Welcome to Episode 53 of the Think UDL podcast: Inclusive Practices Include UDL with Amanda Jungels. Dr. Amanda Jungels is the Associate Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence at Rice University in Houston, TX. Amanda, along with Dr. Chandani Patel and a fabulous team of educational developers created a free EdX course entitled Inclusive Teaching: Supporting All Students in the Classroom. As I was making my way through the course myself, I knew I needed to interview the creators because of the emphasis on UDL in the course. I was so glad that Amanda Jungels was gracious enough to answer my questions and spend some time explaining the connections between inclusive practices and Universal Design for Learning principles. In today’s mega-episode, we get a really great understanding of how UDL is so important for and intertwined with equity and inclusion work. We will talk about learning as as social act, what engagement means through an equity and inclusion lens, and we will also bring in some educational tools. Then we will look at representation and talk about vulnerability, culturally responsive strategies, bringing context to content, why metaphors matter, examine the language we use and even explore what that means in various disciplines from STEM to art history. And finally, we take a look at inclusive assessments and why we should explore upgrading, specifications grading, and what grading for equity might look like. It is a jam-packed conversation and I think many will find something new and helpful, and maybe even revolutionary, with regard to design thinking, in our discussion today.
Follow Amanda Jungels on Twitter @amanda_jungels
EdX Course: Inclusive Teaching: Supporting All Students in the Classroom
We mention the great work of DerekBruff and you can follow his blog linked to his name, on Twitter @DerekBruff, or see what he is doing at Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching
On the Problem and Promise of Metaphor Use in Science and Science Communication by Cynthia Taylor and Brian M. Dewsbury
Becoming a Critically Reflective Teacher 92nd Edition) by Stephen Brookfileld
TILT- Teaching and Learning in Higher Education
Grading for Equity by Joe Feldman
Ungrading: Why Rating Students Undermines Learning by Susan Blum
This transcript was auto-generated and may have errors. A corrected transcript will be posted as soon as possible.
Lillian Nave 00:00
Welcome to think UDL, the universal design for learning podcast where we hear from the people who are designing and implementing strategies with learner variability in mind. I’m your host, Lillian Nave. And I’m interested in not just what you’re teaching, learning, guiding and facilitating, but how you design and implement it and why it even matters. Welcome to Episode 53 of the think UDL podcast. inclusive practices include UDL with Amanda Jungels. Dr. Amanda Jungles is the Associate Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence at Rice University in Houston, Texas. Amanda along with Dr. chandani Patel, and a fabulous team of educational developers created a free edX course entitled inclusive teaching, supporting all students in the classroom. As I was making my way through this course myself, I knew I needed to interview the creators because of the emphasis on UDL in the course, I was so glad that Amanda jungels was gracious enough to answer my questions, and spend some time explaining the connections between inclusive practices, and universal design for learning principles. In today’s mega episode, we get a really great understanding of how UDL is so important for and intertwined with equity and inclusion work. We will talk about learning as a social act, what engagement means through an equity and inclusion lens. And we will also bring in some educational tools, then we will look at representation and talk about vulnerability, culturally responsive strategies, bringing context to content, why metaphors matter. We’ll examine the language reuse, and even explore what that means in various disciplines from stem to art history. And finally, we take a look at inclusive assessments and why we should explore on grading, specifications grading and what grading for equity might look like. It is a jam packed conversation, and I think many will find something new and helpful, and maybe even revolutionary with regard to design thinking in our discussion today. Thank you, Amanda, for joining me on the think UDL podcast today.
Amanda Jungels 02:42
Thank you, thanks for having me, I’m really excited for this conversation.
Lillian Nave 02:45
Great. And I came into contact with your work on the edX course, about inclusive education. And we’re gonna have a link to that, too, on our web page. And we’re gonna be talking about that today, but wanted to talk to you about so many parts that went into this fantastic course that’s helping quite a few folks on Twitter. I’ve seen so many people have completed it. And it’s been really helpful. But of course, I’m going to start out with my first question I asked all my guests, and that is what makes you a different kind of learner.
Amanda Jungels 03:24
I love this question. I just have to tell you, though, it was kind of a stumper for me. I’ve been thinking about it since you sent me the questions and having heard episodes, where you asked folks about how they are different kinds of learners. So I think the way I’m a different kind of learner is, and I don’t know, I don’t know if other people have this experience and learning. But I think as I have gotten older, how I learn has changed a lot. So I know like in college and graduate school reinforced the notion of doing a lot of work independently, right, working on your own studying on your own, that a lot, so much of your work is independent and not collaborative in those environments. But I think as I get older, I appreciate more and more learning from other people talking about things with other people. And I’m a sociologist by training. So maybe I should have been thinking about this all along, but really like learning as a social act, and the benefits that you get from doing learning in a group and learning from other people. So I think I think that’s how I would characterize myself as a different kind of learner is acknowledging how much my learning has changed over the years.
Lillian Nave 04:27
Wow, I must say, one of the things I’m really interested in is the intercultural competencies, and how what you just said really has shone a light on how I changed in my teaching to where, like you, I was super individual. I thought it was cheating. If I had talked to anybody. Yes, honestly. Yeah. So and I’m now learning that’s really a cultural construct that we have, and my goodness as I’m getting older I feel like it is not knowledge, but some wisdom that is coming down about learning from other people and with other people. And it’s just not the way I was taught. It’s just not what I thought I was competitive, I was individualistic. And I thought maybe if I were talking to other people that might hurt my learning, like migraine would go down or something. And I feel like so I feel like I’m on a similar journey with, with what you’re talking about. And, Wow, my life is so much better when I’m learning from other people.
Amanda Jungels 05:37
Yeah, and I think even I think about, like the experience of when I was in college, and the the college I attended was relatively small. So we didn’t have you know, large classes, like 500 people, but even some smaller lecture classes of just thinking, like, I don’t want a discussion, you know, with these people who are in the same position as me, I want to learn from the teacher, like you’re here just lecture to me, and how much that how much my perspective on that has changed and really valuing, you know, the other experiences from other students in the room, whether they’re my students, as an instructor, or professor, or, you know, folks in workshops that I’ve done, or whatever, that everyone is bringing something really valuable to the table. And there’s a lot of benefit from learning from everyone in the room and not just, you know, the quote, unquote, sage on the stage, right? That everyone is bringing something really important.
Lillian Nave 06:24
Yes. And I remember thinking, I am not getting what I paid for, or something like if the teachers not lecturing the whole time, like I need to be hearing from this one person who has the degrees. Yeah, and who has the right perspective. And I felt like, that’s the only way it should be. And it’s only recently that I’m understanding how a much more nuanced understanding of a topic I can get if I’m soliciting lots of information. And I find pushback to in my teaching, where I see now my role is more of a facilitator of educational experiences, rather than that lecture, and I’ve got students who are like, Hello, I’m paying for this, or my parents are paying for this, somebody’s paying for it. And I, I expect you to be, you know, doling out this wisdom, I don’t need to hear from Freddie, you know, and his experience, I need to hear from you. And it’s just a big change in my understanding of how we learn and what in and how we can get so much more out of it. Yeah. So I see that you and your partners who created this course had that in mind, for sure.
Amanda Jungels 07:36
Yeah, we definitely, we definitely did. And I think it was definitely a group, it would not have happened if it had not been a collaborative group project. So I think, you know, we tried to apply that logic of like, what can we learn from each other? What can we learn from our audience? What can we learn from the faculty that we work with, and tried to bring that mindset and hopefully, that kind of shows through, right, the idea that we can all learn from each other no matter what kind of educational context you’re in or where you are in your career, there’s always benefit and value to that.
