Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Online Course Design and Delivery

Concurrent Session 7
Streamed Session Equity and Inclusion

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Session Materials

Brief Abstract

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion have rightfully taken their place in many of our institutions' missions, campuses and classrooms, and leadership structures.  Are they embodied in our online course design and delivery? Join us for a discussion about how we can build diverse, equitable, and inclusive online learning experiences and communities.


Jason Underwood is the Director of Instructional Design and Design for Northern Illinois University. Jason provides leadership on instructional design and development activities for faculty, instructors, teaching staff, and teaching assistants, overseeing all aspects of instructional design and development initiatives for Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center including supervising and evaluating all classification of staff dedicated to online course design and development, providing expertise on current and emerging practices in online learning and instructional design, and overseeing online course design and development. Jason has been teaching face to face and online courses in Instructional Technology, Instructional Design, Research, and Evaluation for more than 15 years.
Jeff is the Senior Instructional Designer at the Center for Effective Teaching and Learning at Cal State Los Angeles. He consults with faculty during course redesign, while also helping to enhance faculty teaching practices. To date, Jeff has helped faculty build over 100 hybrid and online courses. On the side, he teaches digital imaging and conducts forensic image analysis and accounting in civil cases involving copyright infringement.

Additional Authors

Stephanie Hinshaw is the senior vice president of academic affairs. In her role, she oversees all academic activities and initiatives for the college, including academic programs and departments, curriculum production services, student affairs, academic excellence, and continuous improvement. As an advocate for student-first approaches and processes, Hinshaw's ethos revolves around monitoring and converting student feedback and achievement into actionable changes and eliminating barriers to continuing education. She is passionate about providing high-quality education in an accessible manner for adult learners. Hinshaw has worked in higher education for over 19 years and joined American College of Education in 2014, where she ascended the ranks, serving as the senior director of registration and student services, senior director of student operations, and assistant provost and vice president of student operations. Previously, Hinshaw worked as the director of admissions operation for Orbis Education, where she spearheaded admissions efforts for their accelerated online nursing programs and partners. She co-led the creation of their centralized admissions model. Before that, she served as an instructor, director of admissions, corporate director of admissions and marketing, and vice president of admissions for MedTech College. She received her MBA in marketing from Butler University and a bachelor's in journalism and public relations from Indiana University. Hinshaw is presently completing her Ed.D. in interdisciplinary leadership at Creighton University where she is researching the impacts of toxic leaders on their followers. She also attended Harvard's Graduate School of Education 2017 Women in Education Leadership conference and the Online Learning Consortium's 2019 Institute for Emerging Leaders in Online Learning, both programs are designed to help senior-level leaders advance their leadership practice and the field of education.

Extended Abstract

Great progress has been made in recent years highlighting the importance of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in our learning institutions.  Academic institutions have actively committed to DEI through campus-wide discussion, outreach, and awareness. Many institutions have begun implementing more strategic in hiring of diverse faculty and staff and have emphasized recruiting diverse students.  Many have created senior leadership positions with names such as “Chief Diversity Officer” and offices or departments whose primary role is to champion DEI initiatives across the institution. 

One of the early challenges that faces these champions is defining Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion as distinct but related concepts, each with varied goals, strategies, and practices both in the classroom and in the broader campus community.  Some early results of these efforts has been that our diverse students are increasingly valued, welcomed, and engaged.  

In some cases, however, these successful approaches do not easily translate to our online learners in our courses and programs.  In some cases, there may be institutional or practical barriers that prevent the natural spread of these important ideas to our online learning spaces.  As professionals with expertise in designing online learning experiences, teaching online, and preparing others to teach online, we have a key role in helping define, expand, and operationalize DEI in the online space.  

Please join us for a highly participatory discussion about how we can build diverse, equitable, and inclusive online learning experiences and communities. 

Session Interactivity

To establish shared language,  the session will begin with a 5-10 minute exercise to orient participants to the definitions of diversity, equity, and inclusion and a summary of some of the promising strategies and practices used on-ground in communities and institutions.  Participants will then participate in a 5-10 minute discussion of what DEI means in the online learning space, identifying some of the broad challenges in operationalizing DEI online, and highlighting important questions. 

The questions raised will be aligned and adapted into 5-8 facilitated breakout discussion groups. Topics for the breakout groups will include: 

  • Identifying the needs of our diverse students

  • Identifying inclusive online teaching practices

  • Developing quality rubrics to measure DEI in online course designs

  • Infusing DEI in the design and development process for online courses

  • Addressing DEI in faculty development

  • Identifying champions and resources on campus and making the case for DEI. 

After participants are assigned to a group based on topic preference, the facilitators for each group will share several challenge questions and invite participants to share their ideas, experiences, and expertise.  Each group will also be supported by a staff notetaker who will document the group’s collaborative efforts in a live document shared across the session. The small-group discussion will last approximately 20 minutes.  In the final 5-10 minutes of the session, groups will report back two important collective findings, ideas, or challenges to the entire session.  

Participants will leave the session with a link to the live session document that includes notes from each discussion group, the presentation materials, and an annotated list of resources provided by the presenters.

Session Goals

Individuals participating in this “Discussion Not Presentation” discussion will be able to:

  • Describe the value of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the online space. 

  • Identify challenges and opportunities particular to online learning students and learning environments.

  • Select and critique specific online design and delivery strategies for DEI.

  • Recommend and implement strategies for infusing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the online environments in their own institutions.