1st Edition

Creating Inclusive Online Communities Practices that Support and Engage Diverse Students

By Sharla Berry Copyright 2022
    127 Pages
    by Routledge

    127 Pages
    by Routledge

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    Before the Covid-19 pandemic, online and distance education enrolled over 19 million students in the US. As colleges and universities return to in-person instruction, the number of online courses and programs is poised to grow exponentially. At the same time, institutions of higher education are increasingly more diverse--racially, ethnically, and socioeconomically--with present and future students having a range of intersectional needs related to their cultural backgrounds, gendered experiences, and abilities. Sharla Berry offers faculty practical strategies for building asynchronous, synchronous, and blended online courses and programs that are inclusive and engaging for diverse learners. Recognizing that community is a complex, contextual and constantly shifting concept, Sharla Berry opens this book by addressing how to develop an inclusive approach to online teaching that takes into account the experiences and needs of historically marginalized and underrepresented students. Covering the affordances and limitations of synchronous and asynchronous teaching, as well as hybrid and fully online instruction, she outlines different approaches to course design, and identifies how to use the myriad functions of learning management systems—from collaborative tools to administering tests—to engage students and assess their involvement and progress.While primarily designed to provide faculty with practical and actionable ideas and strategies, this book will also prove useful to those that support faculty in cultivating teaching excellence. Administrators, instructional designers, faculty developers and support staff will gain insight into how to support faculty in developing robust and inclusive online courses.This book is a thoughtful and practical resource for anyone involved in the teaching and design of online courses and programs that meet the needs of an increasingly diverse student body in an evolving and multifaceted online environment.

    Foreword—Kathryn E. Linder Preface Acknowledgments 1. Defining Community - The Foundation of an Inclusive and Engaging Course or Program 2. What Makes a Strong Online Instructor? - Creating Inclusive Communities 3. The Role of Technology in the Online Classroom 4. Asynchronous Teaching Practices that Support Online Community 5. Synchronous Teaching Practices that Support Online Community Conclusion Appendix A. Cultivating Community During a Pandemic. Online Teaching, Emergency Remote Instruction and Pandemic Pedagogy References About the Author Index


    Dr. Sharla Berry is an Assistant Professor of education leadership and an expert in the field of digital equity and online learning. Her research has been featured in many academic journals including Online Learning and the International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, and at academic conferences including the American Educational Research Association (AERA) and the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE). Dr. Berry is committed to using her research to support practitioners in teaching and leading with technology. Various groups have invited her to do keynote speeches and workshops, including the Los Angeles Unified School District’s Instructional Technology Initiative, the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA), and the International Society of Technology Educators (ISTE). With each unique speech or workshop, Dr. Berry helps practitioners imagine a digitally equitable future, one that helps students of diverse racial, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds achieve their highest aspirations. Dr. Katie Linder is currently the executive director for program development at Kansas State University Global Campus. Previously, she directed the award-winning Ecampus Research Unit at Oregon State University. Katie is also a Certified Coach through the International Coach Federation. Katie is an avid writer and researcher with a passion for process and peeking behind the scenes at what it takes to be a successful academic. For the past several years, her work has focused on blended course design best practices, institutional supports for accessible online learning, and research literacy for scholarship of teaching and learning practitioners and distance education stakeholders. She speaks on topics related to writing and publication; creativity and productivity; self-promotion and personal branding; and teaching and learning with technology.Her latest works include Going Alt-Ac: A Guide to Alternative Academic Careers (

    "The future lies in building strong, inclusive communities that support our students in imagining and creating a better world. Berry gives us an incredibly clear and timely roadmap for this work. I am so excited for this book to reach faculty, instructional designers, and administrators. All of you will find a powerful and accessible vision for designing, facilitating, and investing in online communities that serve all students. Mark my words: this will soon be considered a foundational text for online educators."

    Karen Costa, Faculty Learning Facilitator, 100 Faculty, LLC and Author of 99 Tips for Creating Simple and Sustainable Videos

    "By centering community, Dr. Berry provides an integrated framework and practical set of strategies to address and advance connectedness in hybrid and online classrooms. This approach elevates the intersecting identities of historically marginalized an underrepresented students - and in doing so - presents readers with opportunities to intentionally design for inclusivity at the course and program-level. The book is an asset for instructors, administrators, and those supporting the teaching mission at colleges and universities.”

    Kem Saichaie, Ph.D., Director of Learning & Teaching, Center for Educational Effectiveness, University of California, Davis