Lillian Nave 08:04
Right. Right. And, and we learn by doing and, and modeling that or seeing that model, too. So it’s one thing to say, you need to learn from other voices in the room, but I’m going to be the only one talking. Right. And another thing to say, I want to hear from you, and you and you and we need to add your voice in so we can all listen.
Yeah, exactly. Okay. Okay.
Lillian Nave 08:27
So all right. So Wow, that was a little detour. But I was so excited to hear to hear your answer about what makes you a different learner. It really resonated with me. But I want to talk about this course, which is inclusive teaching, supporting all students in the classroom, which is now on the edX platform. Yes, people can take and that you helped develop with several of your colleagues. And I was so happy to see that UDL plays a significant role in this course. And I wanted to know, why is it that you and your team decided that UDL was going to play such a large role in this course, which doesn’t have UDL in it, and the title, it’s inclusive teaching, but you have a significant amount of time and space dedicated to it. So what brought that?
Amanda Jungels 09:14
So we started developing the MOOC. So this is a MOOC created by the Center for Teaching and Learning at Columbia University. So my co instructor, Dr. chandini, Patel and I were both assistant directors in the center at the time. And we started developing the MOOC based on a guide for inclusive teaching we’d created in the CTL, like maybe a year or two before that. And that was really just like a written guide for the faculty and graduate student instructors at Columbia who wanted to think more deeply about how to do inclusive teaching in their classrooms, you know, a little bit of theory and foundational and then some apply strategies that they could take in use. And that was really the first time I remember learning about UDL, really thinking about it as a framework for inclusivity. So for me, it had always been part of that framework right of like that UDL was a part of a larger conversation about inclusivity. Versus I think, the way some folks that I’ve talked to have come to it, where they start with UDL, and then start thinking about it more capacious Lee and more broadly. So when we started working on the course chandini, and I, who’s now the Director of Global Diversity education at NYU, so we wanted to use UDL as a guiding framework for a number of reasons. First, we really liked that it’s written in accessible and understandable language. We really like that it’s evidence based, and it’s backed by research on learning science and cognitive psychology. That’s really I have found, you know, in my career, that that’s really persuasive. For people who might question, you know, why we need to do this work? Or what’s the value of doing this, you know, faculty at research intensive universities love evidence, and love to be shown why it matters,
Lillian Nave 10:53
they want to see the read, they want to see the research.
Amanda Jungels 10:55
Yep. And as I mentioned, it’s really it’s, I find that it’s a flexible framework. So it allows us to think about diversity in really broad and intersectional ways, not just about, you know, let’s think about diversity from a race and ethnicity perspective, or gender or, you know, disability and ability in the classroom. I think it’s helpful because it, because it’s so broad, it can apply across different teaching contexts. So, you know, it’s not discipline specific, it’s not something that’s really only works if you work at a community college or only works. If you work at a research intensive University, it applies to all learning at all levels. And because of that, a wide range of people can use it. So faculty members, you know, educational developers, learning designers, instructional designers, university leadership, I know have had been using DNA UDL to think about, you know, decisions that they’re making, especially in like the COVID era about like, what technology are we going to use for remote learning? And like, Can we caption these videos that we’re faculty are making? Can we make sure that they’re accessible to a broad range of people? So that was sort of what we had in mind when we decided to emphasize UDL, and we have an entire module in the course dedicated to UDL. But I hope that as folks take the course, they’re able to see like how we brought that mentality and approach to all of the different modules, whether you’re thinking about accessibility specifically, or like how you set expectations for your students, and how, you know, there is like a significant overlap between UDL, specifically, and then these kind of other ways of thinking about being inclusive in the classroom.
Lillian Nave 12:31
Yeah, I must say that I am currently taking the course too, and have been for a while because I am an inclusive excellence liaison for my college in the larger university. And so that’s one of our initiatives. And that’s how I got into it and found out about you and chantenay Patel, and wanted to interview you guys. And so I’m so glad you’re able to talk to me. And I wanted to say yes, that you said I hope that the UDL also shows up in all the other places, not just the titled UDL section. And I want to say yes, it does, because of the modes that you you use. First of all, it’s very accessible. All of the videos, and there’s a lot of video, there’s not a lot of texts, there’s not a block of text all the time, lots of accessible videos with captions, and lots of user choice and interface. Plus, just like we just mentioned, it’s not just one person lecturing, you’ve got a crew of a diverse group of people from all over the country who have been doing this work. And so you’re hearing diverse perspectives. And wow, isn’t that great about an online course, that you can end in an asynchronous one is that we can pull these perspectives and show them at different times, and people can access it. And it’s not just show up in a room with the one person you’ve got all of these voices that are actually producing the content, not just one person telling you about other people, but other lots of people telling about them. So
Amanda Jungels 14:06
yeah, we, we, I have to thank our team, you know, learning designers and assistant directors and associate directors and directors that help us to put the movie together. But also, you know, we did interview a lot of great people, and I think their work makes the movie a success, right? Like we wouldn’t exist if we hadn’t been able to get all these great people to, you know, essentially donate their time and their expertise to talk about these various issues. And I think you see that they’re also thinking
Amanda Jungels 14:34
in really broad ways as well, right? It’s not just like, Oh, well in my class in my discipline. I have this very specific they’re all thinking about it really capacious Lee and, and broadly, and I think that that’s really helpful. So thank you. I’m glad that I’m glad that it’s working. I’m glad that folks are using I think when I looked this morning, we had over 10,000 people enrolled in the course which is only it’s only been up for you know, slightly over a year. Maybe a year and a half now. So, yeah, I think I think that’s great.
Lillian Nave 15:03
Yeah, it’s, it was really impressive, because there was, there was also just a lot of experience in, in each of those people that were giving their ideas or their kind of mini lectures and also love that they were not long lectures, they were all short, you had a great description, captions transcript. So you, but you also got to see each of these people and their diverse and talked about the diversity of learners in race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, sexual preference, disability, you know, if you weren’t just choosing one small focus in your course. And I really appreciated how you brought in that variability of alternatives.
Amanda Jungels 15:56
Yeah, thank you. Thank you. Yeah, I think we worked really hard to bring in a broad range of folks from various experiences, from different institutions, they have different educational backgrounds, themselves in terms of like, whether they were educated in the United States or not, the kinds of institutions that they teach at, and I think, having, you know, seen all of the interviews, which were sometimes you know, a couple of hours long, even though we might have only used, you know, small pieces, I’m sure this happens with your podcast, too, you know, you record a longer interview, and it gets kind of chopped apart and into pieces. But I think for me, the the piece that stood out was having seen all of it, how much similarity there was, like, there may be nuance in their answers, but a lot of it is about like, you know, all of them said, you know, an essential part of being an inclusive instructor is like getting to know your students. Across the board, they all said that none of them said, like, I don’t think it’s worth it to get to know your students, you know, so I think I think indicates that, like there are these, even though we might be all at different institutions, or different disciplines, or different kinds of positions in our institutions, there are kind of these key ways of building an inclusive classroom, that overarch, all of that, right. And hopefully, that comes through when we when we look at all the different experts that we interview. And again, thank you to them for dedicating their time and energy and coming to New York, many of you know, most of them were not in New York, so they had to fly out.
Lillian Nave 17:20
Yeah, it was great. Just fantastic. You know, in in doing this work, I find how generous people are, I get to see so many wonderful people giving of themselves and it’s so it’s so rewarding, just for me to be around. Yeah,
Lillian Nave 17:33
sure you’re finding. So okay, my next question about that is, as you’re planning and designing this with your team, who are the students you have in mind when you created this course, that you want to be included? Who is included in your definition of diversity?
