Culturally Responsive Curriculum Plan

During the spring of 2021, I worked with Clark College’s Adam Coleman and Virginia Kyle on developing a plan to infuse culturally responsive equity-focused teaching and learning practices into our computer technology curriculum.

Below is a list of the courses and the things we will be doing as a result of our work.

Course(s) to be revised:

  • Introduction to Programming and Problem Solving (CTEC 121)
  • IT Support (CTEC 104)
  • Introduction to Managed Information Systems (MIS) (CTEC 205)

For each course identified above, describe eight or more specific course content, course activity, and/or course work revisions that reflect culturally responsive teaching principles.

1) Provide Teacher-Narrated Video Feedback for Assignments

  • Using captions and subtitles with video feedback has been proven to be effective in helping students access and process information. This is especially important when considering diverse student populations, including non-native English speakers and those with special needs. The facial expressions and tone of voice go a long way to adding to the meaning of what you are hoping to get across. A student we know of has neuro-issues, and often plays the videos back several times, stating that this is a very effective means of feedback for her. Another example is students who are dyslexic and are constantly on reading overload. This modality gives them a break.
  • Students who are more attuned to aural and visual learning styles, rather than to reading and writing, can more easily process video feedback than the rather one-dimensional presentation of the written word. The video eliminates the risk of misunderstanding based on this cultural barrier and provides a break from the majority of courses that depend heavily on the written word.
  • Teacher presence in the online environment is essential to building a community of inquiry and a sense of connection with the instructor. This is culturally relevant because that connection to the instructor comes into play when the student runs into barriers or difficulties embedded in a cultural issue. They are more likely to reach out to us for guidance if they have that sense of connection person-to-person.

2) Design TILTed Assignments – Transparency In Learning and Teaching

Our intention is to be very clear and transparent about how assignments are relevant to students in their daily lives and experiences, creating assignments and activities with this component wherever applicable. We will encourage students to bring any issues to the instructor so a conversation can be arranged. 

Examples include:

  • In CTEC 121- Introduction to Programming and Problem Solving 
  • In the CTEC 104 – IT Customer Service course, we will investigate how different customers (generations) communicate with respect to technology; text, phones, emails, twitter etc. 
  • In the CTEC 205  – Introduction to Managed Information Systems there will be multiple assignments dealing with collaboration that build on each other. This includes setting up teams, creating a Team charter, and working together to create policies and procedures. 

3) Variable Assignment Formats to meet Individual Learning Styles when possible/reasonable

At the onset of the course, provide links to research-based learning styles assessments that offer study and learning strategies based on styles. We will offer learners alternative assignment options that are grounded in their individual learning style(s). An example of this would be a video or audio journal submission as opposed to written.

4) Use of Pronouns

We will ask instructors and students to state their pronouns in course introductions, Zoom, and other venues. We also will include them in the course Syllabus and email signatures.

5) Email Signatures to set at one of welcoming diversity and embracing cultural differences

We will revise email signatures to include quotes about diversity and inclusion to help set a welcoming environment in the early stages of the course.

6) Disabilities and Student Course Introductions

Not all disabilities are disclosed to DSS (Disability Support Services). We realize that all challenges to learning, such as PTSD, anxiety, even autism, are not always documented. We will be direct in asking students to let us know if there are adjustments or additions that we the instructors should be aware of so that we can work together with the learner to provide an optimal learning experience with the most equitable playing field possible.

7) Meeting Students Where They Live: Use an Implicit Bias Test – Harvard Test

Have students take an implicit bias test that allows students to choose from racism, gender, sexual orientation, ageism, ableism, etc. to gauge what biases they may be bringing to an interaction with a customer who needs help with a technical issue. After the test, have discussions about it and the results students each received. Do they think the test results are valid? If not, why? Why is it important to be aware of the biases we unconsciously bring to an interaction? Then shape the discussion as it relates to the topic(s)/industry the course is covering and see how implicit bias is part of it. Not only is this best practice for the course material, it also helps to set a tone of openness and awareness of differences, including an acknowledgment from the instructors that they, too, bring an unconscious bias to their work and are open to discussion and value the concept.

8) Module Exit Slip Surveys

Offer learners a chance to reflect on the coursework in the module every week, inviting comments and suggestions to address possible barriers, such as socio-economic or health.

9) Communicating Across Cultures Film

Have students watch the video “Communicating Across Cultures” film, and then have one or more class discussions about it, guiding the discussion to areas relevant to the coursework, For example, we can create some customer service scenarios that present a conflict or challenge based on a cultural barrier then follow with a role-play activity in which students can have a positive experience with skill-building in real-time. We also could brainstorm ways in which technology could assist (or does already) in  lessening or eliminating the barriers. Students can also add to the information from the film, suggesting communication issue scenarios based on their own observations or lived experiences regarding marginalized groups and identities. 

10) Wiki Page(s): Workshops, Events, and Opportunities

Create an ongoing Wiki page of workshops, events, and opportunities around campus that support student diversity, including student panels, speakers, scholarships, celebrations, etc. Students will be invited to contribute to the Wiki page. An example of this would be the panel in May at Clark regarding supporting trans individuals who are Pacific Islanders. These events are promoted each week to faculty in emails and announcements and can be easily copied and pasted into the weekly updated Wiki page. 

Announcing Two New Non-Credit Classes at Clark College

I’m happy to announce two new exciting “non-credit” courses that are being offered this Fall through Clark College that I wanted you to know about!

If you have any questions whatsoever, please get in touch with me.

My Favorite Deno Resources

Deno is a secure runtime for JavaScript and TypeScript.

The Deno runtime is implemented in Rust and TypeScript.

Learn about Deno at Deno Home page.

