Sudie Whalen: Welcome, everybody, to the webinar, Increasing Equity on Online and Blended Learning. My name is Sudie Whalen. I'm with the California Adult Literacy Professional Development Project. I am the online course coordinator for CALPRO. I've also met quite a few of you at different workshops, whether it be the Technology and Distance Learning Symposium, the Professional Learning Community's Institute, the IET Implementation Clinic, lots of different things I've had the opportunity to engage with all of you on.

But today, we're really focusing on how to bring equity into our online and blended learning environments. Most of us are online right now. So let's go ahead and dive in, talk about how things are going. This webinar is a webinar, but I really want it to be a discussion amongst all of us. So if you have questions, we'll be answering them as they come up. Please pose your questions as they're coming to you. I want you to be just as engaged with this webinar as I am.

So I have a question to begin with for all of you. When did you start teaching online? Was it because COVID-19 made you recently, like many of us are going through? Is it something that you're not yet doing, but you're trying to prepare yourself to rear up to do it just under a year, or have you been doing this for a while, more than a year?

So it looks like we still have people answering. There should be a poll box up popped up on your screen, so you're going to answer that question in the poll box. So it looks like about 41% of you so far are not there yet. Well, we just adjusted. I'll give you guys a few more seconds to finish voting before I say what's going on.

All righty. So it looks like polling has stopped. All righty. So it looks like we had 43% of you that said you're not there yet, but you're just preparing yourself. Great. 27% of you said when COVID-19 forced my hand, you started teaching online. 13%, more or less than a year, and 20% were a year-plus. Thank you all for sharing that. I'm going to close my polling box. If that poll box is still on your screen, go ahead hit that x, and we're going to move forward.

So all of us are in this situation now we're at the point where we have to start teaching online, and we have to start sharing information online because of what's happening in the world around us, and we want to make sure we're doing that equitably, right? So far our webinar today, we're going to talk about what education equity means. We're going to talk about cultural competence continuum. We're going talk about technology and bias, and what we know about bias in technology, and how to avoid that in our online learning environments, and the things that we can do to improve equity within our own classrooms.

Let's talk about education equity. In the chat pod, I want you to just kind of tell me how do you define equity? What does equity mean to you? Let me make my window bigger so I can see it. So in the chat pod, type in what equity means to you.

Matt says, "Everyone is equal." "Fair, equal, and balanced," Melinda said. "Making sure everyone is included in spite of barriers." Catherine, thank you. Margaret said, "Everyone can participate."

Some rights and privileges. OK. Same rights and privileges, sorry. Ken, "availability of same resources." Kelly said, "Setting things up so everyone has access." Saatchi, "access support and opportunity." Access and resources from SES language accommodations, everyone has the same tools. Larry said, "Fair, equal, balanced across the learning process."

Sarah said, "Everyone has the tools they need to learn." Clayton, "Equivalent training. Olga says, "Understanding the subject immunity." Great. I like that. "All students are the same but different." Thank you, Dennis.

Suzanne said, "Equity means all participants are working from the level playing field. All are equal." Teresita said, "Equal learning opportunities to all types of students." Leticia, I hope I said that correctly. "All the students have the same rights and opportunities for learning." And Elle Manning said, "fairness and inclusion." Thank you, all. Wonderful responses. So we're going to watch a really quick video to talk about what equity means in terms of education.

[video playback]

- In the US, equality is an important principle so why isn't treating everyone equally always the right thing to do? The problem with equal treatment is that it doesn't always lead to equal results. Every plant needs sun and water, but that doesn't mean we should give all plants the same amount of sun and the same amount of water.

[audio out]

--is an important principle-- is the right thing to do. Equal treatment is that it doesn't always lead to equal results. Every plant needs sun and water, but that doesn't mean we should give all plants the same amount of sun and the same amount of water. A cactus needs a lot of sun and very little water to thrive. A tulip needs a moderate amount of both to produce a healthy bloom. A fern needs lots of water and just a little sun to grow big and bright.

