Inclusion through Connection: Equity and Access in Course Design
Learning emerges through a multitude of connections: connections between neurons in the brain, connections between people, connections between self and world, and connections between texts and concepts. Through this theme of connection, this session offers a framework for inclusive course design, focused on learning activities and content that enhance access, relevance, and choice. We will begin by reviewing pressing barriers or “great divides” that impact students with diverse learning needs. To address these divides, we discuss four key modes of connection. The four strategies are considered in relation to belonging and empathetic practice. Strategy 1: Connecting to content. This strategy discusses techniques for designing more inclusive course content to improve student engagement and Strategy 2: Connecting to self. This strategy draws from “Culturally Relevant Pedagogy” and shares examples of learning activities designed to help students connect to their identity, experience, and interest. Strategy 3: Connecting to preference: This strategy explores reflective practice and learner choice in helping develop metacognitive strategies and self-regulated learning practices. Strategy 4: Connecting to texts and concepts. This strategy discusses “remix literacy” as a learning activity designed to facilitate peer dialogue, develop higher-order understanding, and create multimodal artifacts that “act” in the world.