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Incorporating Diversity

Incorporating Diversity

26 June, 2016

Incorporating diversity is about designing your course with different course materials, teaching methods and learning activities that cover a diverse group of students with a range of learning styles, abilities, experiences, and cultures.

It may also mean that issues of diversity are part of the course learning outcomes and topics connected to diversity are embedded within the course content.

Reasons for Integrating diversity into a course:

Incorporating diversity into a course enables you to:

  • Make an inclusive course climate.
  • Relate with and reach out to a wider range of students.
  • Encourage students (Ginsberg & Wlodkowski 2009).
  • Create more positive educational experiences for students.
  • Help students obtain an understanding of, and respect for, multiple perspectives and backgrounds.

How to incorporate diversity into a course

The following are questions to be considered when designing a course:

  • What are your own cultural influences and personal ways of teaching and learning and how might these influence your choices in course design?
  • What are your students’ cultural influences and personal ways of learning and how might these influence motivation and course expectations?

Critically check your course from several viewpoints and add materials that represent various perspectives accurately (consider gender, nationality, ethnicity, age, sexuality, political affiliation, socio-economic status, ability, linguistic background, etc.).

Be inclusive of different learning styles and preferences; plan to utilize a variety of teaching techniques and when designing assignments, wherever possible, provide a choice in how students can demonstrate their learning.

Include issues of diversity as part of the learning goals of your course and tie current events and local histories into classroom activities.

Communicate your dedication to diversity by including diversity and disability statements in your syllabus; you might also add a classroom code of conduct to highlight expectations for classroom behavior.

Whenever possible, integrate universal design for learning principles into your instructional methods and materials in order to increase accessibility to students. A course that incorporates universal design principles for learning (UDL) is available to students of various abilities at the onset. For example, if you plan to present material both orally and visually, you address both auditory and visual learners and students with sight and hearing disabilities.