Equitable Content and Assessment Design
The following is a tip for educators seeking more equitable course design. The material is available for use under Creative Commons License ShareALike (CC BY-SA 4.0). For more details, visit this instructional page.
While some students are comfortable with traditional course design, not all students thrive in this type of environment. When working to close the equity gap, it’s best to offer options for both instructional content and for assessments.
Consider offering a video alternative for written assessments. Students who are more comfortable speaking on camera will be able to submit their original ideas in video format rather than being limited to writing out their responses.
Here is sample language that can be used to achieve this:
“📹 Video Option: Consider filming your response!
- Instead of writing your reply, please consider filming your response
- Read this media submission support page for help”
When delivering instructional content, it’s best to offer the material in a variety of ways so that different types of learners can engage with the material.
Consider typing out lecture content as a transcript and recording the lecture as short audio clips. Then, offer both audio and written instructional material to the students. In this way, students who prefer to read have the option while students who prefer to listen also have that option.
Studies show that learners are most engaged when audio or video is presented in 4–7 minute clips. Whenever possible, break up your traditional hour-long lectures into a playlist of 4–7 minute long audio or clips.
The free app Soundcloud is an excellent fit for this type of instruction. To see how Soundcloud can be used see my introductory lecture, “Introduction to Anthropology” on Soundcloud. Please note that I always offer a transcript for this material on Canvas to accompany the audio clips.
When lessons are offered in this podcast style, students can listen to the course material when they are doing the dishes, commuting to work, or at the grocery store. Integrating learning into their daily lives makes higher education more achievable and equitable for students with competing priorities.