Week 2: Learning Through Diversity


Learning Through Diversity

By the end of this module, you should be able to:

    • construct a personal definition of diversity.
    • use evidence to support the argument that diversity is valuable in STEM and STEM education.
    • explain the value of accounting for diverse perspectives in STEM course content.
    • describe strategies to incorporate diverse perspectives in STEM course content.
    • describe strategies that create inclusive learning environments and that leverage diversity to enhance teaching and learning.


Video 0.2.1 —  Week 2 Introduction

Dr. Derek Bruff from Vanderbilt University and Dr. Trina McMahon from the University of Wisconsin introduce the concepts and content that will be covered in the first week of the course.

Learning Through Diversity Introduction


Video 2.1.1 — Introduction to Diversity

Cori Fata-Hartley provides a detailed overview of the three components of the Learning Through Diversity module including the learning objectives.  Additionally, Dr. Fata-Hartley has participants complete the “Diversity Game” and then debriefs it.

Discussion: What is your personal definition of “diversity”?  Post in the discussion below. Please make sure you look at the responses of other MOOC participants.

Video 2.1.1 Slides

Video 2.1.2 — What is Diversity?

Cori Fata-Hartley discusses the definition of “diversity”, diversity in STEM, and the dimensions of difference.

Video 2.1.2 Slides

Video 2.1.3 — The Value of Diversity

Cori Fata-Hartley discusses the value of having diversity represented across STEM disciplines and how this representation (i.e., including the composition of groups) leads to advances in STEM fields to meet the challenges of the future.  In this video, several examples are discussed with references.

Discussion: Describe a specific example of how diversity in your discipline had advanced science.  Please make sure you identify your discipline. Post in the discussion below.

Video 2.1.3 Slides

Video 2.1.4 — Segment 1 Activities

Readings are reviewed and discussed how they relate to the content of the module.  Additionally, Dr. Fata-Hartley provides interpretive questions to help guide the reading of participants.

Discussion: What strengths and characteristics do you bring to a group?  Consider your experiences, knowledge, abilities, viewpoints, and identities?  Please make sure you look at the responses of others. How does this diversity strengthen the learning experiences for people participating in this MOOC? Post in the discussion below.

Video 2.1.4 Slides

Diverse Perspectives


Video 2.2.1 — Diverse Perspectives in STEM

Dr. Fata-Hartley provides an overview of the second segment of the Learning Through Diversity module and reviews the learning objectives.

Video 2.2.1 Slides

Video 2.2.2 — Incorporating Diverse Perspectives

This topic is discussed in context of three rationales supported with examples and excellent references.

Video 2.2.2 Slides

Video 2.2.3 — Strategies for Incorporation

Dr. Cori Fata-Hartley provides an overview of how the three interviewees in this module use various strategies to incorporate diverse perspectives in their classrooms to enhance teaching and learning.

Video 2.2.3 Slides

Video 2.2.4 — Segment 2 Activities

Two reading assignments are reviewed and Dr. Fata-Hartley discusses an additional reflection/discussion question for posting on the discussion forum and how participants should be able to meet the module learning objectives.

Discussion: Consider the diverse characteristics of the group listed during the discussion for the first segment of the module.  Propose some ways that an instructor might incorporate these diverse perspectives into course content for a course in your discipline.  Please post your ideas in the discussion below.

Video 2.2.4 Slides

Video 2.2.5 — Interview with Georgina Montgomery

This video is an interview with Dr. Georgina Montgomery discussing learning through diversity in the classroom.

Video 2.2.6 — Interview with Oscar Mur-Miranda

This video is an interview with Dr. Oscar Mur-Miranda discussing learning through diversity in the classroom.

Video 2.2.7 — Interview with Julie Plasencia 

Please enjoy this interview with Julie Plasencia discussing learning through diversity in the classroom.

Leveraging Diversity


Video 2.3.1 — Teaching Practices

This is an overview of the third and final segment for this module.  Learning objectives are reviewed along with what interviewees will discuss.

Video 2.3.1 Slides

Video 2.3.2 — Creating Inclusive Environments

Dr. Fata-Hartley discusses why instructors must create inclusive learning environments to be able to use pedagogical approaches that leverage diversity.  Three specific strategies are reviewed: (a) multiple, learner-centered teaching approaches, (b) using inclusive language (e.g., potential impacts of when people use “instructor speak”), and (c) developing and using inclusive syllabi (e.g., how to use a description of an inclusive learning environment in a syllabus).

Video 2.3.2 Slides

Video 2.3.3 — Leveraging Diversity

Dr. Fata-Hartley provides an introduction to the interviews of Dr. Vashti Sawtelle and Dr. Karl Smith who both discuss pedagogical approaches that leverage diversity.

Video 2.3.3 Slides

Video 2.3.4 — Segment 3 Activities

The summative end of the module assignment is described as well as an accompanying reading assignment.  For this assignment, participants are encouraged to develop something that they can “use” in a course they may teach in the future.

Video 2.3.4 Slides

Video 2.3.5 — Interview with Vashti Sawtelle

Dr. Sawtelle (Assistant Professor of Physics) discusses what diversity means to her and how she thinks about the role of diversity in the classroom.  During this discussion, Dr. Sawtelle, describes research results on the impacts of classroom diversity on student outcomes.

Video 2.3.6 — Interview with Karl Smith

Dr. Smith (Morse-Alumni Distinguished Teaching Professor, Professor of Civil Engineering, Co-Executive Director STEM Education Center and Cooperative Learning Professor of Engineering Education) discusses the importance or opportunities for cooperative learning (i.e., using various types of groups) to leverage diversity in a college or university classroom and the use of “pedagogies of diversity”.  Using pedagogies of diversity students have the opportunity to learn from one another, based on their backgrounds, experiences, etc.

Week 2 Review



Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Copyright An introduction to Evidence-Based Undergraduate STEM Teaching