When flexibly designing a course for face-to-face, face-to-face/blended, or online learning, you have the great opportunity to build it in ways that enhance inclusive and equitable teaching from the start. We know that all students learn better when they have a sense of belonging and feel connected to their instructor, their peers, and the course content. Grounded in the premise that diversity and learner variability are part of every classroom, this module offers you a variety of ideas on how to cultivate a sense of connection and belonging for your students, one important component of inclusive and equitable teaching.
This module focuses on Cultivating a Sense of Belonging and is organized by the framework:
- WATCH a short video that provides an overview of ideas and examples on how to cultivate a sense of belonging for your students.
- EXPLORE additional resources and take a deeper dive as you (re)design your course for inclusive and equitable teaching and learning.
- DO something with what you’ve learned by completing the Flexible Course Planner for this module.
- TOOLS that support cultivating a sense of belonging in your classes and/or are supported by the UMass IDEAS Team.
In this 11-minute video, CTL staff member Kirsten Helmer highlights specific practices and strategies to develop students’ sense of belonging, including: fostering high-quality relationships between the instructor and students [1:08]; cultivating a learning community [2:55]; demonstrating caring and interest in students’ well-being and success [6:35]; making learning relevant [8:14]; and designing for learner variability with Universal Design for Learning [8:59]. We encourage you to take a deeper dive by checking out the additional resources curated in the EXPLORE section below this video.
Click here to view the Inclusive & Equitable Teaching Transcript.
This section is organized according to the themes highlighted in the video (shown in graphic below) displaying the practices that cultivate a sense of belonging.
Fostering High-Quality Relationships
- 4 Tips for Keeping Students Engaged in Online Learning
- How to Show Your Humanity in Your Class (3-minute video)
- First Day of Class Activity: The Interest Inventory
- On the Why and How of Virtual Office Hours
- Other Resources Provided in the CTL's Engagement Module
Cultivating a Learning Community
- CTL’s Developing an Inclusive Syllabus
- CTL Handout: Developing Class Participation Agreements
- Netiquette Guidelines for Students and a Netiquette Infographic
- 8 Ways to Be More Inclusive in Your Zoom Teaching
- Should You Require Students to turn on their Zoom Cameras?
- Importance of Discussion Groups
Demonstrating Caring & Interest in Students’ Well-Being and Success
- How Academics Can Help Ensure Students’ Well-Being
- UMass Amherst Well-Being Initiatives through Student Life
- Orienting Students to Class: A How-To for Online Classrooms Infographic
- Student Notetaking and Portrait Format Lectures and Tutorials
- A Students' Guide to Zoom
Making Learning Relevant
- CTL Handout: Evaluating Diversity in Course Content
- How One Instructor Made Personal Connections to Subject Matter
- Teaching Strategies of Award-Winning Online Instructors
- Culturally Responsive Pedagogy Online
- Resources on Using Images Equitably and Inclusively
Designing for Leaner Variability
- Introduction to Universal Design for Learning (6-minute video)
- The UDL Guidelines
- CTL Handout: Plus-One Approach to UDL
- CTL Handout: Designing Your Course for Learner Variability Through UDL
- DO-IT-Checklist for Inclusive Teaching
We developed the Flexible Course Planner (formatted in Microsoft Word) to guide and scaffold your course (re)design and allow you to apply directly what you are learning. By using this planning document, you will end up with many parts of your (re)designed course in place.
- You can download the section for this Inclusive & Equitable Teaching Module; or
- You can download the entire Flexible Course Planner with all of the modules represented.
If you have any questions about inclusive and equitable teaching, or would like to talk through or receive feedback on your Flexible Course Planner for this module, please contact the CTL at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Surveying Student Learning Preferences: The VARK Questionnaire
- Overview of Educational Video Sites
- Online Tools for Teaching & Learning
- PowerPoint Now Supports Live Subtitles and Captions on Presentations
- Live Captioning a Podcast, Lecture, etc.
- 4 Ways Teachers and Educators Can Use Google Docs in Distance Learning
We know there are many online tools and applications that help to cultivate a sense of belonging and support inclusive and equitable teaching and learning. Please see the Section on Tools in the Engagement Module for those that are supported by UMass Amherst. For any questions about how to use these tools in your course, please contact the IDEAS Team at email@example.com
Please contact the CTL with any questions you have about Flexible Course (Re)Design at firstname.lastname@example.org.