Integrating Equity Strategies into your Spring Courses
Pedagogy in Practice
By Catherine Ford
The approach of the semester end for many brings final exams, graduation, and registration. It also signals for many, that is it time to prepare for next semester’s courses including syllabus creation, assignment development, and course content review. If you don’t already, we encourage you to intentionally review and revise courses with a focus on equity and inclusion.
In two weeks the NED Equity and Inclusion Coordinators will facilitate a webinar titled Getting Equity-Ready for Spring where they will provide strategies to maximize equity in your classroom. Even though these are valuable approaches and should be utilized, it is important to note that these strategies are starting points and not ending points in our pedagogical practices. As Zaretta Hammond, author of Culturally Responsive Teaching & the Brain (2015) shared in an interview with Jennifer Gonzalez with the Cult of Pedagogy (2017) about culturally responsive teaching strategies, implementing just two or three strategies is not enough. Instructors need to both integrate new strategies and interrogate existing ones.
What does this mean and what can you do? If you can’t join us at the Getting Equity Ready for Spring webinar, consider your first day of class/week routine and practices and how you set the tone to build teacher-to-student and student-to-student rapport. Columbia’s Center for Teaching and Learning Guide for Inclusive Teaching at Columbia suggests incorporating ice breakers that provide opportunities not only for students to get to know one another better but also for instructors to share about their interests and passions as well. This is also a principle of humanizing your online course. On her website, Pacansky-Brock provides examples of ice breakers that are self-affirming and create a sense of belonging. Ask students to share an object they can hold in their hand that they will keep forever (brocansky.com) and model this activity. Develop an online survey to get to know your students.
Are you looking for more ideas that go beyond day 1 or week 1 strategies? You are invited and encouraged to attend the Getting Equity-Ready for Spring webinar on December 16 at 3:00 pm. If you can’t make it during this time, no worries! Not only will it be recorded for later viewing and available on the NED Resource Site, but it will also be offered at the end of next term in preparation for summer or fall.
Automate Your Office Hours
Academic Technology Tips
By Brock Behling
With the end of semester nearing, it can be challenging to coordinate schedules to ensure that you are able to connect with everyone on a condensed timeline. Microsoft has products designed to reduce the burden associated with scheduling tasks. We know that high quality student-faculty interactions are highly correlated to retention, persistence, and academic achievements (Kuh et al. 2006), but how can we ensure that the back-and-forth logistics of coordinating connections, is not limiting our office hour availability. The challenges associated with connecting can unintentionally create barriers for student access, and success. Automating this process with Bookings can help ensure equitable opportunities by incorporating clearly defined appointment slots that are instantly created with calendar appointments and active links that can help with ease of access.
Structuring your booking slots with descriptive services can add purpose to office hours. This is helpful for students who may feel uncomfortable using office hours for non-emergency situations. Instead of limiting office hours to typical individuals who may be struggling, perhaps dedicate opportunities to help students connect course material to personal experiences in a more informal setting. Alternatively, set up structured group sessions as non-traditional team office hours. This could encourage students to share and reflect on experiential learning opportunities while offering leadership roles to those helping others and potentially deepening their own understanding of the content.
Offering credit for openly sharing and participating in these sessions may encourage increased attendance, engagement through authentic reflection, and mastery of the content.
The effort versus value added for participating in office hours will vary by each situation but increasing responsiveness by having dynamic automations in place and empowering self-selection opportunities can provide the experience that individuals expect when booking any appointment online. Leveraging custom responses or email reminders for bookings allows individuals to include canned messaging and supplemental materials. This can be helpful for frequently asked questions and can quickly provide guidance to the type of support requested.
How to automate this process with Bookings
Hope this helps you save time and connect with more students in high quality sessions guided with intentional purpose.
ASA Technology Council Meeting Updates
Did You Know?
By Scott Wojtanowski
This is not the first time our “Did You Know” section extolled the great work that is done by those of you who participate in one of the Academic and Student Affairs councils and their related committees (see the September, November Educational Development Digests).
One of the councils, the ASA Technology Council, is trying something new. Following each council meeting, we will aim to produce a short video overview of the outcomes (of the typically 4-6 hour long meeting). We think this is a great way for council members to share a whole bunch of “did you knows” in a short amount of time. Here is our first attempt at a video overview. Comment below to let us know what you think!