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.

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

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.

Where to find Bruce at Clark College Winter 2019

Classes Bruce is teaching:

  • CTEC 121 – Intro to Programming and Problem Solving (Python) (M/W 10:30AM – 12:50 PM)
  • CTEC 122 (online) – HTML Fundamentals
  • CTEC 127 – PHP and SQL 1 (T/Th 10:30AM – 12:50 PM)
  • CTEC 293 – Web Skills Portfolio
  • CTEC 290 – WordPress Development

Mondays through Thursday

  • 2:00 – 3:15 PM Office Hours in SHL 127


Reflecting on my journey as a community college instructor

The one thing I absolutely love about my job as an instructor is the ability to share my experiences working in corporate America, starting an open source community for IBM, producing a podcast with 177 episodes, owning a successful software startup and being involved with social media since 2001. I have seen and experienced it all. The good, bad and ugly. Sharing these experiences resonates with students and colleagues.

Thank you to all of you who have been part of my journey.

Where to Find Bruce at Clark College – Fall 2018

Classes I am teaching:

  • CGT 205 – Web Design 1
  • CTEC 121 – Intro to Programming and Problem Solving (Python)
  • CTEC 122 (online) – HTML Fundamentals
  • CTEC 165 – Business Web Practices

Mondays and Wednesdays

  • 2:00 – 3:45 PM Office Hours in SHL 127
  • 4:00 – 5:50 PM CTEC 165 in SHL 125 (Monday) / FHL 126 (Wednesday)

Tuesdays and Thursdays

  • 1:00 – 3:50 PM CTEC 121 – Into to Programming and Problem-Solving in SHL 124
  • 4:30 – 5:30 PM Office Hours in SHL 127
  • 6:00 – 8:50 PM CGT 205 – Web Design 1 in AA4103

Clark College Course Schedule

Clark College Exceptional Faculty Award

Last night at the Clark College Commencement ceremony I was recognized for receiving the “Exceptional Faculty Award”. There are 5 professors who received this award for the 2017/2018 academic year. There are over 600 faculty members at the college. I am very honored to have received this distinguished award. I want to thank my wife Gayle  Elgort for all her love and support. I’m also extremely grateful to the students who nominated me for this distinguished honor.

Bruce Elgort, Computer Technology

If there is one word to describe computer technology instructor Bruce Elgort, it is probably “connected.” He stays connected to his students through email, social media, and online tools. “Never in the history of teaching has a professor been more available to his students,” raved one student in their nomination.

Elgort is also connected to local industry through his long career in tech, which includes high-level positions at major companies like Sharp and Underwriters Laboratories, as well as launching his own successful software company. And he creates connections in his community, regularly attending (and sometimes speaking at) conferences and inviting others to come with him. “I can’t count the number of events I’ve attended because Bruce posted something on Slack or Facebook—or gave me a digital nudge saying, ‘You should go to this!’” wrote another student.

Small wonder, then, that Elgort has gathered a significant fanbase at Clark since beginning to teach here in 2012. Indeed, this is his second time winning an Exceptional Faculty Award at the college; the first time was in 2013. Elgort says that, since then, he’s become involved in numerous Clark committees and initiatives. In other words, he’s become more, well, connected to Clark—and clearly Clark is all the stronger for it.

I’m blown away…