Inclusive and Equitable Teaching

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:

  1. WATCH a short video that provides an overview of ideas and examples on how to cultivate a sense of belonging for your students.
  2. EXPLORE additional resources and take a deeper dive as you (re)design your course for inclusive and equitable teaching and learning.
  3. DO something with what you’ve learned by completing the Flexible Course Planner for this module.
  4. 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.

 Practices that cultivate a sense of belonging include: fostering high quality relationships, cultivating a learning community, demonstrating caring and support of students' success, making learning relevant, and designing for learner variability.

Fostering High-Quality Relationships

Cultivating a Learning Community

Demonstrating Caring & Interest in Students’ Well-Being and Success

Making Learning Relevant

Designing for Leaner Variability


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.

We offer the planner in two ways:

  1. You can download the section for this Inclusive & Equitable Teaching Module; or
  2. 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


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

Please contact the CTL with any questions you have about Flexible Course (Re)Design at