Embedding for Equity: Integrating Writing and Research Supports into the Curriculum

Streamed Session Equity and Inclusion

Brief Abstract

Join us for an interactive experience supporting nontraditional online students with writing and research skills. Learn how we leverage embedded writing and research resources in the curriculum to support nontraditional student outcomes, foster an equitable online environment, and cultivate a Culture of Care.

Extended Abstract

Traditionally, student supports for writing and research are seen as separate entities from the academic classroom, provided to support students experiencing coursework challenges. Some students independently seek assistance from the library or writing center as needed, either virtually or on campus; however, other students may be hesitant to utilize learning supports for various reasons. Since both course content and learning supports are critical to an academic institution, we embrace the idea of integrating learning supports into online curriculum at points of need and from a holistic standpoint that acknowledges the writing and research process as iterative and inseparable. This presentation will open a conversation about how student writing and research supports are part of the curriculum, not separate services. This practice supports equity and inclusion in the online classroom as part of creating a Culture of Care.

The majority of our university's student body are nontraditional students, primarily women (70%) and minorities (60%), with an average age of 30-40. Many work full-time jobs and fit school in when they can. Many are first-generation college students, many are active military, and most qualify for Pell grants. Our students juggle a lot, and the learning curve coming into an online classroom can be steep. Entering the college environment as a developing writer and researcher presents challenges for nontraditional students. Further complicating these challenges, some concepts in writing and research can fall into the “hidden curriculum” category: skills that students are expected to know yet not explicitly taught. By embedding these supports at the point of need, each student has access to the necessary tools to build these “hidden” skills. Additionally, by embedding learning supports directly in the course, instructors can create meaningful and empathetic connections with students based on where they are in their development as emerging writers and researchers.

By embedding resources at the point of need within the curriculum, students can seek help anonymously and effortlessly with the access provided by student support and curriculum integration. This ease of access can be a boon for students who are less likely to seek out help independently or at the advice of an instructor.

Writing and research are part of the process of learning subject-specific content. Our resources are scalable for multidisciplinary courses and help level the playing field in all subjects. This integration creates greater equity and improves retention, particularly for nontraditional students, emerging writers, and researchers who need additional support. For adult learners, in particular, this practice can help build confidence with writing and research within the context of their individual fields.


During the interactive presentation, participants will learn about nontraditional student challenges with writing and research, as well as the use and integration of learning supports to build a more equitable online classroom. Attendees will view samples of our online writing and library resources, such as downloadable infographics, interactive tutorials, HTML announcements, and discussion posts with embedded video supports. The presentation will illustrate where these resources can be incorporated within the curriculum and discuss the methodology and rationale behind embedding resources to support student equity in the online classroom.

Session Goals:

From this presentation, attendees will understand how to embed writing and research resources in the curriculum and the rationale for how this will better support student outcomes, build equity and establish an empathetic framework in their courses.