Celebrating Difference: Best Practices in Culturally Responsive Teaching Online

Abstract

Culturally responsive teaching and design practices flip the online classroom by creating an environment that acknowledges, celebrates, and builds upon the cultural capital that learners and teachers bring to the online classroom. Challenges exist in all phases of online course design, including the ability to create online courses that reflect the instructor’s commitment to inclusive excellence, diversity, and social justice. Designing an online environment that supports all learners regardless of their backgrounds is important in their future success as professionals; thus, it is important for faculty to design courses with all students in mind. The purpose of this article is to share best practices in the design of culturally and linguistically responsive online courses that support the culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) students we serve. Based on Gay’s (2010) culturally responsive teaching practices, this article provides examples of online activities that are validating; comprehensive; multi-dimensional; empowering; transformative, and emancipatory.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. Boettcher, J. V., & Conrad, R. M. (2010). The online teaching survival guide: Simple and practical pedagogical tips. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Boud, D., Keogh, R., & Walker, D. (2013). Reflection: Turning experience into learning. London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Bovill, C., Cook-Sather, A., & Felter, P. (2011). Students as co-creators of teaching approaches, course design, and curricula: Implications for academic developers. International Journal for Academic Development, 16(2), 133–145.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Brookfield, S., & Preskill, S. (2005). Discussion as a way of teaching: Tools and techniques for democratic classrooms. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

    Google Scholar 

  5. Brubaker, N. D. (2012). Negotiating authority through jointly constructing the course curriculum. Teachers and Teaching, 18(2), 159–180.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Cohen, E. G., & Lotan, R. A. (2014). Designing Groupwork: Strategies for the Heterogeneous Classroom (3rd ed.). New York: Teachers College Press.

    Google Scholar 

  7. Conrad, R. (2004). Engaging the online learner: Activities and resources for creative instruction. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

    Google Scholar 

  8. Conrad, R. M., & Donaldson, J. A. (2012). Continuing to engage the online learner: More activities and resources for creative instruction. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

    Google Scholar 

  9. Cooper, L. (1999). Anatomy of an online course. THE Journal (Technological Horizons In Education), 26(7), 49.

    Google Scholar 

  10. Darling-Hammond, L., & Hammerness, K. (2002). Toward a pedagogy of cases in teacher education. Teaching Education, 13(2), 125–135.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Douglas, K., & Johnson, B. (2010). Legal education and E-Learning: Online fishbowl role-play as a learning and teaching strategy in legal skills development. eLaw Journal, 17(1), 28–46.

    Google Scholar 

  12. Gay, G. (2002). Preparing for culturally responsive teaching. Journal of Teacher Education, 53(2), 106–116.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Gay, G. (2010). Culturally responsive teaching: Theory, research, and practice (2nd ed.) (Multicultural education series). New York: Teachers College.

  14. Heitner, K. L., & Jennings, M. (2016). Culturally responsive teaching knowledge and practices of online faculty. Online Learning, 20(4), 54–78.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Ladson-Billings, G. (1995). Toward a theory of culturally relevant pedagogy. American Educational Research Journal, 32(3), 465–491.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Lee, C. D. (2003). Toward a framework for culturally responsive design in multimedia computer environments: Cultural modeling as a case. Mind, Culture, and Activity, 10(1), 42–61.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Lehman, R. M., & Conceição, S. C. (2010). Creating a sense of presence in online teaching: How to” be there” for distance learners. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

  18. Lin, Y. T., Wen, M. L., Jou, M., & Wu, D. W. (2014). A cloud-based learning environment for developing student reflection abilities. Computers in Human Behavior, 32, 244–252.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Macedo, D. P. (2006). Literacies of power: What Americans are not allowed to know. Boulder: Westview Press.

    Google Scholar 

  20. Martins-Shannon, J., & White, M. (2012). Support Culturally Responsive Teaching! Kappa Delta Pi Record, 48(1), 4–6. doi:10.1080/00228958.2012.654718.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. McDaniels, M., Pfund, C., & Barnicle, K. (2016). Creating Dynamic Learning Communities in Synchronous Online Courses: One Approach from the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (CIRTL). Online Learning Journal, 20(1), 1–20.

  22. Mehlenbacher, B. (2010). Instruction and technology. Cambridge: MIT Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  23. Milkman, K. L., Akinola, M., & Chugh, D. (2012). Temporal Distance and Discrimination An Audit Study in Academia. Psychological Science, 23(7), 710–717.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Morong, G., & DesBiens, D. (2016). Culturally responsive online design: learning at intercultural intersections. Intercultural Education, 27(5), 474–492.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. New Mexico State University. (2016). Fall 2015 Fact Book. https://education.nmsu.edu/news/quick-facts/.

  26. Newmann, F. M. (1996). Authentic achievement: Restructuring schools for intellectual quality. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

    Google Scholar 

  27. Palloff, R., & Pratt, K. (2007). Building online learning communities: Effective strategies for the virtual classroom. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

    Google Scholar 

  28. Palloff, R. M., & Pratt, K. (2010). Collaborating online: Learning together in community (Vol. 32). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

  29. Peters, M., & Roberts, P. (2012). The virtues of openness: Education, science, and scholarship in the digital age. Boulder: Paradigm Publishers.

    Google Scholar 

  30. Popov, V., Brinkman, D., Biemans, H. J., Mulder, M., Kuznetsov, A., & Noroozi, O. (2012). Multicultural student group work in higher education: An explorative case study on challenges as perceived by students. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 36(2), 302–317.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Sautter, P. (2007). Designing discussion activities to achieve desired learning outcomes: Choices using mode of delivery and structure. Journal of Marketing Education, 29(2), 122–131.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Stein, M. K., Smith, M. S., Hennigsen, M. A., & Silver, E. A. (2009). Implementing standard-based mathematics instruction: A case for professional development. New York: Teachers College.

    Google Scholar 

  33. Vai, M., & Sosulski, K. (2015). Essentials of online course design: A standards-based guide. New York: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  34. Yosso, T. J. (2005). Whose culture has capital? A critical race theory discussion of community cultural wealth. Race ethnicity and education, 8(1), 69–91.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

As social justice educators, we are concerned with the continued reinforcement of elitist notions of privilege in higher education including in the value placed on authorship order as it regards journal articles. Thus, we want to acknowledge that the authorship of this manuscript is credited equally to all four authors. Each contributed toward its visioning, construction, writing, and editing. Regardless of where names fall on the authorship list, we are all “first” author.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Xeturah Woodley.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of Interest

Dr. X. Woodley declares that she has no conflict of interest. Dr. C. Hernandez declares that she has no conflict of interest. Dr. J. Parra is an advisory council member for the National Geographic Network of Alliances and is a member of the board of directors for Online Learning Consortium. Mr. B. Negash declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Woodley, X., Hernandez, C., Parra, J. et al. Celebrating Difference: Best Practices in Culturally Responsive Teaching Online. TechTrends 61, 470–478 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11528-017-0207-z

Download citation

Keywords

  • Culturally and linguistically diverse students
  • Culturally responsive teaching online
  • Online course design
  • Online pedagogy
  • Social justice education