The authors propose a social justice lens to be adopted by instructional designers in designing curricula that serves the needs of all students while working towards creating an inclusive learning environment. They provide practical recommendations for practitioners in face-to-face, blended, or online settings focusing on five key areas: inclusivity, communication, content, flexibility, and feedback-seeking. Along with theoretical underpinnings, the authors define each of the areas and provide considerations and recommendations for practice that would be applicable in higher education settings.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the world has witnessed an immense shift to online education, and the uncertainty of the future modality of education has shed light on the important role that instructional designers play. At the same time, we as educators are becoming more aware of the diverse student demographics in our classrooms in terms of race, sexual orientation, ethnicity, and learning abilities, among other factors. As more institutions and instructors reach out to instructional designers for support, the role that these designers play in upholding social justice becomes central. Through their consultations and support, instructional designers have the opportunity to serve as ambassadors for more equitable, inclusive, and diverse education.
The goal of this paper is to explain the importance of using a social justice lens and considering how it can be put into practice in the classroom when designing curricula. We aim to provide practical advice to instructional designers on how to infuse social justice into their designs. This paper is significant to instructional designers in higher education, and industry who are interested in learning more about how they can include aspects of social justice within their educational setting.
We, the authors, have occupied multiple roles in higher education. Being visible minorities, we started as international students. Our experience was enriched by our diverse socio-cultural and pedagogical heritage, coupled with our Canadian experience. At the moment of this paper, our advice is based two-fold. First, on our work as educational developers focusing on equity, diversity, and inclusion, including alternative assessments, and second on our experience teaching in higher education. The recommendations included in this paper have been implemented by at least one of the authors.
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