CTI online course on diverse classroom honored

Teaching & Learning in the Diverse Classroom, an online course offered by the Center for Teaching Innovation (CTI) to support instructors in designing and sustaining inclusive learning environments, won the 2020 Innovation Award from the Professional Organizational Development (POD) Network in Higher Education.

CTI developed the course in two formats: a Canvas course for the Cornell community; and a massive open online course (MOOC) on the edX platform to make the resource available more broadly.

The POD Network is the professional organization for scholars and practitioners of educational development.

Course designers and instructors Mathew L. Ouellett, executive director of the CTI, and Melina Ivanchikova, associate director for inclusive teaching at the CTI – together with Ana Ruival, a student at the Law School – won the award for developing not only the course but also a facilitators guide to help local groups take the course together. The guide provides tools to help facilitators lead discussions about racism, diversity and inclusion with their peers.

Thomas J. O’Toole, executive director of the Cornell Institute for Public Affairs, organized a learning community as part of a comprehensive action plan to help the institute concretely pursue racial equality.

“[The course] is taught from a broader perspective,” O’Toole said, “and the learning community allowed us to drill down on how specifically we could tailor some of the teaching and learning best practices from the course to our community of students.”

In an effort to give instructors at other universities more flexibility, the MOOC is now self-paced, meaning that participants can enroll at any time. Together with the facilitator’s guide, the MOOC makes it possible for universities to start important discussions on diversity and inclusion even if they do have limited access to local resources.

Teaching & Learning in the Diverse Classroom offers a starting point for creating antiracist learning spaces at Cornell and beyond. “We can all do better,” said Rebecca Morgenstern Brenner, lecturer and teaching faculty at CIPA. “And by doing better, we are empowering students in the classroom to do better.”

The CTI will offer Teaching & Learning in the Diverse Classroom for the Cornell community again in June. Contact the CTI to request the facilitator’s guide, partner in leading a learning community for your unit, or for further information about the course. The MOOC is available at any time on the edX platform.

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