Preparing for a More Inclusive Course
Welcome! This book was completed as part of a broader eCampusOntario project around improving and expanding inclusive teaching practices. Both authors have been working on these and related issues for many years, contributing to both evolving cultural practices in classrooms and research spaces to make higher education environments more welcoming. We have also helped develop, test, and implement policies intended to achieve those goals.
Over time, our approaches have evolved extensively, and they continue to do so. We have embraced opportunities to learn from students, colleagues, and those with different experiences from ours. More importantly, expertise is a journey and not a destination. Our views and knowledge of ways we can be more effective at inclusive teaching continue to evolve quickly. That rate of evolution hasn’t slowed, we don’t expect it will, and we wouldn’t want it to do so in any event.
We acknowledge that there can be risks in the work of inclusion. Some students or colleagues may not trust that you mean to do it sincerely, or they may view you as a person with too much privilege to ever really know what it feels like to be marginalized. Yet, being an ally to those with less privilege, especially in the already-inequitable environment of a university or college course, is surely worth the occasional difficult conversation. Over time, we have found that people begin to trust the sincerity of efforts around inclusion more and more. There are exceptions, of course, as in any human enterprise, and doing the best work we can as educators should never be met with intolerance. That intolerance is, in our experience, very rare, if not unprecedented. As you engage and expand in your work, find your allies from among people who are trying to solve problems.
Other books in the inclusive teaching series
Making Lab Based Courses Inclusive, by Allyson MacLean
You can contact Dr. Allyson MacLean (amaclea3@uOttawa.ca) if you have questions about the related resources. We’d also love to hear if you use any of the suggestions herein.
This project is made possible with funding by the Government of Ontario and through eCampusOntario’s support of the Virtual Learning Strategy. eCampusOntario is a not-for-profit corporation funded by the Government of Ontario. It serves as a centre of excellence in online and technology-enabled learning for all publicly funded colleges and universities in Ontario and has embarked on a bold mission to widen access to post-secondary education and training in Ontario. This textbook is part of eCampusOntario’s Open Library, which provides free learning resources in a wide range of subject areas. These open textbooks can be assigned by instructors for their classes and can be downloaded by learners to electronic devices or printed. These free and open educational resources are customizable to meet a wide range of learning needs, and we invite instructors to review and adopt the resources for use in their courses.
About the authors
Alison Flynn is the Associate Vice-Provost (Academic Affairs) at the University of Ottawa and Professor in the Department of Chemistry & Biomolecular Sciences. FlynnResearchGroup.com
Jeremy Kerr is a Professor of Biology and University of Ottawa Research Chair in Macroecology & Conservation. Macroecology.ca
Thank you and thank you some more to the students, colleagues, friends, and family we’ve been able to learn from along the way. And we are still learning!
Thank you to project team members Allyson MacLean and Jaclyn Brusso. We are grateful to the support from uOttawa’s Teaching and Learning Support Service, librarians, and many others who advised on the project along the way.