Amanda Jungels 17:50
So I think when when chansey and I were developing the course and really thinking about the content, and you know, not just the content written on the edX pages, but the videos and who we wanted to invite in as experts, I think we tried to take a really broad definition of, you know, what we think of as a quote unquote, diverse student, keeping in mind that like people are necessarily diverse, and that there sometimes is, there’s some things or issues when we label people as being diverse because of their identities, right? That like, it’s always contextual. So I think we tried to keep that broad and contextual definition knowing that, you know, different institutions divine define diversity differently, you know, because of what their populations are. So, for us, I think, personally and professionally, we both tend to focus on groups that are historically underrepresented in higher education. So that would include, you know, students with disabilities, first generation students, low income students, students of color, LGBTQ plus students, international students, depending on the institution. So I think that’s where we sort of started. And then we also tried to think about diversity in terms of students prior levels of experience, right, they’re coming in with different levels of preparation, they’re coming in with different skills, abilities, knowledge, you know, some students have disabilities or impairments that faculty need to consider. So we wanted to sort of think, really broadly, I think the other way that we wanted to think about that was to encourage faculty to think about their students broadly and to think about, you know, separating their own experiences of higher education or how they were a students from how their students might be, and how, you know, these differences in students really dramatically impact how they feel about the classroom and how they feel included, whether or not they feel they belong. And that that sense of belonging is really critical for students learning. And if we’re concerned about students learning, which I would hope we all are, then we have to think about that, you know, bringing them in and including them in into the classroom. And I think Lastly, we wanted them to think about their teaching and their students from an intersectional lens, right so not thinking about like, you know, just Men in the classroom but acknowledging that men, you know, from different races and different ethnic groups, or different nationalities have different experiences that just that blanket, you know, men or women is not necessarily they’re not necessarily helpful categories to apply, but really thinking about it from an intersectional. lens.
Lillian Nave 20:17
Yeah, that helps us to really break down any stereotypes we might have to, when we begin to think of the whole student. I mean, I’m seeing so much in your answers that’s about care, and understanding, and seeing students as whole people, that is certainly a theme that comes up on this podcast a lot. And what what I really liked about the content of the course, is that you are you, you have in the mind of these of your developers there, that we need to bring out all of these wonderful characteristics of our students, and they are valued, and we need to value that not just, let’s say gloss over it, or, or ignore it, right, we need to value that as an important part of who our students are and what our teaching is.
Amanda Jungels 21:10
Yeah, and I think I think that’s really critical, right, is thinking about what the benefit of diversity is right? And like, the ways you know, I mean, I think this relates back to, to my answer about sort of my experience of learning as a social act is that it does enhance learning, when students learn from each other, when students get to connect, what they’re learning in class of their own, you know, lived experience, their personal experience, what, what individual motivators, they have intrinsic motivation, they’re getting out of learning the content. And that only comes when we allow the students to be whole people, right, and acknowledge that, like, we can’t expect them to leave these parts of their identities at the door. We shouldn’t expect we can’t expect that. And we shouldn’t expect that right, that there are real benefits from for the student. And for us, as you know, academics and intellectuals and, you know, instructors to think about how we can bring that in and really have it be a benefit to the class without making students feel tokenized are like, Oh, you know, I’m only being valued because I bring quote, unquote, diversity, that that’s not great, either. One of the things that I wanted to mention that I think helps, you know, this broad definition of inclusivity, or diversity and who were thinking about when we were developing the course is that it allows faculty to really think about their classes. And inclusivity is like being on a continuum, right? That like, you can range from being, you know, very inclusive to very unintrusive. It’s not a binary where you like perfect your inclusive teaching, and you’re perfectly inclusive for everyone forever, for all time, right for every student forever, that you know, the experience in your class changes for different students and what some students find inclusive, other students might find marginalizing, you know, that might depend on like, how the discussion goes on a given day, or what content being covered or you know, what’s happening in the outside world and whether or not that’s being addressed in class. And so I think, you know, what I like to think about, and I think chandani would agree when we focus on these historically underrepresented groups that we’re thinking about, you know, those students experiences not just in the classroom, but in the wider world outside, right, the campus, but also just, you know, the state, the country, the county, the world that they’re living in, and whose voices are marginalized, most often, and how does that change or not change when you get into the classroom?
Lillian Nave 23:33
Yeah, I’ve found it so instructive for other students to hear those stories. And let me just say, first, so instructive for me, and then also for other students. And I am very lucky, because my newest class that I just started is about intercultural competence. And so we are learning about different cultures, and hearing how people move through their own culture, understand others. And knowing Wow, I didn’t realize that what I said or what I did could be completely offensive, or could really be aggressive, right? So because of different cultures, and we don’t have to go to another country to see another culture. So just in the ways that we have verbal and nonverbal communication is is a way that we can include or exclude others, and I’m just learning so much about it and learning from my students every every day when they’re telling me about this. So I wanted to ask specifically to cut several questions about universal design for learning and your class. So what are some of the ways that UDL can make a course inclusive with regard to engaging students? What are some engagement techniques that will create an inclusive environment? And if you’ve got examples or case studies, I’d love to hear them.
Amanda Jungels 24:58
Great. So I think The way I I like to conceptualize engagement and I think the way we talk about it in the course is to think about how an engagement is really about making the material relevant for students, or, you know, and maybe at best equipping them with skills to take charge of their own learning and be able to, like make meaning out of the course content on their own right, make those connections, on their own between, you know, their own intrinsic motivation, maybe it’s, you know, I need to take this class, because I want to be, I’m a pre med major, and I need it in order to go to medical school, or maybe I’m just really interested in this, or whatever the reason might be that, you know, if you take motivation, and make that internal motivation, and then add relevance for the students, so they can see why those pieces connect together, that that’s how you engage students. The tricky part is that there is no one way to engage all students, right, one thing is unlikely to work with every single student. And I think and this will all come back to this when I talk about my example in just a second. But I think, you know, as we’ve made the shift during the pandemic, to remote teaching, I think faculty have really faculty and instructors have really had to grapple with the techniques that they’ve used in the past, you know, maybe not working at all anymore in the zoom era, or the, you know, WebEx era or whatever. But also that right, you know, they might just, they might not work at all, but they also might work in different ways, and different students might find different things impactful now. So I find, you know, one, I guess the biggest suggestion I would have for folks, if they’re thinking about like, Well, how do I even learn this information? Like, how am I supposed to know, what motivates my students, or how it’s relevant to them, is to ask the students, and I, you know, I think what a great What a great idea what a revolutionary concept. So I think, you know, you can ask students, it doesn’t have to be, you know, an intensive, long survey, they can just answer questions like, why they’re taking the course? Or what are they hoping to learn from the course? Or you could even ask, like, what kinds of activities do they think help their learning, right? So some students might say, like, I really find good work. Great, it helps me a lot. Or if I had been your student, when I was in college, I might have said, like, don’t put me in groups, I don’t want to learn from these knuckleheads, like, I want to learn from you, right. And so I think if you if you ask those questions, and then use that information to help shape the course, whether that’s, you know, the content of the course, or assessments, or the examples that you bring into class, I think that’s really impactful for students to see that, you know, what they answered on the survey matter to you, first of all, right, that you actually read the survey responses, it wasn’t just this exercise, where you’re demonstrating that you care, but you don’t actually do anything with it. But then using that information to really help students find their motivation, help them find the relevance. And then over the course of the term, hopefully, you’re helping them to build the skills, so they can make those connections between what they want and what the course is teaching them, what they want to get out of the course. And with the courses, teaching them, they can make those connections themselves without you having to do it as explicitly. You know, in terms of engagement, when you when you ask about a case study, I think the first thing that I thought of was about participation, and so like what does it mean to participate in class? Because I think, if you would ask the average faculty member like that’s how they would judge engagement would be who’s who’s answering questions, who’s speaking up during discussion, those sorts of things. And so I like to ask faculty, like, what does it mean to participate in class does speaking out? Is it speaking out loud? Does it matter? What the student says? Is that the substance so they can speak? But what if it’s irrelevant? Or what if it’s a tangent or whatever? You know, that there are lots of reasons students might choose not to participate? So, you know, we know as you mentioned, like there’s different cultural norms around the classroom space, and whether or not verbal communication is warranted or wanted or desired cognitive processing abilities, you know, maybe students need more time before they can answer a question. And if you give them three seconds to answer, that’s not enough time and the students with faster cognitive processing skills or who are more prepared or whatever, are going to jump in and the other students never get the chance to and so why bother even considering the question? Right, by the time I’ve heard the question, it’s been answered, and we’ve moved on. You know, I think students who are introverted, you know, they might be less likely to participate in class. So I think they’re, you know, and,
you know, I
Amanda Jungels 29:27
could go on and on about, like, all the reasons why students might not want to participate in class. And I think, in the zoom era, we’ve learned even more, right, because like, my mom’s in the background, or my younger brothers and sisters are taking their classes in the same room as me, right? Like, there’s all sorts of stuff going on, that students might not want to be unmuted or on camera. But that doesn’t mean that those students aren’t engaged. Right or that there are other ways that you can engage them. So what I you know, have been helping faculty to think about pre COVID pre pandemic and now is what are some of those ways that they can engage students, so You know, maybe they’re small group work where you could assign roles so that folks know exactly what the expectations are when they get in those groups. think pair share. So that technique is, I don’t know if it’s come up on your on your podcast before, but I’ll describe it just in case. So you would essentially give students a question. In an in person class, you would ask them to, like turn to a partner or turn to someone near them. Talk about, you know, how they would answer the question. And then they would share back out and you might ask, like, maybe one or two pairs, depending on the size of the class to share what their responses were. That is a little trickier to do in zoom. But you know, you can still do group breakouts and do collaborative notes documents, you know, looking like you mentioned just a moment ago, the kind of nonverbal communication, are students taking notes? Are they making eye contact? Like, there are all these other ways to judge whether or not students are engaged, that don’t depend on them opening their mouths and saying things in class? And I think zoom has really asked faculty to think more expansively about what that means. Can they use the chat window? Can they use like the little reaction? Thumbs up? smiley face, reaction, things on zoom? Instead of being on camera or unmuted.
