The Cornell Computing and Communications Center on Ag Quad, where the Center of Teaching Innovations is located.

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The Cornell Computing and Communications Center on Ag Quad, where the Center of Teaching Innovations is located.

October 23, 2018

New Online Course to Teach Instructors How to Foster Inclusive Classrooms

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Through a recently created online course, faculty, graduate students, graduate teaching assistants and postdoctoral fellows across all disciplines will learn how to engage with students to create more diverse teaching environments.

The four-week course, titled “Teaching and Learning in the Diverse Classroom,” explores “strategies for inclusive course design … [and] elements that affect the learning environment,” such as how instructors’ personal background influences their teaching and the identities of the Cornell student body, according to Mathew L. Ouellett, executive director of the Center for Teaching Innovation, which designed the course.

As instructors of the course, Ouellett and Melina Ivanchikova, CTI associate director of inclusive teaching, will “bring decades of experience working with faculty in general and particularly in building inclusive, culturally-responsive learning environments,” Ouellett wrote.

“The course invites participants to define for themselves what inclusive teaching is in the context of their courses, disciplines, and personal styles,” Ouellett told The Sun in an email. “We are not driving one definition of diversity or one way of building an inclusive classroom but are providing instructors a time to reflect and learn together at their own pace.”

“We also hope that the course creates a forum for proactive dialogue before a crisis or incident occurs,” he continued.

This course was designed to be taught online in order to accommodate to participants’ different schedules and 95 instructors have registered for the pilot course this semester, according to Ouellett.

After the pilot, Ouellett said the CTI will gather their feedback and make adjustments to the course before its official launch in spring 2019.