Inclusive Teaching, Teaching with Technology

The “Do Nots” of Inclusive Online Teaching

by Eric Royer, Instructional Developer, Reinert Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning

The Worst Lecture Ever is a faux series of 50-minute online lectures created by Lindsay Masland, an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology and Associate Director of the Center for Academic Excellence at Appalachian State University. While the video description clearly offers a disclaimer that she is not the “worst professor ever,” Masland’s video captures many of the inequities associated with online learning, while parodying the “do nots” of inclusive online teaching.

Masland asks viewers to identify the “32+” separate ways in which she is projecting and facilitating a non-inclusive learning environment. Many of the exchanges she has with her students are difficult to watch, yet the video offers insight into how and why it’s important to facilitate an inclusive learning environment. The how lies in the solutions to the lessons or examples brought up in the video; the why is the gut-wrenching feeling in your stomach as you watch the exchanges between Masland and her mock students.

I share this video because it makes me think of the direct and subtle ways in which I promote an inclusive online learning environment, and the ways in which I’m falling short. More importantly, this video makes me pause and reflect on ways in which I may be indirectly excluding some of my student learners without even knowing it. If I frame my 1-1 student time as “office hours,” what message is that sending? If my recorded lectures and subject matter materials are chocked full of jargon and disciplinary terms, what students am I leaving behind? If I’m not honoring my students’ names and pronouns, what does that say about their membership in my class?

As you watch the video, try to jot down as many examples that you see. What immediate reactions do you have when watching the video? What ways are you promoting an inclusive learning environment, and in which ways are you falling short? Consider sharing your answers to these questions in the discussion below.

For more information on inclusive teaching strategies, see the work of Viji Sathy and Kelly Hogan in How to Make Your Teaching More Inclusive and refer to inclusive teaching resources developed by the Reinert Center, such as how to create an inclusive syllabus or transparent student assignments. Additionally, you can schedule a consultation with Reinert Center staff to discuss inclusive online teaching or other teaching topics of interest.