Equity is not an add-on: Designing an inclusive training course for EdTech Advisors
In this chapter of Learning Design Voices, the authors reflect on a key challenge of online learning environments - exclusionary practices that continuously result in some students falling behind academically. As a way to begin to address this challenge, the University of Cape Town is rethinking approaches to redesigning courses in order to improve student learning outcomes. By extending support to teaching staff, the Redesigning Blended Courses (RBC) project trained and deployed a cadre of postgraduate students as Educational Technology (EdTech) Advisors. Universal Design for Learning principles and a commitment to social justice underpinned the training, which was designed by members of the RBC project. The training provided an opportunity to examine the concepts of accessibility and inclusivity, both theoretically and practically through learning scenarios, and to guide the EdTech Advisors in their work with learning designers. What made the design of the training particularly challenging was its ambitious goal of preparing EdTech Advisors for a dynamic role that is emergent and still in flux. In this chapter, we critically reflect on the design and implementation of the EdTech Advisor training. We highlight the importance of collaboration and integrating explicit learning design approaches from the outset, both of which are important elements for equity-oriented course design, as well as thinking about authentic learning opportunities for students. A potential benefit of this study is to improve EdTech Advisors’ training, enhancing their knowledge and skills in order to better support course teams in redesigning courses.