Designing Culturally Relevant OER for Online Learning

Concurrent Session 1
Equity and Inclusion

Brief Abstract

This innovation lab will focus on how Open Education Resource initiatives facilitates participants incorporation of cultural competence, critical consciousness, and data justice to change their online curriculum. These three areas represent an avenue where faculty, instructors, and instructional designers can contribute to strategic inclusion and diversity goals and improve access.


Chris Luchs is an Associate Dean for Career and Technical Education in the Colorado Community College System. He has over twelve years of experience teaching online and f2f at the community college level. His current happy places are analytics, data visualization tools, and reading LitRPG. Chris is also currently pursuing a PhD in Community College Leadership at Old Dominion University.
Dr. Bridgitt Mitchell is a faculty member and chair of the Department of Early Childhood Education with Colorado Community Colleges Online. With nearly two decades of experience in education and management, she has served in diverse roles that include Assistant Director for a Center of Multicultural Leadership at the University of Kansas, Tenured Professor, Assistant to the Secretary for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, and the State of Kansas’ 1st Minority Health Liaison. She has also collaborated with Georgetown University to examine the effects of trauma on preschoolers of military families.   Dr. Mitchell holds a B.G.S. degree in African and African American Studies and a M.A. in Human Development and Family Life from the University of Kansas. She also holds a Doctorate of Education in Higher Education and Adult Learning from Walden University.

Extended Abstract

For many years, culturally relevant pedagogy has been added on as an afterthought instead of being core material for online course design. Several reasons for this delayed implementation have been the inability to scale this type of innovation, over reliance on publisher content, and sometimes organizational inertia. However; online learning and higher education are now at a critical juncture. With over 70 legislative bills focused on increasing higher education’s adoption and use of Open Educational Resources (OER) introduced in U.S. state legislatures last year, the status quo is changing. This renewed interest in OER represents an opportunity for educators and instructional designers to innovate and breakdown old barriers to the adoption of new pedagogies, learning theories, and more.

This innovation lab walks participants through how one organization, leveraged the opportunity afforded by upcoming OER legislation to develop a Z-degree and redesign their courses to include content that supports culturally relevant pedagogy online. This lab will focus on how participants can incorporate cultural competence, critical consciousness, and data justice to change their online curriculum. Culturally Relevant Pedagogy also represents an avenue where faculty, instructors, and instructional designers can contribute to their institution’s strategic inclusion and diversity goals as well as improve access to marginalized populations.

This design lab will take you beyond talking about OER for culturally relevant pedagogy online to creating content. Participant groups will have the choice of creating activities for cultural competence, critical consciousness, or data justice.

This lab is designed to engage participants through collaborative and cross-disciplinary discussions, hands-ons activities, and prototyping of potential learning objects and rubrics for use at their home institutions. The lab will be have three distinct phase outlined below:

  1. Discussion (5 Minutes): Using a design thinking approach, session leaders will begin with a short facilitated conversation about activities that incorporate culturally relevant activities online.

  2. Demonstration (20 Minutes): The session facilitators will share a brief overview of types of culturally relevant pedagogy online and split the participants into groups where they receive a guided example of cultural competence, critical consciousness, and data justice examples.

  3. Innovation (20 Minutes): Groups will have twenty minutes to process, discuss and apply culturally relevant concept to an online activity that can be done at their institution.

Additional information:

How will participants work collaboratively to prototype a meaningful solution to a particular problem using design thinking?

In their groups, participants will choose a topic from one of three categories 1) cultural competence 2) critical consciousness or 3) data justice and the type of learner they will be designing for. Using a time-boxed approach, the group will define, ideate and prototype their solution. Two options will be given to the groups on how to prototype this. Groups can use sticky notes, markers and easel pads or opt to use a Padlet as a digital design space.

What is an applicable deliverable with which participants will leave the session?

Participants will leave with prototype of an online culturally relevant activity that they can be used at their institution and shared using creative commons license on their own site or on another OER sharing site.

How will the session assist participants to identify emerging trends in educational technology and their potential uses?

This session will help participants look critically at how they are designing online activities and which technologies help to include learners and which exclude learners. Presenters and participants will share the technologies they are using support students who have been traditionally marginalized.