Lillian Nave 31:11
I’m MSA. So many of those ideas resonated with me right now, too. I am reading semester end, what when we are taping or recording this conversation is right at the end of fall semester. And I’m reading final reflections from my students. And I’m asking them what worked What didn’t, you know, I asked them at the beginning. And then I asked at the end, and I get a really wide variety. Some people I love the breakout rooms, that’s when I finally got to meet people, because it was an all online course. That’s that was really great. I wish we had more collaboration. And then you read another one, I hated the breakout rooms, it was silent. People wouldn’t talk and it didn’t work well. And so we really shouldn’t do that. And it makes me think, Well, you know, there’s not one thing that’s going to fit every single student. So providing options and choices and a wide mix. So one zoom, we might do a breakout room, and then the next zoom, we might do annotation. So I could see all you know, all the students annotate on the screen where they are on a continuum or something, I had a lot of fun doing that, or a jam board, or something where they don’t have to verbally participate. And I found to that whole idea about what is participation really mean, where this past semester I had students who had to like go on campus somewhere, they they were on campus, luckily, our our some of our students who wanted to be there could be there. But they were in like a public space. So they still had to have their mask on and had their ear buds in. And it did make you know, participating. You weren’t in a classroom to raise your hand or to say something. So utilizing the the chat, or other tools for students to be able to be engaged, pushed me a lot this semester. But I realized a while back that just those students who were fast on their feet, well, so to speak, or it could raise their hand quickly, just like you said that cognitive processing, that was not getting all of the wisdom in the room. And I had to figure out other ways to get the wisdom in in the zoom, I guess if we’re not in the room?
Amanda Jungels 33:18
Yeah. Yeah, I know, with our undergraduate undergraduate class that I taught this, or co taught this fall, we ended up having to do like the longer pause just because of zoom, you know, like it takes a minute for students to unmute themselves, there was a small class, if you know, under 15 students, but even then, like it takes a minute to unmute yourself and to start talking. And so we would, you know, use a technique of just like ask the question and say, like, we’re going to take responses in 15 seconds, or something which feels like an eternity when you’re just sitting there. But it does give everyone Yeah, maybe not enough time. But it gives them more time. And it gives everyone an equal amount of time, right? Instead of having the fastest person in the room, who always jumps in, you know, is like typically the person who sits in the front and like always jumps in to answer the question. And I know, I certainly have had that in, you know, college and graduate school where like, if I’m struggling with the material, I need more time to think about it. And it really is not conducive to learning to have the answer offered immediately. And then the class just moves on like, Well, okay, well, then I’m going to stop paying attention, basically, because I’m not getting anything out of this experience. Right.
Lillian Nave 34:24
You know, and I learned this from Derek bruff. Although I don’t know if he originated it, but he’s the one that at least brought it to my mind, I think on Twitter, which is the asking a question and then having everybody type their answer in the chat, but not press return until all at once, right? And then you see a whole slew of responses but you aren’t. In essence, you aren’t moved in one direction or the other because somebody else has already said what you have to say or you know, you can see a bunch of original answers, but you’ve given everybody a chance to think about it and write about it and then after 20 seconds, a minute Yeah, or whatever you can all do it. So just being kind of creative in our new era,
Amanda Jungels 35:06
and like polling software, you know, pull pull everywhere. I know there’s a poll function in zoom. But Poll Everywhere allows you to do the same thing where you can take responses and keep the responses hidden until you release them. And so you can have questions, multiple choice questions or short answer or you know, any any number of different kinds of questions, the Poll Everywhere supports, that you can then release them. So you’re getting the same benefit, right, of students answering the question without the bias of seeing like, Oh, it looks like most of my classmates are going with B, I think I’ll just go with B, because that seemed like the right answer, right, even though maybe it isn’t. Yeah, I found that helpful. Derek bruff also has another technique for group work in the zoom era, in particular, since often, faculty members like popping into the breakout rooms can kind of stifle conversation, or at the very least, it interrupts comprehension. Right. So what he suggests is to use a Google Sheet that all the students can edit. And basically, you would put your questions in the rows, and you would put the group numbers in the columns. And so students can go through and they don’t have to necessarily take, you know, verbatim transcript notes about their discussion, but like the main point that they would address, you know, what would they share out with the class if you ask them to for each of
Amanda Jungels 36:18
and it allows him to keep track of like, where they are? See, you know, okay, it looks like everybody needs more time to get to the last question, I’ll give them an extra 10 minutes, or, you know, push them to go a little faster, if you know, time is running out, and there isn’t more time to give. But it also gives him a little bit of like, a preview of what the responses are, it’s collaborative, so everyone can see everybody’s, you know, serves as a resource afterwards. And I think for faculty who are doing, you know, dual learning, which is an option that we have here at Rice, where, you know, you might have students on zoom, and you might have students in person, you can’t walk around to the groups anymore. So you know, there isn’t really like a just pop over to the left side of the classroom and see what that group is doing. So it gives you this access into, you know, what’s happening in these rooms without interrupting without being in people’s, you know, personal social distancing physical distancing space. And I think that’s a great suggestion. I haven’t had a chance to try it yet. But I’m looking forward to being able to do it.