If you are planting a garden, you probably wouldn't place a cactus, a tulip, and a fern together and expect them all to thrive, but our classrooms are filled with students who all have different needs. By focusing on equitable treatment, we can consider those individual needs and then provide resources and support to meet them. That way, [audio out] all students can thrive in school and life.

[music playing]

[end playback]

Sudie Whalen: All right, sorry about the glitching there, guys. I apparently can't click the chat to see what you're saying at the same time we're watching the video. So what were you saying? Volume-- yes, you would have to use your own volume control to turn the videos up. And we will have a video later, so that was a learning curve for us. But what we did learn in that video was that equity doesn't necessarily mean we all get the exact same thing, that all of our students receive the exact same thing. It means all of our students get what they need in order to succeed.

So we know that some students who might have learning disabilities, some students might have physical disabilities, some students may be visually or hearing impaired, some students might have different type of emotional barriers. There's all types of things that students might be experiencing. It could be stereotype threat, that they're worried that people think that they won't be good at math, so they don't do as well at math. And so when we talk about equity in [audio out], that student needs in order for that student to succeed.

And that doesn't necessarily mean we all give the same exact thing. It means that some students will need a little bit more help to get to where they need to be or to overcome their barriers and to succeed in education, and some students don't need as much assistance. So that's what we're talking about when we're talking about education equity.

Sudie Whalen: So let's talk about avoiding bias in an online course. So I want to ask a question of you. And you can answer this in the chat. What inequities equities do you think students could experience in an online course? What type of inequities do you think could happen in an online environment?

No internet at home, mm-hm, no access to technology, lack of equipment, limited internet access, technology, no access to a Chromebook. Different tech capabilities-- yes, technology, not understanding the computer world, yes, digital literacy and digital divide-- not having enough knowledge, language, language, no technology skills, lack of digital skills, course solely relying on text versus oral lessons, levels of competence, inability to use the technology, yes.

Unable to learn without a classroom setting, noise disruptions, language level comfort with text, students who are afraid in class versus isolated students, again, lack of tech skills, lack of English knowledge. Culture-- online culture is different than face to face, lack of understanding in the instruction-- yes, all fantastic responses.

So we know that all these things could potentially happen in technology, right? Multitasking-- Gloria, can you expand on what you mean by multitasking? Sachi said having a quiet room an environment to focus at home. Right, I'm struggling with that myself with my children and my husband around. Lack of support for comprehension checks-- right, mm-hmm.

So all of these things could become barriers to our students. But another thing that we have to look out for-- and none of you were wrong. All of these things do cause inequities. If we say we want to have an online learning environment, but everyone can't access it, or they live in a rural area that doesn't have internet connection, or everyone doesn't have a computer, or they just have a smartphone, but then that smartphone takes a long time to access the website that isn't optimized for mobile usage. So all of these things can become barriers.

But technology itself can also itself create a bias problem and then a little bit of an inequity. And I'm going to show you a quick video so you can see that. If it's too quiet, turn your individual volume up on your computer.

Speaker 2: Let's play a game. Close your eyes, and picture a shoe. OK, did anyone picture this, this, how about this? We may not even know why, but each of us is biased toward one shoe over the others. Now, imagine that you're trying to teach a computer to recognize a shoe. You may end up exposing it to your own bias.

That's how bias happens in machine learning. But first, what is machine learning? Well, it's used in a lot of technology we use today. Machine learning helps us get from place to place, gives us suggestions, translates stuff, even understands what you say to it.

How does it work? With traditional programming, people hand-code the solution to a problem step by step. With machine learning, computers learn the solution by finding patterns and data, so it's easy to think there's no human bias in that. But just because something is based on data doesn't automatically make it neutral. Even with good intentions, it's impossible to separate ourselves from our own human biases. So our human biases become part of the technology we create in many different ways.

