Inclusive Teaching Practices – Fall 2022 Newsletter 2

By November 4, 2022April 5th, 2024Smeal Academy Newsletter

Smeal Academy Fall 2022 Connections Newsletter 2 –Inclusive Teaching Practices

The goal of the Smeal Academy is to equip the Smeal Community with best practices and strategies for teaching and learning with technology to support Smeal’s business education and research needs. This newsletter provides resources, tips, and pointers as we move through the semester.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

5 Ideas for Inclusive Classrooms from the eLDIG Team

It’s always important to consider how we can cultivate classroom environments that make everyone feel welcome. The following suggestions can be easily incorporated:

  1. Consider representation in the resources you provide students. There are so many fantastic repositories of free images available for use in your classroom materials. The following are just a few: Women of Color in Technology, Disability Inclusive Stock Photography, and Beyond the Binary.
  2. Add your pronouns to your Canvas and Zoom profiles. Recommend that students do the same and provide support documentation: Canvas: Add Gender and Identity Pronouns to Your Name and Zoom: Add Gender or Identity Pronouns to Your Zoom Profile.
  3. Remember the importance of connection before content. Learning is social! There are lots of great tools for encouraging interpersonal connection within your class that make your content more meaningful. These virtual question cards from WeConnect are a great free resource for encouraging conversation.
  4. Solicit student feedback frequently, including personal reflections on their learning. This is a great way to support students and keep your finger on the pulse of their classroom experience. Tools like Canvas Surveys and Microsoft Forms are great ways to gather this feedback.
  5. Remember the power of microaffirmations! Microaffirmations include behaviors as simple as: nodding and making eye contact with students while they’re talking; making sure to call on students of different races and genders equally; referring to every student by his or her name; using inclusive language — for instance, talk about “families” instead of “parents;” openly giving praise for a wide range of actions; and staying enthusiastic when interacting with students. (Rastegari & Shafer)

Rastegari, I. and Shafer, L. (2016, December 22). Accentuate the Positive: The transformative power of small encouragements and welcoming interactions. Harvard Graduate School of Education.

The eLDIG team is here for the Smeal community. If you want to discuss an idea or need for your course(s), please don’t hesitate to contact us to schedule a consultation at

Upcoming Live Sessions

  • TLT Creating Community via Technology,1:30 to 3 pm on Nov. 8th or 9th. Register via the Creating Community via Technology Registration Form.
  • Lab Virtualization Considerations and Strategies, 2-1 pm on November 30th. Come learn about Smeal’s lab virtualization approach to ensure that students and faculty have the software and apps they need for their courses. Smeal faculty will share some of their experiences with virtual labs. We will also discuss the next steps for faculty considering the use of virtual labs as we increase our virtualization offerings via Zoom.

NOTE: Recordings and resources from previous sessions can be found on our eLDIG Website.

Tips of the Week

  • Tip #1: Canvas New Quizzes Update. The Canvas vendor has informed Penn State that the New Quizzes migration timeline is on hold and will be sending an update in the coming weeks with more details. Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available.
  • Tip #2: Set up Thresholds in Starfish. To make Starfish reporting easier, be sure to set up your grading thresholds in Starfish (and your gradebook and grading scheme in Canvas). Check out this Knowledge Base article for instructions. Students have indicated that Starfish feedback helps them better understand how they’re doing in classes, and it also supports advisors as they guide their advisees which is particularly important as we approach the late drop deadline.

Contact Us

Email us at or fill out the eLDIG Contact form and we will be in touch.