Lillian Nave 37:17
Yeah, I must say, I use those breakout rooms and started off using instead of Google Sheet, which I think you know, all the whole class could see the Google Sheet all at once. Yeah, I use Google Slides and create a slide for each breakout room. And then there should be just looking at their slide. But of course, they could flip to another slide. But that means that each one is working on that one slide. And I put it in full view or gallery view. So I can see all 510 slides, whatever at a time. And it is so cool. Yeah, to see the ideas moving on paper, and and then I’m able to see Oh, group five, has nothing on their slide at all. And so I’ll pop in that group. Hey, any questions about you know, what, what I’m asking you here, right? And it? Yeah, it’s sort of an early warning sign. And then when I can see all group three has this great point, when we get back together? I’m going to ask group three, if they would, you know, how did you get to this part or something? It was really great. And I it was, zoom brings really great opportunities for you know, a digital meeting can bring some really great opportunities that you’re right, if we were in a classroom, we’d have to walk from one corner of the room to the other, and I can’t hear what this group is doing or whatever, right? in it. Anyway, it was, it was really fun. The first time I did it, I was I guess I’m easily amazed. So we,
Amanda Jungels 38:42
we did something similar. We have a graduate class on pedagogy that our center offers as part of a certificate in college teaching. And so we did that Google Slides activity, we also use Google jam boards with our undergraduate and did the same kind of like replicating a gallery walk. And so each students project, you know, they each got their own, I don’t know jam board, I guess, board with their topic. And then they went through and they just kind of cycled through and looked at each other’s topics, and you’re able to put post it notes or doodles or handwriting on the screen, and I get watching all of that appear. And like watching the collaborative nature of it, I think was really great. And I hope you know, I think they got a lot out of it too, right? You’re getting to hear from so many more of your peers than you would if you were just in like a group of two or three.
Lillian Nave 39:30
Yeah, and I use jam board kind of late to the game near the end of the semester, use that. And I had some students who like that was really, really cool. I like that a lot better than when we had just the breakout room. And we did it as a whole class jam board one time and then of course had other students that said I really didn’t like that gym board thing, whatever that was. So you’re you’re never going to satisfy all of the students. So for that makes me think Alright, I’m just going to need to not preference one right you know, and Every day we’re doing a jam board. But we’ll do a jam board. Sometimes we’ll do a silent meeting type of thing where we give more people time to think about what they want to say before they type in another time, we’ll use the Google slide or the Google Sheet a lot, Derrick Brown, right. So that’s how UDL has sort of shaped my thinking is, you’re not going to please everybody all the time. But you definitely don’t want to keep pleasing the same people and excluding the same people with how you’re choosing to use your tool. Right, exactly. And
Amanda Jungels 40:31
I think, you know, yeah, you’re not going to please everyone. And so I think you’re exactly right thinking about whose experiences do we privilege? And is it are we doing? Honestly, what’s easiest for us? Right? Like, it would be easiest for us to just like turn on zoom and lecture and have slides. But like, that’s not necessarily what’s best for the students. And so thinking about, you know, what are we doing? And when we’re deciding what to do, whose experience are we privileging and as always, quite frankly, like the privileged students who get to do in class, like what serves them best, and the students with less privilege or less access, or, you know, that have been historically underrepresented? Are they the ones that are always being asked to
adapt to what
Amanda Jungels 41:12
you know, the dominant group wants, and how problematic you know, that perspective can be, not only for those students who never get to see like their own learning styles reflected in the classroom or their own cultural preferences or cultural backgrounds, reflected in the classroom, but for the students from the dominant group are never asked to stretch, right? Like they’re never asked to do a jam board or participate in groups or, you know, do these things that really benefit them as learners, but they’re just always getting to do what’s most comfortable, which isn’t maybe what’s best
Lillian Nave 41:40
for them. Yeah. Right. And so that’s a delicate balance between that comfort and stretch, that that learning zone, we have to get just a little bit out of our comfort zone into that learning zone to maximize. I think that the learning that can happen. So well, these are really fantastic. I’m going to add, I’ve got a list of the things we were discussing. So I’ll have that in our resources. So if people want to try polleverywhere, jam board, things, things like that, we’ll have it there. So okay, well, there’s more I wanted to ask you about with UDL, in an ask about representation, which is one of the three main areas of universal design for learning, which is giving multiple means of representation. We in UDL, we often mentioned that in how material is presented in a variety of ways that usually we think of that in terms of accessibility, like is it a video, a text, an image, that sort of thing? graphs and explanations of scientific diagrams and such? What does an inclusive course look like in terms of how materials are represented? And I think you’ve got more of an answer to that.
Amanda Jungels 42:53
Yeah. So I know for sure, in the course, we talk pretty extensively about the access issues, right? So like, do you have captions on your videos? Are you using software that, you know, maybe students don’t have access to? Because it’s not affordable to them? Right, that there are all these things? Do your caption, do your photos or images have alt tags? Are you explaining scientific diagrams? Are you even thinking about like, from the back of a room? Are those diagrams legible? I’ve done classroom observations. And certainly like I’ve been in classes myself, where I sit in the back of the room, and I’m like, I can’t see that. It’s so small, I can’t see it. So the students around me, definitely, I mean, they’re younger than me, but they definitely can’t see it either. So so we definitely talked about that, because I think it’s an area that more and more faculty are learning about and are becoming accustomed to thinking about, you know, are my slides constructed in such a way, you know, that the color, the color contrast is evident enough for everyone. And that’s something that like, I try and do now, you know, doing like the accessibility checker, all of these tools have become so much more accessible Word, PowerPoint, and Google Slides like all of them have them built in. So it’s so much easier to just make that part of your standard. You know, before I hit save, I do the Accessibility Checker and I fix the things that need fixing. But I know I have been spending a lot of basically the last year year and a half thinking about representation in a different way, which is thinking about, you know, what materials are being presented to the students? What’s the substance of the course? And what’s the course content and the ways in which different voices different scholars, different experiences are being presented to the students? So, you know, what are students expected to learn about what are the skills they’re expected to learn what content are they being exposed to? And does all of that represent a diverse range of voices and experiences? You know, can students from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences see themselves reflected in the material kind of connect with the material? You know, if they if they Leave the class, do they get the sense that like, there’s more than one way that they can fit into this discipline? Right? Or is it just like the single story that gets told about, about the discipline or like who’s contributed to the discipline historically. So So that’s sort of the way that I have been shifting my thinking about representation over the last few years and thinking really specifically about, you know, my own courses, the faculty and instructors that I work with how they’re building that inclusivity into the content, which I think is really challenging, because we often don’t know what we don’t know. And it’s like the fish who doesn’t know that it’s in water. And so you don’t necessarily realize all the ways in which like your teaching your discipline, your pedagogy, is informed by racism, sexism, a white supremacist culture, that all of this sort of it is in there, it’s what the disciplines are founded on. And so how do we challenge that as part of the work that we’re doing? And so, you know, there are different ways to do this, and the faculty that I’ve been working with and talking about, you know, including work of diverse scholars, so, men of color, women of color, black women, you know, in different disciplines, like maybe it’s women, specifically, that have been marginalized for a long time. So a lot of STEM disciplines versus other disciplines where maybe women are, make up the majority of the scholars. A second way to do it is to think about the historical, political and economic context of the content that you’re teaching. So there’s, I think, a bias that allows us to assume that knowledge is neutral, right, or that it was developed in a vacuum, and it wasn’t right. Everything has historical and cultural, economic context to it. So really thinking about that, who was involved in the creation of the discipline, who has had access to the discipline or not, who benefited from the knowledge being produced and who didn’t benefit and who still continues to not benefit from the knowledge that’s being produced. So I think about it that way. Another way that I think is neglected, but that I’m sort of certainly starting to think more about and we interviewed Dr. Brian Dewsbury for our course. So he’s a professor of Biological Science at the University of Rhode Island. And he’s published with Cynthia Taylor, he published an article on the use of metaphors in science education. And I can send you this article, so you can link it on your on your page for the episode, we’ll
Lillian Nave 47:22
put it in the resources.