Videos on Deno

Books and other Resources

TypeScript Deep Device

Zoom Meeting Settings and Other Helpful Info for Teachers and Instructors

Here’s a list of things that you can do to make for a better Zoom online meeting experience. If you have any additional things you would recommend, please leave a comment.

In Zoom’s settings do the following:

Turn on:

  • The Waiting Room feature
  • Set up a meeting password
  • The “Remove uninvited participant” feature

Turn off:

  • The Private Chat feature. Direct people to use the Chat and Q&A for questions.
  • Screen sharing by others. You can enable this during the meeting if necessary.

Additional recommendations:

  • Do not post your Zoom link publicly
  • Have another teacher or trusted participant set up as a Co-Host to manage comments and the meeting waiting room.
  • Lock your meeting once all of the students have joined. You can do this using “Manage Participants” once the meeting has started.
  • Practice and test your Zoom workflow with others.
  • Mute digital assistants such as Alexa, Google Home, and Siri.
  • Remove any visual distractions that may focus attention away from you in the background.
  • Have good lighting in the room so that attendees can see you.
  • Angle your webcam so it shows your face dead-on.
  • Limit tapping, movement and other things that may cause audio distractions.
  • Remove pets from the room.
  • Remove pets from the room(s) next to the room you are in.
  • If you will be sharing your computer screen, clean up your computer’s desktop.
  • Try and not use WiFi. Use a wired network connection instead.
  • Use a good quality headset with a microphone.
  • Silence your smartphone and other devices.
  • Turn off all the alerts on your smartphone, and other devices.
  • Mute any digital assistants in your home.
  • Check the batteries in your mouse/keyboard and make sure they aren’t running low.
  • Close all of the other applications running on your computer.
  • Turn off notifications or other pop-ups or anything else that may be disruptive.
  • If you are in a bedroom, make sure that your bed is made and the room is neat.
  • Have a test call with a friend prior to your meeting.

Zoom Meeting Code of Conduct Suggestions

Here are some things to consider adding to your Zoom Meeting, or any other virtual meetings “Code of Conduct”. Do you have some that you would add? If you do, please let me know by leaving a comment. Hat tip to BDS Consulting in Seattle for allowing me to share some of their bullet points.

Expectations for Meeting Participants

  • Participate with grace and humor.
  • Ask for (and accept) help from others. You want this to work for everyone.
  • Embrace the moment and the technology to the greatest extent possible.
  • Try something new.
  • Suspend judgment.

Suggested Norms and Guidelines to Follow

  • Mute your audio when you are not speaking.
  • Because this is an audio-based meeting, your voice acts as your physical presence. Be thoughtful of when you speak. Be courteous, and don’t interrupt the speaker.
  • If you are not using your webcam for the meeting, cover it up.
  • Be explicit and animated about non-verbal communication. Nodding; thumbs up; hand-raising.
  • Minimize distractions and be present by putting away phones, closing unrelated work, closing the door, etc.
  • Improve clarity by speaking deliberately, use good lighting (behind your camera), testing audio equipment.

Where to find Bruce at Clark College Winter 2020

Here are the courses I’m teaching during the Winter 2020 quarter:

  • CTEC 121 – Intro to Programming & Problem-Solving in SHL 125 (Tuesday & Thursday 10:30 AM – 12:50 PM
  • CTEC 127 – PHP and SQL 1 in SHL 125 (Monday & Wednesday 10:30 AM – 12:50 PM)
  • CTEC 270 – Web and Interface Design 1 in AA4 103 (Monday & Wednesday 3:00 – 4:50 PM)
  • CTEC 293 – Web Skills Portfolio (online)

Office Hours

Monday through Thursday

  • 9:30 – 10:15 AM in SHL 127
  • or by appointment

Tuesday and Thursday

  • 2:00 – 3:00 PM in SHL 127
  • or by appointment

Visual Studio Code – 10 Keyboard Shortcuts You Need to Know

Here are 10 of Visual Studio Code keyboard shortcuts that will help you out a lot. Give them a shot and let me know what you think.

Turn off word-wrap
Windows: Alt + z
Mac: ⌥ + z

Toggle the sidebar
Windows: Control + b
Mac: ⌘ + b

Toggle File explorer
Windows: Control + Shift + e
Mac: ⌘ + ⇧ + e

Quick Open a File
Windows: Control + p
Mac: ⌘ + p

Reopen a tab you just closed
Windows: Control + Shift + t
Mac: ⌘ + ⇧ + t

Close the Active Tab
Windows: Control + w
Mac: ⌘ + w

Go to a specific tab that is open
Windows: Alt + number
Mac: ⌃ + number

Add cursor to lines above/below
Windows: Control + Alt + up/down
Mac: ⌘ + ⌥ + up/down

Move a line of code up or down (or block of code)
Windows: Alt + up/down
Mac: ⌥ + up/down

Toggle the VS Code Terminal Window
Windows: Control + ~
Mac:  ⌘ + ~


Bruce Elgort believes…

  • We are our best selves when challenged.
  • Students gain far more from correcting their own answers than from being corrected by the instructor.
  • Learning to learn will help all students pass all their class, and develop their critical thinking skills.
  • All students should pass this class, and the next, and the next.
  • He is not an answer key.
  • If he were to answer “Is this correct?” questions from students, then students will quickly get the message that they cannot trust their own self-assessment skills. This is poor training for success on quizzes, exams, and especially the real world, where there are no answer keys.
  • Learning is slow, takes time and effort.
  • Asking questions is the best way to help yourself, and your group.
  • Knowing why your answer is right is just as important as the answer itself.
  • Answers are best said by students.
  • Instruction should be kept simple.
  • Reflection is the only way to see our larger truths.
  • Activities should be completed by the instructor multiple times.