Overarching guiding principle: It is important to begin all planning with an inclusivity and equity mindset, that is, asking “How can I structure my class and its activities so that all students can learn and feel a sense of belonging?”

Preliminary Practices

1. Ensure access to course and materials
  • Assess students’ equipment and connectivity to ensure access.
    • Assess your students' access but also open the discussion for questions about other potential supports that may be necessary and identify needs for adapting based on individual circumstances.
    • Be prepared to connect to student support resources locally and at the institutional level.
  • Consider access to resources necessary for course activities and assignments.
    • Asynchronous learning opportunities generally support the broadest range of circumstances.
  • Check on any needs for accommodation due to disability.
2. Develop awareness of the range of students' situations
  • Be sensitive to variations in social context (where the learning is to occur, especially if synchronous; e.g., home activity, shared bandwidth, time zone).
  • Be sensitive to disparate life situations and impact of covid on students (e.g., financial resources, family responsibilities).
  • Have a communication plan for teaching through times of disruption.
3. Revisit learning outcomes and assessment options in the online environment

Consider consultation with the UVA Center for Teaching Excellence.

Planning Class

4. Double down on the fundamentals
  • Provide more structure and communication rather than less while allowing more flexibility rather than less.
  • Revisit learning outcomes and assessment criteria in the environment.
  • Communicate frequently.
  • Request feedback regularly.
5. Set the tone for inclusivity and equity

Create an authentic learning environment.

6. Establish principles of engagement
  • Mutually set expectations for how we will interact with one another.
    • Through first group discussion/chat activity put up a basic set of class norms and seek input to have people clarify what that means for them and what they would add for norms for this class.
    • Use these examples and readings as a potential starting point.
    • Include expectations for confidentiality.
  • Articulate and reinforce SON values (“We are a community of compassion and respect…”).
7. Humanize the learning environment
  • Get to know one another on a human level.
  • Build trust and rapport through authenticity.
    • Allow room for Brave Space, underscoring mutual respect and goodwill. Definitions and historical context of safe spaces and brave spaces.
    • Invite everyone into the process.
    • Model and affirm anyone who speaks.
    • Create a space where diversity is affirmed.
  • Faculty - share self as a person, learn who is in your class.
  • Allow people to be their true selves, acknowledging that we all have multiple, intersecting identities.
  • Use names when possible, preferred pronouns.
    • Offer opportunity to include these in individual’s Zoom name. You can do this by clicking on “Rename”. Always an invitation and not a requirement.
  • Recognize the moment-- do not pretend that the “outside world” does not come into the learning environment.
  • Anticipate, acknowledge, and balance the emotional with the cognitive components of learning in this moment and environment.
8. Build community by building connections

8. Build community by building connections (between students and faculty; between students). Beyond access and the features of technology to be used in the class, a significant focus should be how to build relationships at a distance.

9. Curate class materials to demonstrate diversity of people and perspectives

Review course content, activity, assignments.

10. Offer alternatives to demonstrate mastery of course content
  • Consider diverse ways that learning objectives can be met.
  • Invite co-creation of assignments, readings, discussions, etc.
11. Avoid potential pitfalls that may deter inclusivity