hopefully begin to relent, best wishes for a smooth change of seasons in whatever way that means for you!