Creating Online Education Spaces to Support Equity, Inclusion, Belonging, and Wellbeing

Atlanta's John Marshall Law Journal, Volume XIV, No. 2 (2021)

Georgia State University College of Law, Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2022-05

40 Pages Posted: 27 Jan 2022 Last revised: 15 Mar 2022

See all articles by Lisa Bliss

Lisa Bliss

Georgia State University - College of Law

Susan L. Brooks

Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law

Chaumtoli Huq

CUNY School of Law

Date Written: January 14, 2022

Abstract

The pivot to online education during the pandemic has led those who teach students at all levels to explore how to promote student engagement in online classes. While building and enhancing teacher capability with online teaching is important, given the social unrest and other political, social, and emotional challenges presented by the pandemic, perhaps especially in the law school context, expertise with shifting the teaching of legal doctrine to online modalities alone is not enough. Law teachers need to consider how they can bring an anti-racist and trauma-informed lens and a focus on wellbeing to their online pedagogy and create learning communities that are democratic, inclusive, and caring. While this article was inspired by recent events, its co-authors share a longstanding commitment to these ideas and strongly believe they are applicable across many contexts, including legal education. This article identifies approaches, strategies, and tools law teachers can use to promote equity, inclusion, belonging, and wellbeing for all learners in their classrooms, especially students from historically marginalized groups. It focuses on methods for creating community within classrooms in an online environment in ways that promote racial justice and support individual and collective wellbeing. Part I discusses the reasons the co-authors have chosen to prioritize this aspect of our work. Part II explores how we create an intentional learning community where everyone belongs, in large part through equitable design and through creating a welcoming space for learning. Part III highlights a number of additional ideas we hope will inspire readers to re-imagine their own courses with attention to the goals and aspirations of this article.

Keywords: legal education; inclusion, equity, belonging, wellbeing; online learning; community building

Suggested Citation

Bliss, Lisa and Brooks, Susan L. and Huq, Chaumtoli, Creating Online Education Spaces to Support Equity, Inclusion, Belonging, and Wellbeing (January 14, 2022). Atlanta's John Marshall Law Journal, Volume XIV, No. 2 (2021), Georgia State University College of Law, Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2022-05, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4008641 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4008641

Lisa Bliss

Georgia State University - College of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 4037
Atlanta, GA 30302-4037
United States

Susan L. Brooks (Contact Author)

Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law ( email )

3320 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.drexel.edu/law/susan-brooks.asp

Chaumtoli Huq

CUNY School of Law ( email )

2 Court Square
Long Island City, NY 11101
United States

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