Accessing Education: Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Online Learning
Keywords:Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, Accessibility, Online Learning, Hybrid Learning
As Canadian post-secondary institutions emerge from the pandemic restrictions, they are in a historically unique position to assess how online education has both facilitated and hindered learning, and how the effects might be greater for some. In this study, open-ended comments from the Canadian Digital Learning Research Association 2022 Spring National Survey were analyzed to understand how online and/or hybrid learning both supported equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) and presented EDI-related challenges. The findings were that: (a) online and hybrid learning presents challenges of access for students marginalized by “race,” class, and location; (b) online and hybrid learning supports EDI by increasing access and flexibility; (c) pedagogy and course design are central to ensuring that online and/or hybrid learning supports EDI; and (d) student experiences and expectations around online learning indicate a need for support and flexibility. These findings highlight some of the promises of online and hybrid learning, but they also bring to light some of the challenges. This paper discusses three challenges, access, pedagogy, and technology, as well as flexibility, and recommendations that might begin to address EDI.
Barbour, M. K., LaBonte, R., Kelly, K., Hodges, C., Moore, S., Lockee, B., Trust, T., Bond, A., & Hill, P. (2020). Understanding pandemic pedagogy: Differences between emergency remote, remote, and online teaching. Canadian eLearning Network. http://hdl.handle.net/10919/101905
Bartek, C., Pellegrino, L., Cutler White, C., & Clayton, A. B. (2022). Institutional change to support online learners: A case study for student success. New Directions for Community Colleges, 2022(198), 135–148. https://doi.org/10.1002/cc.20516
Boys, J. (2022). Exploring inequalities in the social, spatial and material practices of teaching and learning in pandemic times. Postdigital Science and Education, 4, 13–32. https://doi.org/10.1007/s42438-021-00267-z
Brennan, J., Deer, F., Trilokekar, R., Findlay, L., Foster, K., Laforest, G., Wheelahan, L., & Wright, J. (2021). Investing in a better future: Higher education and post-COVID Canada. FACETS, 6(1), 871–911. https://doi.org/10.1139/facets-2021-0006
Brown, M., McCormack, M., Reeves, J., Brooks, D. C., & Grajek, S. (with Alexander, B., Bali, M., Bulger, S., Dark, S., Engelbert, N., Gannon, K., Gauthier, A., Gibson, D., Gibson, R., Lundin, B., Veletsianos, G., & Weber, N.). (2020). 2020 EDUCAUSE horizon report: Teaching and learning edition. EDUCAUSE. https://library.educause.edu/-/media/files/library/2020/3/2020_horizon_report_pdf.pdf?la=en&hash=08A92C17998E8113BCB15DCA7BA1F467F303BA80
Canadian Digital Learning Research Association. (n.d.). About. http://www.cdlra-acrfl.ca/digital-learning-canada/
Carter, L. M., Salyers, V., Myers, S., Hipfner, C., Hoffart, C., MacLean, C., White, K., Matus, T., Forssman, V., & Barrett, P. (2014). Qualitative insights from a Canadian multi-institutional research study: In search of meaningful e-learning. The Canadian Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 5(1), 1–17. https://doi.org/10.5206/cjsotl-rcacea.2014.1.10
Centre for Teaching, Learning, and Technology—Equity & Inclusion Office. (n.d.). Equity and inclusion in the classroom. Equity, diversity and inclusion in online teaching: Where to begin? University of British Columbia. https://ctlt-inclusiveteaching.sites.olt.ubc.ca/files/2020/04/Equity-Diversity-Inclusion-Online-Teaching.pdf
Facknitz, H. S., & Lorenz, D. E. (2020). Cripping pandemic learning in higher education. CJDS. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/348477935_Cripping_Pandemic_Learning_in_Higher_Education
Farley, I. A., & Burbules, N. C. (2022). Online education viewed through an equity lens: Promoting engagement and success for all learners. Review of Education, 10(3), Article e3367. https://doi.org/10.1002/rev3.3367
Government of Canada. (2021, December 31). Progress toward universal access to high-speed Internet. Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada. https://ised-isde.canada.ca/site/high-speed-internet-canada/en/progress-toward-universal-access-high-speed-internet
Houlden, S., & Veletsianos, G. (2021). The problem with flexible learning: Neoliberalism, freedom, and learner subjectivities. Learning, Media and Technology, 46(2), 144–155. https://doi.org/10.1080/17439884.2020.1833920
Irvine, V., Code, J., & Richards, L. (2013). Realigning higher education for the 21st-century learner through multi-access learning. Journal of Online Learning & Teaching, 9(2), 172–186.
Johnson, N. (2020). Evolving definitions in digital learning: A national framework for categorizing commonly used terms. Canadian Digital Learning Research Association. http://www.cdlra-acrfl.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/2021-CDLRA-definitions-report-5.pdf
Johnson, N. (2021a). 2021 national report: Lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic. Canadian Digital Learning Research Association. http://www.cdlra-acrfl.ca/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/2021_national_report_en.pdf
Johnson, N. (2021b). 2021 Special topics report: The growth of online learning and digital learning resources in Canadian post-secondary education. Canadian Digital Learning Research Association. http://www.cdlra-acrfl.ca/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/2021_special-topics_en.pdf
Manokore, V., & Kuntz, J. (2022). TPACK tried and tested: Experiences of post-secondary educators during COVID-19 pandemic. International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 16(2), Article 14. https://doi.org/10.20429/ijsotl.2022.160214
McGreal, R., & Anderson T. (2007). E-Learning in Canada. Journal of Distance Education Technologies, 5(1), 1–6. https://auspace.athabascau.ca/bitstream/handle/2149/744/e-learning_in_canada.pdf?sequence=1
Morgan, T. (2019). Instructional designers and open education practices: Negotiating the gap between intentional and operational agency. Open Praxis, 11(4), 369–380. https://doi.org/10.5944/openpraxis.11.4.1011
Pinnguaq. (2023). Computers for success Nunavut (CFSN). https://pinnguaq.com/partner-with-us/cfsn/
Siergiejczyk, G. (2020). Virtual international exchange as a high-impact learning tool for more inclusive, equitable and diverse classrooms. European Journal of Open, Distance and E-Learning, 23(1),1–17. https://doi.org/10.2478/eurodl-2020-0001
Simon, J., Burton, K., Lockhart, E., & O’Donnell, S. (2014). Post-secondary distance education in a contemporary colonial context: Experiences of students in a rural First Nation in Canada. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 15(1), 1–19. https://doi.org/10.19173/irrodl.v15i1.1357
Vanleeuwen, C., Veletsianos, G., Belikov, O., & Johnson, N. (2020). Institutional perspectives on faculty development for digital education in Canada. Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology, 46(2), 1–19. https://doi.org/10.21432/cjlt27944
Veletsianos, G., & Houlden, S. (2020). Radical flexibility and relationality as responses to education in times of crisis. Post Digital Science and Education, 2, 849–862. https://doi.org/10.1007/s42438-020-00196-3
Veletsianos, G., Kimmons, R., Larsen, R., & Rogers, J. (2021). Temporal flexibility, gender, and online learning completion. Distance Education, 42(1), 22–36. http://doi.org/10.1080/01587919.2020.1869523
Copyright (c) 2023 Shelly Ikebuchi
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under an International Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License (CC-BY-NC 4.0) that allows others to share the work for non-commercial purposes, with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.