Teaching for Equity and Empathy
During our emergency transition to remote instruction considerations of empathy and equity may have taken a back seat to more pressing concerns such as creating lecture videos and identifying methods for administering assessments online, among a myriad of other technical and logistical challenges. As we prepare for summer and beyond, however, it is vital that we consider students’ experiences and endeavor to a) proceed from an empathic, compassionate stance, and b) promote an equitable learning environment for all students. Many students would prefer to learn in a face-to-face environment this summer, but in order to stay on track for graduation they will be taking courses online. It’s up to us to ensure that they have the best learning experience possible.
A recent webinar titled Bridging the Digital Divide: Teaching for Equity and Empathy in the Wake of COVID-19 offers helpful insights for faculty new to teaching online. Anna Carlin, our Instructional Tech Librarian, had this to say about the webinar:
Listening to the specific stories in this webinar about students’ struggle trying to engage in higher education with limited technology under normal circumstances was a powerful reminder to me that we need to be understanding and empathetic during this crazy rapid shift to online and remote learning. The presenter’s past research helps inform about the reality of what our students may be dealing with in terms of internet and device access. Even though the research wasn’t done here, the numbers of students with limited technology could be even worse at FGCU. There are good recommendations in the webinar and accompanying materials on how to make universal accommodations for all students in order to even the playing field and not put vulnerable students further behind. I also appreciated the message that we (faculty) are struggling too! Taking care of the whole person is important for learning and we need to take care of ourselves and others right now.
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