IMPACT Live!

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  • 1.  IMPACT in Action - What are you Doing in Your Classroom for Equity?

    Posted 26 days ago

    Share a practice that you think promotes equity in your classroom - we have listed the recommendations from our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Mathematics Position Statement to help you brainstorm!

    • Provide support for the cognitive and affective needs of each student.
    • Increase student participation using active and collaborative learning techniques with relevant examples.
    • Counteract implicit bias, stereotype threat, and microaggressions.
    • Increase marginalized students' sense of belonging.
    • Recognize that all students are unique individuals with distinct stories, aspirations, prior knowledge, and challenges.

    Try to be specific in what you share to help others understand how you are engaging with equity work!



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    Chris Sabino
    Associate Professor
    Harold Washington College
    Chicago IL
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  • 2.  RE: IMPACT in Action - What are you Doing in Your Classroom for Equity?

    Posted 24 days ago
    It has been quiet here thus far. Let me try to get the ball rolling. The pandemic and pivoting to teach remotely caused me to reflect on and inspect my practices through an equity lens. If you're like me, then these last two years have been a combination of survival, (re)inventing the wheel, asking for help and support others, and "calculated innovation". These last two years have also led to doubts about practices and policies from "the before time" that I thought were equitable. In talking to faculty at various events, the word flexibility has been thrown around a lot. I like to think that my increased flexibility has been my number one way of promoting equity in my classroom. Here are a few concrete examples. 

    1. In my first semesters "Zooming," I would (like many) get frustrated not being able to see students on camera. It took a while for me to let that go and to realize that seeing students engage (through chat, Jamboards, polls, etc.) was more important than seeing them on camera, and that their reasons for not being on camera were not as simple as I had thought (i.e. checking my biases).
    2. Submitting written work online is important to me since I feel that the act of writing is an important part of learning. But it took me a few semesters to realize that submitting written work (despite what I thought were clear instructions to students) was challenging for many students. So I did more than I thought was necessary to make turning in work easier for students including this past semester being more flexible about the file formats. It was a price I paid to help students who didn't have access to the technology necessary to get me tidy pdfs.
    3. Flexibility in Deadlines...I'll leave it right there. 
    4. During class, I ask questions. I'm guessing that we all do. Have you ever noticed that some students are very quick to answer and it's often the same few students who answer everything? When I ask questions, I ask students not to answer for x amount of time to allow all students an opportunity to answer. Or I'll do chat blasts (where students type an answer into the chat but don't press enter until x amount of time has passed). I feel that this promotes equity and empowers students who need a little more time to process or feel confident enough to put themselves out there.

    What do you do?

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    Chris Sabino
    Associate Professor
    Harold Washington College
    Chicago IL
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  • 3.  RE: IMPACT in Action - What are you Doing in Your Classroom for Equity?

    Posted 24 days ago
    Great question, Chris! I've tried to weave equity strategies through every aspect of my class. Here are a few ideas that I feel are really impactful.

    In my syllabus, we're required to connect to our college's mission and vision, so I highlight (in bright yellow) the language centered around diversity, equity, and inclusion:  "In support of the college's vision, we treasure the many identities and perspectives in our community. We provide an inclusive, accessible, and safe learning and working environment that fosters participation and belonging. We emphasize policy and practice that promotes opportunity and diminishes disparity within the college community." What's even better is that I included this connection when I made the generic syllabus that was used as a template for all sections of the class, so it had an impact beyond my immediate sections.

    There are other ways to promote equity in your syllabus - I try to be mindful about my policies and how they impact students. Like you, I think flexibility with deadlines is very important. I try to phrase my policies to provide structure for students without creating additional barriers, which can be tricky to balance (but worth the effort)!

    Second, I try to learn my students' names on the very first day of class. Using someone's name is a powerful way to build a connection and help students feel connected. Similarly, I have students work collaboratively in some small way on the first day so they can share a connection with another student.

    Another element I emphasize is to make the implicit course elements explicit. I've seen this theme appear in several different contexts, from Francis Su's blog (7-exam-questions-for-a-pandemic-or-any-other-time) to the Thinking With Algebra grant. I talk about some of the implicit requirements to be successful in my class introduction on day 1, and then I carry that thread throughout the course. An important way I put this idea into practice is to use rubrics for my class projects, which are transparent assignments (see Transparency in Teaching and Learning, TILT).

    Finally, I have researched assessment to find more equitable ways of evaluating student learning. I was really inspired by the Symposium on Assessment of Learning, hosted by UC Davis. I'm currently reading Grading for Equity and hope to implement some proficiency grading in my class this fall (I'm still working on it!). It's nice to have this summer break to give some thought to other changes I can make that fit within my department's required framework (i.e. mandatory common final exam worth ~25% of the overall course grade).

    You mentioned active learning and I incorporated that strategy into my courses years ago as part of a Title III grant. That grant also helped us develop corequisite classes, which I think help address long-standing disparity issues. I highly recommend researching these practices because there are several levels to implementing these ideas - not all active learning strategies are equally effective and just having more time with students in a corequisite course misses the opportunity of providing timely and targeted interventions that address the student's affective domain and cognitive challenges.

    I look forward to seeing other responses and hearing how other faculty address equity in their classroom!
    Jennifer


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    Jennifer Ackerman
    Jefferson CTC
    Louisville KY
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  • 4.  RE: IMPACT in Action - What are you Doing in Your Classroom for Equity?

    Posted 23 days ago
    Thanks Jennifer! These are some fantastic resources. I'm looking forward to checking them out.

    With respect to names, that is something that became a big focus at my institution during our faculty development week a few years ago, given that many students' names on the class roster are inaccurate. The process for students being able to change their name in the system to what they prefer to be called is becoming easier, but there are still opportunities to improve it. For this reason, I have stopped using replace strings in Brightspace when creating announcements. I sacrifice some level of personalization to make sure that no one is addressed with a name that they no longer feel fits who they are. Zoom is great for students renaming as they see fit, and in the physical classroom not calling roll and having them create their name tents with what they prefer to be called works well. I just walk around those first days to match the name with the roster name.

    Thanks again for keeping the conversation going!

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    Chris Sabino
    Associate Professor
    Harold Washington College
    Chicago IL
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