Inclusive Teaching

Course Design for the Inclusive Eye

by Elisabeth Hedrick-Moser, Instructional Consultant, Reinert Center

Over the years the Reinert Center has been developing an arsenal of resources for helping educators cultivate inclusive practices. There are so many resources, in fact, that it can be difficult to sift through all of them. The following is a list that highlights the resources available, with an eye to helping you structure your course for inclusion.

On our Resources page for Inclusive Teaching, you’ll find four categories: Course Design and Materials, Assessment and Assignment Design, Avoiding Exclusion, and Supporting Inclusion. These categories focus on two branches of Inclusive Teaching—teaching with Universal Design for Learning, a robust effort to design courses that are tailored to students with all abilities, and inclusive teaching that specifically focuses on dismantling discriminatory culture and practices.

Course Design

The Syllabus

Starting with the organizing document, the syllabus, we have resources that provide practical strategies for crafting a syllabus that ensures that our messaging doesn’t “start students off on inequitable footing from the outset,” in a blog post “Features of an Inclusive Syllabus.” Debra Lohe offers a checklist to assess our syllabi for inclusive features. Another blog by Lohe, “The Graphic Syllabus,” offers strategies for using visual elements to showcase the deeper structure of our course and to communicate to students what really matters as they enter the course. An external resource, The Accessible Syllabus showcases ideas and resources for formatting the syllabus in way that promotes “student engagement and agency.”

Universal Design

Our resources pages provides several links to strategies and course design principles of Universal Design for Learning. The resources include a variety of specific tools, like a template for accessible power point slides. An external link to the organization Universal Design for Learning in Higher Education defines this model of design as “useful guidelines for developing curricula, selecting materials and creating learning environments that takes into account the wide variability of learners in higher ed environments.” We also have several resources to help think about accessibility in remote courses on our Instructional Continuity page, including the  instructional video, Creating Accessible Online Learning Environments.


When thinking about how inclusive your assessment practices are, take a look at our resource guides on gearing your assessments for a diverse classroom and creating assignments that “empower” students to learn from their specific cultural identity. Sandy Gambill writes about the role transparency in our assignments plays in preparing students for life experiences outside the college classroom.

Avoiding Exclusion

Under this category, you’ll find resources that examine the ways that exclusion can work in a classroom. For instance, you can read about the concept of Stereotype Threat, Microaggressions, and Implicit Bias, both in terms of how such bias can impact the instructor and the students. One post from The Notebook tackles the issue of exclusion more broadly, discussing how we can see who we are excluding in our classrooms. This blog is accompanied by a resource guide that helps us focus our attention on those groups we may be overlooking.

Supporting Inclusion

Our resources for supporting inclusion range from the more theoretical approaches to understanding how our teaching impacts inclusion to specific strategies and resources for implementing this theory. Theoretical resources include James Fortney’s Notebook post on Queer Pedagogy and on employing the concept of Intersectionality, a literature review of Student Identity Development Theory, a Notebook post by Gina Merys connecting Ignatian Pedagogy with Critical Pedagogy, a crucial pedagogical lens for dismantling damaging power structures in the classroom. Chris Grabau gives insight into the powerful potential that a person-centered perspective has for inclusive teaching.

The strategies and resources gathered on our Inclusive Teaching Resources page are too extensive to paraphrase all of them here, but I hope you’ll browse the resources for helpful and quick guides like using twitter to promote inclusion, incorporating inclusive practices in online teaching, facilitating discussions on diversity, in addition to a curated links to external resources.

While most of these resources here are not specifically designed for virtual environments, the questions asked about whom is being served and overlooked in our teaching and the strategies for including all students in our practices are applicable in and can be tailored to any teaching scenario. If you have ideas or experience with tailoring inclusive practices for remote or hybrid teaching, we hope you’ll share them below.