Diversity and Inclusion in the Online Classroom: Scenario Based Training

Concurrent Session 1 & 2 (combined)
Streamed Session Equity and Inclusion

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Session Materials

Brief Abstract

Join us as we examine diversity and inclusion considerations for the online learning environment, specifically the online classroom. Workshop participants will engage in hands-on diversity and inclusion scenario-based training and discussions, mirroring what one might do to increase awareness through scenarios embedded in faculty development.


Julie Hewitt, PhD, EdS, PMP, CSPO, CSM is a learning and technology advocate. She is available for consulting and contract work related to training and education programming, curricular and operational assessment, and project management. Hewitt has almost 20 years of experience among higher education, K12 education, and training and development in industry. Hewitt's research interests include faculty development, teaching and learning, course design, and technology. Most recently Hewitt was with UW-Platteville where her diverse knowledge and skills with online faculty and course management, assessment, and research were leveraged. Hewitt was the lead on the Online Faculty Academy (OFA) and was collaborating with others on the exploration of Open Educational Resources (OER) and affordability. Prior to UW-Platteville, she served as a part of campus administration as a Dean of Student Services. Hewitt also has experiences in higher education as an Academic Program Director, an online graduate adjunct faculty member, and a face-to-face undergraduate faculty member. Her prior work experiences extend to the corporate world as a business and training systems analyst for a large aerospace company and K-12 public education as a secondary education teacher, coach, and district technology coordinator. Hewitt is a member of the Online Learning Consortium (OLC), the eLearning Guild, Project Management Institute (PMI), and the Scrum Alliance.
I have been teaching in higher education, online and face-to-face, for about a decade and have recently began to work in the realm of online student support as well. I have also had experience in course design and online faculty development. In my role at UW-Platteville, I wear many hats so that our student support system and advising is robust and inclusive. I manage a team of eight advisors for online students and have also been involved in online faculty training facilitation at my institution. My doctoral degree is in anthropology and I am very passionate about access to education for all.

Extended Abstract

Won't you join us for this workshop? We will examine diversity and inclusion considerations for the online learning environment, specifically the online classroom. You will engage in hands-on diversity and inclusion scenario-based training and discussions, mirroring what one might do to increase awareness and positive action through scenarios embedded in faculty development. 

Workshop Outcomes

Upon completion of this workshop, you will be able to:

  1. Identify potential diversity or inclusion concerns with current course materials or interactions in an online learning environment
  2. Be proactive with considerations for diversity and inclusion during online course development and delivery
  3. Create action plans in response to diversity and inclusion situations which could arise or already exist in the online classroom
  4. Discuss how diversity and inclusion scenario-based training may be embedded in online faculty and staff development


Through a collaborative effort between the area which provides online faculty development and the Division of Diversity and Inclusion, a list of scenarios has been developed to increase awareness of situations which might arise in the online learning environment and online classroom. These scenarios have been embedded in courses and lessons within the Online Faculty Academy (OFA) program. The aim of the scenarios created is to increase awareness of faculty and other staff engaging with individuals at a distance or through technology mediated communications about how campus climate topics may present. Increasing the meaningfulness and relevance of the professional development activity, discussion and reflection on how one might address or improve upon the situation as described in the scenario is expected. Reference materials and electronic sources are provided as resources to faculty and staff as they work their scenarios and determine appropriate plans of action.

Notably regulations and policies have attention focused on accessibility for students with special needs or disabilities. With that accessibility topics such as captioning and the availability of typed transcripts have been at the forefront or atop the inclusivity list for many. We have gone beyond that alone looking at 15 areas to bring to the attention of faculty and staff through realistic scenarios. The scenarios created to date focused on the online classroom. These exercises have been the subject of positive feedback received through our end of course assessment and reflection activity. The presenters believe these concepts could be applied across all modalities supported with electronic media and interactions; instructors have noted the inherent value for on-going consideration as well.

  1. Ability
  2. Accessibility
  3. Age
  4. Citizenship
  5. Ethnicity
  6. Gender
  7. Linguistic Background
  8. Mental Health
  9. Misrepresentation
  10. Nationality
  11. Political Affiliation
  12. Pronoun Usage
  13. Race
  14. Sexuality
  15. Socio-economic Status

Workshop Agenda

  • Welcome and expectations (5 minutes)
  • Divide into groups and do introductions (10 minutes)
  • Review the 15 areas and scenarios provided (15 minutes)
  • Each group to choose three scenarios; discuss and determine action plan for each one selected. (30 minutes)
  • Group Report Outs (25 minutes)
    • Which Scenarios did your group choose?
    • Provide the action plan for one of them.
    • Highlight any 'aha' moments or points of differing perspective
  • Wrap-up (5 minutes)

References and handouts will be provided at session, in addition to a listing of electronic resources. Handouts will include area definitions, scenarios, worksheet for the group discussion and reporting out. A listing of electronic resources will be made available for a deeper dive into the topics covered.