Amanda Jungels 47:24
So he, he argues basically, that the metaphors that we use reflect our cultural values in ways that we either, you know, often don’t reflect upon at all and like don’t recognize, or that we don’t examine, but that the many of the metaphors we use are not only problematic, but sometimes they’re just wrong. So like viruses colonizing a cell has a very specific connotation to it, about colonialism and colonization and imperialism. And what does that message send to students, he gives examples in his article about like invasive species, and how many of our times metaphors are militaristic and warlike and things like that. And that’s all informed by our cultural values and norms. And so it’s really important to think about the metaphors and language that we’re using and how it informs the students. And the impression that they’re getting from the metaphors that we’re using. There’s research that I just talked to our graduate students about, that asked participants in the study to read about a scientific discovery. And they talked about it as being either a light bulb moment, right, which conveys like this genius, like a stroke of genius, or an idea that was like nurtured from a seed. And whether or not people thought it took a particular skill or acumen in either one. And people rated. The scholar in this paragraph, who was talked about as having nurtured a seed as being like less skillful, right? And like, that, like the language that we choose, if I say like, oh, Einstein discovered this, versus like, this was an idea that Einstein worked at, for years and years and years, like not only the connotations and maybe gendered connotations that exist in that, but also conveying to students like it’s hard work. And the people who excelled in your field, did it with hard work, like yes, of course, are geniuses who have these genius moments. But I think it’s so easy for students to say, Well, I’m not one of them. So I can never I can never contribute to the field in the same way, you know, that see, right? Mills that as a sociologist,
Amanda Jungels 49:34
or that Judith Butler did in gender studies because I don’t have that skill. But those are people who worked really, really hard. And so conveying that I think is important rather than relying on you know, these ideas of genius or whatever.
Lillian Nave 49:48
Absolutely. You’ve made me think of several great talks and articles, including my favorite when you’re talking about metaphors. One of the things I signed with my Students is the danger of a single story yes by Chimamanda Adichie Yes. And the danger there is that we don’t get a complete picture. Yeah. And her there metaphor that she uses that I really love and grab on to is she was reading as she was growing up in Nairobi, I believe all of these stories about fairy tales and an apple orchard and are biting into an apple. And that then she would, as an aspiring writer writing about apples, she’d never had an apple that wasn’t, you know, a native plant or fruit. And here, she was using somebody else’s cultural metaphors or ideas that had really nothing to do with her lived experience. And that’s really a powerful TED Talk, actually, that she gives, that I give to my students, and found that that idea that you have about giving context to content is really important and found that I have to, in essence, get over myself, that whole idea of I have to be providing all of the knowledge, I have to make all of my videos for my online class. And realize, first of all, I don’t. And second of all, it’s really good. If I don’t, right, if I can bring in other people who have a different experience, who looked different act different sound different than I do, then I’m actually connecting with more students than the ones that are just like me, right? And so having other voices present the content, tell their story is really helpful. If you know for my particular area now, what if you’re in the hard sciences, like you say, hearing from other luminaries in the field, or other people who have worked really hard and show that there are lots of people who can succeed here is really important. And finally, when you talk about genius, or that idea of genius, one of the first articles that I read a long time ago when I was in, in college, I think, even before graduate school was why Have there been no great women artists, so and that deconstructs the idea of what a great artist is. So I would ask people named 10 artists, and before I even bring up the idea of gender, and those 10 artists are usually the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, right, four of those guys, and Picasso, Van Gogh, and a couple other you know, European right, white guys, so you know, maybe maybe a Jackson Pollock, usually not. And if we’re really lucky, we might get Frida Kahlo or Georgia O’Keeffe. But it’s because so much of the lore around what makes a great artist has to do with how they function in an economy and women weren’t allowed to function in the economy. So how could you have a workshop and people working under you, because you couldn’t be out in the marketplace in order to get your pigments? And, you know, it totally deconstructed that notion for me. That’s Linden Auckland’s, why have there been no great women artists, and I’ll definitely put that in our resources as an art historian. But really thinking about our courses that way, it’s like, wow, we’ve really got to wrap our minds around what we’re teaching why we’re teaching, in order to make it inclusive for for our students really, really be thinking about how we teach and what we teach an inclusive way. Yeah, to welcome all of our students.
Amanda Jungels 53:28
Yeah, and something that you said made me think too, about, like, the idea of being the expert in the room, and how, in order to do this work both on like a micro, you know, I need to change my course content, you know, maybe students have said, like, I, I really want to hear more from, you know, black women scholars, or black women theorists in this class and recognizing like, okay, I’ve done a not great job of including those voices, right, or maybe those voices aren’t in my syllabus at all, you know, so that micro level, but also the macro level of acknowledging that like when you do inclusive work, is never going to be perfect. And it requires so much introspection on the part of the faculty member and, you know, vulnerability, which I know, you know, can be challenging to do with students and recognizing, like, I made a mistake, in not doing this or like, I’ve approached this in the wrong way. And I’m gonna fix it by doing this work. And maybe that means like doing more reading on my own, whether it’s for the class or not, right, like all of this literature that’s available on anti racist pedagogy and inclusive pedagogy and the different ways you can approach these conversations. And this work, I think, is really critical. You have to have that, like. You have to have the ability to reflect on your own teaching and your own practices and make changes or nothing positive will happen, right? And that’s what we’re expecting our students to do is to, you know, reflect on their learning, think about what they knew before change grow, and that we, as faculty members, and as instructors, and learning designers and educational developers should be doing that same work as well, and that it’s beneficial to everybody. If we’re willing to do that, and recognize, like, where we maybe have not been doing a great job and how we could be doing better.
Lillian Nave 55:10
Yeah, those egos are really, they can be tough. Yeah, yeah. And that vulnerability is important. And, you know, just getting over myself in, in several different areas, takes a long time, just like growing from, I’m going to do everything myself. And realizing the the folly of that in in many areas. It’s just been a long and continues to be a long growth process for me. So I appreciate your voice in in helping me understand how vast This is to Yeah, I’m
Amanda Jungels 55:47
right there with you. It’s definitely like the work of a lifetime, which stinks, because you’d like it to just be a thing that you can easily fix. Because I think no one, no one wants to harm their students. Everyone wants to help their students, everyone wants to be doing a good job, everyone wants their students have a positive, you know, positive emotional experience in their classes, positive learning experience. So I think it’s really hard to confront the idea that like you’ve maybe made mistakes, that didn’t do those things, right, or that maybe actively caused harm. And so I think that is required, unfortunately, but I think it’s really beneficial. And there’s lots of resources, Steven brookfields book, on critically reflective learning is a great resource. The second edition is phenomenal. And I recommend that a lot for folks who are interested in doing reflective work, in particular about anything, right? It doesn’t necessarily have to be about race and ethnicity in the classroom. It could be about anything, but it’s a really great resource.
Lillian Nave 56:43
Oh, great. We’ll add that to our webpage, too. So okay, so the third part of UDL two, is the action and expression those assessments. Wow, we haven’t quite gotten to that part two, yet. We’ve talked actually about formative assessments, that’s a lot of that interaction and engagement. But what does it look like to design inclusive assessments for students to show you what they know, and what makes an assessment inclusive.
