In today’s classroom setting, particularly in higher education, there is much diversity among students from various backgrounds to different learning styles. As an educator, it is important to ensure each student is provided with an equal and fair opportunity at learning regardless of these distinctions. Below are three best practices for successful communication in diverse online classrooms:
1). Create assessment types that require students to work in assigned groups including students of different gender and ages. Older students are able to bring past experience to the discussion while younger students oftentimes have more knowledge of technology and new advancement in education. Most students today are digital natives and are comfortable within a technological, plugged-in society, however, such may not be the case for older students in higher education (Alalshaikh, 2015).
2). Provide students with resources such as those offered by the university and course material in varying languages if some students speak a different first language than English. The resources provided by the university are highly beneficial to students who may be struggling with communication due to language barriers and/or a learning disability. Oftentimes, students are unaware of these resources, therefore, including them in the courses syllabus is a good idea.
3). Awareness of the various learning styles and the ability to assist students on an individualized basis can also improve communication in a diverse online classroom setting. There are four categories of learning styles in online classroom settings and they are perceptual, cognitive processing, social, and problem-based (Alalshaikh, 2015). Knowing which style is most effective for each students helps the educator to guide his/her students to success.
These three best practices can help me to be successful in addressing diversity in future online classroom settings by ensuring each of my students receiving clear communication regarding course content and that they work with one another to develop deeper understanding.
Alalshaikh, S. (2015). Cultural impacts on distance learning, online learning styles, and design. Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 16(3), 67-75, 85.