Inclusive Teaching

Guidelines for Inclusive Teaching

(Faculty of Arts Diversity and Inclusion Committee, 22 July 2020)

We applaud the tremendous effort of our colleagues within the Faculty to ensure that our students could continue their studies and have the necessary support to do so as we moved our teaching and learning online. We will be continuing to call on the expertise of our colleagues and University provisions to support learning and teaching through these challenging times, and we hope you will do so too.

Below are a few considerations we believe it is important to be mindful of as we continue online and blended teaching to try to ensure that no one feels excluded.

We encourage that colleagues:

  • Be empathetic and understanding of the unique challenges being faced at this time, and the effect of uncertainty on staff and student wellbeing.
  • Aim to promote help-seeking behaviours and ensure all staff and students are clear and informed on where to go to for support. While the university is providing information, this can be overwhelming for students to keep up with and should be reinforced in individual units.
  • Provide orientation to new teaching approaches for students, to reduce anxiety about the new models of learning, assessment, and technology that are being put in place.
  • Acknowledge that the move to online teaching is going to impact different students in different ways and it is important to acknowledge that certain demographics of our students will be harder hit than others by the changes.
  • Be aware of potential gaps in computer literacy, digital skills, and access to requisite technology. These gaps are disproportionately experienced by students from low socio-economic backgrounds and in other groups such as students (and staff) with a disability.
  • Ensure that any recommended reasonable adjustments that are requested are implemented for students.Where these issues arise from students or staff having limited access to technology or other access challenges, discuss strategies and alternatives with:
    • Accessibility Service (wellbeing@mq.edu.au) to ensure that the needs of students can be accommodated and adjust teaching materials or assessments, as necessary.
    • Departmental Learning and Teaching directors, or alternatively the Faculty’s Associate Deans for Learning and Teaching and Quality and Standards
  • Where possible, offering students flexibility, in alignment with Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles, will continue to cater to different learning styles and student engagement, using different and varying methods (e.g. audio, visual, interactive, verbal techniques).
  • Be conscious that student's availability may have changed/may change, whether due to carer responsibilities, access to technology, or other circumstances.
  • As far as possible, be flexible in models of participation, and consider having asynchronous options available.
  • Feel free to acknowledge being human and having limitations – and that the extraordinary circumstances are challenging for teaching staff as well as for students. During this period of remote working and in online teaching, we look to be respectful, patient and empathetic in our interactions with others, and we can expect the same patience and respectfulness in turn.