Amanda Jungels 57:11
So this is actually something that I’ve been working a lot on lately is the idea of inclusive assessment and anti racist approaches to assessment as well. And so I think about a couple of key things, first, being giving students autonomy and choice as much as possible. So you know, I recognize that a lot of disciplines, this just isn’t as possible as we might like, right? Like, you are going to have to take board certification exams, when you get out of medical school, you have to be able to practice for those exams. So the assessments are structured accordingly. Or you need to be able to learn to write in a particular way. So I know there are constraints there. But I think it is valuable to think about where we can give our students autonomy and choice. So I have I have a good example of this. So I’m an art history instructor that I know, Professor that I know. So for their final paper, this instructor asked students to identify a piece of art that represents an artist or community or tradition that the student feels was neglected in the course, and then develop an argument about why it should be included in the future. So this does sort of like this does a lot of things. And this is why I really like this example is because you know, it helps address issues of diversity in the course content, the instructor then uses this to continue to build the course right and include more diverse artists and more diverse communities and more diverse traditions in the course content. But it also allows for student autonomy, right, they get to choose the topic that they want, or choose the artist or community or tradition that they want. And then in addition to that students can bring in, you know, topics that interest them things from their own cultural backgrounds. So instead of being forced to like, oh, compare, you know, I don’t know, compare these two, I’m not an artist. compare these two artists, and maybe those are artists that you’re interested in, or maybe not, or maybe like, you don’t have any connection at all to Van Gogh like, because that’s not, you know, within sort of your cultural tradition. And so I think, you know, that’s a really great example of like, letting students have some autonomy, but you can certainly like structure that assignment the same way you would structure anything else, right? Like, there might be rubrics, and there might be standardized ways of assessing that assignment, while still giving students some autonomy and choice which I think also helps with motivation, right? Students are far more likely to be motivated to do a thing if they can bring their own interest to it, and actually get interested in the topic instead of like, compare, you know, Van Gogh to this artist was like, Okay, I guess I’ll do that but I don’t really want to. Yeah, so so there’s that like, can they pick the topic? Can they be given a variety of choices? I’ve seen grading models similar to that, that I know a couple people have introduced into During the pandemic, where students basically are given like a menu of options that they get to choose from for different kinds of assessments, that then they just accumulate points over the course of the semester. And when they get to the number of points that they are happy with, they can stop, right. So like if they want to do the 20 page term paper, and that’s the 100 points that they need. And they turn it in at the end of the semester grade, if they want to do a bunch of smaller assessments over the course of the term or three quarters of the way through the term, they feel like they’re satisfied with what their grade is, they can stop at that point. I know faculty who use rubrics who involve their students in the creation of the rubric. So maybe there are, you know, sections that haven’t been as well defined, and students can be involved in creating the rubrics and offering their opinions on like how things should be weighted accordingly. I think that’s a good way to bring the students into the conversation about assessment, which I think is what we’re really talking about, right instead of the self imposed assessment, bringing students in. And then lastly, well, second to Lastly, timely and actionable feedback, I think, is really critical, so that students are doing things without any sense of like, how’s it going? And so being able to give feedback to them, that allows them to take the steps they need in order to continue to improve transparent assignments that are really clear about expectations, you know, not just when it’s due, but like, how should it be structured? What does an aid paper look like in this context, or in a assignment? And then, lastly, well, almost Lastly, maybe there’s a great book called I told you, I’ve been thinking about this a lot. There’s a great book called reading for equity by Joe Feldman, that I believe is written for like a K through 12. Audience, but so many of the practices that we use in higher ed stem from that, you know, K through 12 environment. So what he argues in a lot of his book is to really examine our grading practices for different areas of bias and inequity. So here’s an example of one, that when I heard him talk about it, I think he was on a Harvard Graduate School of Education podcast, it blew my mind. And I thought I knew a lot about equitable assessment. But this was like revolutionary for me. So the idea of averaging scores across the entire semester, as being really an unequal practice or something that has like a lot of bias built in. So and when you take a student scores from the beginning of the semester at the end, and you average them, what it does is benefit and privilege, the students who perform well the whole term, whether that’s because they came in well prepared, or they, you know, they didn’t have any crises in their lives that they had to worry about, or they were able to afford a tutor that would help them through their, you know, Gen 10. Experience, right? Who it harms are the people who are less well prepared. So if you if I come into your class, and I’m less well prepared, I’m getting C’s and D’s on everything at the beginning of the term, but by the end, I get it, right, like maybe I spent time with the TA, maybe I’m able to find a peer to help me, and I’m getting A’s, my average score is still going to be like a, b, because I struggled in the beginning. And so is there a benefit for me to improve if my grade is still not going to be as good like, I feel like, in that example, the student who struggled at the beginning has shown more growth than one who got it all along, and didn’t really need assistance. The other people that are harmed is someone who has like a serious life event outside of their control. So which I think like, you know, in a pandemic, we’re all much more aware of the lives of our students, and how they, you know, can interrupt their education in ways that are really, you know, have a really negative impact. So, you know, if I missed the second exam, and that drops my grade down, that really, you know, is a negative experience. And we know that there are some communities that are more likely to have those kinds of experiences, you know, whether that’s caring for children, or caring for elders or you know, having to work a full time job outside of school, you know, that that really contributes to those kinds of life events that interrupt learning. So for me thinking about that, like, I had never thought about averaging scores as being a problem that was just like, that’s literally the only type of model I’ve ever heard knows, until, you know, I started reading in preparing for a workshop that challenges me and I did recently. And so you know, it was really informative for me. What he would argue with Joe Feldman, I think, would argue is that you would be you would wait more recent performance, to help reduce that bias, right, that there are ways of thinking like, Okay, well, what am I supposed to do? You know, there are ways to reduce that bias, you know, reducing reliance on grading participation, since it does rely on those behaviors that are culturally specific, in specifically in like K through 12. So much of that is about like making the classroom more manageable for the teacher. It’s really not about learning, right. It’s about listening. They experience something that the teacher can, you know, have 47 year olds in a class or 37 year olds in a class and actually teach them how to do whatever it is seven year olds need to learn how to do in school?
I’m not sure. Right.
Amanda Jungels 1:05:14
So yeah, so. So that’s sort of, I would recommend that book for folks who are interested in thinking more about kind of general grading practices. So another way of thinking about inclusive assessment are the ideas of grading and specs grading. I’m not an expert in either one of these. So there’s definitely a lot more reading to be done. And I have a lot more reading to do on upgrading. But essentially upgrading and is an assessment practice where the course focuses on student self assessment and development of metacognitive skills. So really helping students to think about their learning as learners and really encouraging those skill development. And this, you know, how you might use on grading varies across instructors and disciplines. But genuinely, students are prompted to engage in a lot of self evaluation work that asks them to reflect on their learning in a course. So this might be like short essays, collaborative work, process based assignments, or like lab notebooks that focus on the students thought process as they’re working on a given, you know, experiment or project in the class. So some of the pushback that I’ve heard from folks who are like, well, in the end, I still have to give them a grade. So what does it benefit them to be grading themselves and there are some instructors that actually allow students to give themselves the final grade in their course. And from, from what I’ve read from folks who’ve done this is, you know, they only make adjustments if absolutely necessary. But typically what they do is end up adjusting upward, that students are far harsher graders of themselves than we would be right. So students are giving themselves a b minus and the instructors like what are you doing, you’re an A student, like this work was phenomenal. So they end up adjusting upward rather than, you know, students who aren’t doing any work giving themselves a is that which I think requires a trust in students, that they are willing to do the work that they’re invested in their own education, which I find, they usually are right, barring, you know, significant life events that that cause distraction that would cause destruction for anyone. a practice that we use in our graduate classes is specifications, grading, or specs grading. So specifications grading, the instructor provides the criteria, right are the specifications that a student has to meet to complete a given assignment or, you know, get a specific grade in the course. So this might be pass fail, but it also might be other options. So just as an example, like this is how we use it in our grad class. So if you are enrolled in our grad class on pedagogy, to get an A, you have to have no more than two absences. Always participate in class, successful on time completion of all assignments, and completes all readings. To get an A minus it’s no more than two absences always participates, late delivery of one assignment, but on time, completion of all the rest completes all the reading. So like, you know, there’s this sort of like gradual A B plus is three absences. So there’s this kind of like gradual changing of the criteria as you go down from A to F. And so as as folks are doing that, and as students are being able to weigh like, Okay, well, I’ve had three absences. So that puts me at a B plus, right, or like, what can I do to make up that absence if that’s an option in a given class? And I think that that’s a helpful way of reframing, you know, this, like, I got an A or I was given an a right that students earn an A, and they’re really clear about how they can do that. Because the specifications are laid out really specifically at the beginning of the term.
Lillian Nave 1:08:41
Yeah, great. Well, we can have some links to those in a where these are like full on podcast, episodes, you know, on grading and specifications grading. But I really think it is important to include that in our general discussion of an inclusive class, because we are thinking about in holistically, and really, we could do episodes on kind of each one of these little topics that you bring to us. And probably I will if I keep doing this for a long time I can. So I’d have to finish out I do have one final question is what’s your parting advice? Do you have for instructors who are trying to make an inclusive course for their students? What should an instructor keep at the top of their mind as they design their course?
Amanda Jungels 1:09:22
So I think the advice I would give for instructors who are trying to design an inclusive course, is to remember that incremental positive change is still positive change. Small changes can make a really big impact in students experience, of course, you know, learning their names, using their correct names, pronouncing their names correctly, using the correct pronouns, like all of those things, that I think are relatively small asks for most faculty really make a big impact on students, including, you know, the types of things we’ve talked about with surveying them to find out their motivations, their interests, those sorts of things. You know, they’re not it’s not a huge ask or a huge imposition. I think you know, remembering to remembering that it’s not, you’re not ever going to be perfect at it right that like you will continue to make mistakes, especially if you have a career in higher education like the students change. So often, right? the demographics of a given institution change the way the world is changing and becoming increasingly globalized means the students perspectives are changing, and they’re much more aware of like what’s going on in the world, then, you know, before the internet, you know, like, those sorts of things change the dynamic in classrooms, as well. But that it’s really important to be comfortable, you know, reflecting on your teaching practice, receiving feedback and making improvements iterating and constantly trying to improve. And when in doubt, you know, asking students, how’s it going? Like, I think, Lillian, you gave the example of like, what’s working in the class for your learning? what’s not working, you know, asking for that feedback midway through the semester, a third of the way through this semester, and then making changes. And if you can’t make changes talking to students about why not right, so, you know, Lillian, even if half your students have come back and said, We hate breakout rooms, stop doing them, like when you pick them for a vanagon? logical reason. So talk to them about why that’s the case, why did you choose to have breakout rooms today and not last week? Or why is this an important part of your pedagogy? How is it benefiting her learning? They may continue to disagree, but at least like you’ve said it, and it doesn’t seem like this arbitrary like, Oh, she’s just being mean, and making us do things we hate. Right? Lastly, and actually chandini reminded me of this this week was, you know, that while small changes are important, and they make a big difference. They’re not enough. And so coming up with a plan for long term change that you it is important to make small changes. And that’s often where we start, but thinking long term, so does that mean like, okay, I am going to revise the content in my course. Or I really am going to think about like how I can use specifications grading next semester, or try on grading or you know, any number of these things. So working up to making these larger changes that require more planning and support. But, you know, in lieu of saying, like, I can’t draw up my syllabus this semester, like, it’s zoom classes, it’s really hard right now. Okay, so do small things. And then think about what are the bigger changes that you can make? And I think those are really important. That’s an important part of the conversation to have, people often get stuck at like, well, I’ve made a bunch of small changes, why are things perfect, they’re never gonna be perfect. But also you need to start thinking about big things as well.
Lillian Nave 1:12:31
You know, this brings us back to the very beginning, which is learning a social and learning from other people as we’re doing this, and I’m learning from you and and from the course of the edX course now, and, and continuously doing that, how we change in our own learning in our own wisdom as in our own teaching. And I will provide one small anecdote as I read over my students, you know, what they did or didn’t like? I must say that the one thing that did not work, and now I know and I can change is I tried to do a discussion on the using group me, which is really more of a social, hey, here’s what’s going on. And we and I tried to do something like a learning management system LMS discussion board on the group me did not work. And I got the feedback to prove it. So I think I’ll be able to use that group me in a different way, you know, more of just, Hey, remember this reminders, that sort of thing. But when I tried to then insert, you know, oh, let’s try and do discussion, because I felt this was clunky. When we did here. I got some good feedback. And that was not to do it again. Text Oh, yeah. To take that feedback. Yeah. And use it.
Amanda Jungels 1:13:46
I like to ask students, you know, what’s working in the class? You know, what’s, so when I do this, I think I think it’s important to emphasize like, what’s working for you for your learning, right? And not just like, do you like this class or not? Because that’s not actually helpful information for the instructor to make changes typically. Yeah. But I often think like asking them why it’s working or not, is really helpful. So just as an example, I did a, a student feedback session for a faculty member earlier this semester. So the faculty member, like, let me into their Zoom Room, and then they lasted I got to talk to the students about what was working in the class and what wasn’t for them. And one of the things that they mentioned was that the instructor posts, their lectures and their slides, on our case, the course Canvas page, which she’s required to do, because she has students in timezones more than four hours away, which is what rises standard is for offering asynchronous material, we have a lot of international students at Rice. And so she’s doing that because it’s required, but this, the other students were telling me about how much they liked that that was available, because they were using it to like help reinforce their learning. If they felt they missed something in class, they could go back and watch the lecture again, they could review the slides ahead of time before class so they had some idea Like what was going to be happening in lecture, and that helped them to kind of form their learning. When I talked to the instructor about it afterwards, she was like, Oh, I’m so glad you told me that. Because the second I get permission to stop doing that I was going to stop because I didn’t think anyone was using it. And I think she’d maybe made assumptions, which I think a lot of people would make about, oh, students are only using that, because they want to skip class or whatever. But like, that was not the case. The students who were regularly there, were using this as a resource. And so I think, you know, asking students, what’s working for them, and why can really give us a lot of insight into how we can make changes. And those changes don’t always have to be, throw the syllabus out, or only read what we want to read or whatever, right, like get rid of the textbook, are often really impactful small things. And it’s always good to hear that things are working, right. I mean, getting the feedback where you can make changes is good, but knowing like, Okay, what I’m doing, you know, offering those videos and slide is really working. And that’s a small thing. The videos aren’t necessarily but the lecture slides and stuff. Like that’s a small thing to upload those after class.
Lillian Nave 1:16:05
Yeah. Great. Yeah. It’s we’re always learning you just got to continue to learn. So Exactly. Wow. Amanda, thank you so much. Thank you so much for your time. Yeah, and for your energy and your efforts here. And for the course that you and Dr. chandini, Patel had put together along with a huge crew of wonderful facilitators. So I really appreciate your time. And thank you so much for helping me and my listeners know how to really think about being inclusive and put some of that into practice.
Amanda Jungels 1:16:39
Great, thank you so much. I hope it was helpful. It was wonderful to talk to you today about it.
Lillian Nave 1:16:54
You can follow the think UDL podcast on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to find out when new episodes will be released, and also see transcripts and additional materials at the think udl.org website. The think UDL podcast is made possible by college star. The star stands for supporting transition, access and retention in post secondary settings, and the website provides free resources and instructional aides based on UDL principles. If you’d like to know more, go to the college star.org website. Additional support for the podcast is made possible by Appalachian State University where if you call it Appalachian, I’ll throw in Appalachia. The music on the podcast was performed by the Odyssey quartet comprised of Rex Shepherd, David pate, Bill falwell and Jose ko chez our sound engineer is Tanner Jones and I am your host, Lillian Nave. Thank you for joining us on the think UDL podcast.