There's interaction bias, like this recent game where people were asked to draw shoes for the computer. Most people drew ones like this. So as more people interacted with the game, the computer didn't even recognize these. Latent bias-- for example, if you were training a computer on what a physicist looks like, and you were using pictures of past physicists, your algorithm will end up with a latent bias skewing towards men. And selection bias-- say you're training a model to recognize faces. Whether you grab images from the internet or your own photo library, are you making sure to select photos that represent everyone?

Sudie Whalen: All righty, we're going to stop the video there because then we get further into an ad for Google. But what I want to talk about here is how we use technology and how we avoid that technology creating additional bias for us within our online learning environments. So things that we need to understand when we're implementing technology in our classroom is that we have to be sure that we're being intentionally equitable in all aspects. So we want to make sure that software and applications that we use are accessible to low-income students.

That means that we're not going with an app that only works on an iPhone because we know that iPhones tend to be more expensive. We want to use something that works on iPhone or Android or even if they have an old school Windows-- not old-school. Windows still makes modern phones. But if we have a Windows phone, any kind of-- we want to just make sure that the software is accessible on whether they're using a Mac or a Windows computer, whether they're on Android or Apple, that anybody can access it.

We mean to make sure that it's also free because, if we're saying that it needs to be accessible to everybody, it needs to be-- make sure that they can afford to use it. So not something that they can get to level three, and then they have to pay $9.99 to continue using the program, right? We want to make sure that the software and applications that are based on algorithms are not-- that we're structuring our assignments in such a way that the algorithm doesn't create a bias issue.

So for example, if we were talking about this five years ago, and I told you to go have your students search for a CEO, you would have largely gotten white males because that's the generic look of what a computer thought a CEO looked like. However, Google has done a really great job lately in the past few years of changing the algorithm so it shows you actual CEOs, which look vastly different. You might be talking about a white woman who is a CEO of IBM, or you might be talking about an Indian man who's a CEO of a different tech company. You might see a black woman. You could see all kinds of people because Google has updated that.

However, all search engines aren't quite there yet. So when you're asking students to go and look up a CEO, instead of saying locate a CEO, and be more specific. Locate a CEO of a technology company, so they get real-life CEOs and might find people who actually look like them.

We want to make sure that content is not-- not that we want make sure it isn't, but an equity issue in online courses is that content is often not accessible to visually and hearing impaired. And when we talk about visually and hearing impaired, people often think, OK, I need to make sure a screen reader can read it for my blind students.

But also consider font colors. Because what color schemes and font colors we use can be hard for someone who is color blind to see. I actually experienced this when I was in the classroom. I had a blended learning situation going on, since we have to submit stuff online.

And I had a male student tell me that he was having a hard time seeing some of the stuff that I posted on our website on our little Weebly classroom. And so when I looked at it, it was-- the problem was a shade of red I was using. He couldn't see it very well. So I needed to adjust the color scheme in the background so that he could see that red or change that red to a color that worked better for him.

Another issue that happens in an equity online is that it's often not representative of all students in the population. We have a tendency as humans to automatically gravitate to things that look like us. So we might end up putting a lot of people in there that we resemble or that remind us of people that we know, and it may not necessarily represent our students. I can also speak from experience on this.

I was at the an inequity session. It happens every year in Sacramento. Anyway, it was the JSPC Conference, the Joint Special Populations Conference for Perkins. And this was years ago. And I was in there, and they were talking about equity in marketing and how we market to our students. And one of the things we were struggling with is we didn't have very many males doing participating in our programs. And I didn't understand why males did not want to participate in my CTE programs. I thought they were really great programs.

And then, during the session, he starts talking about our marketing materials. And I started realizing, and I went back and looked at it, all of my marketing materials had women in them. There was not a single male in there. And it was clearly demonstrating a bias towards males.

And so I needed to go back and adjust that so that male potential students would see themselves in our CTE programs. So we just want to make sure, when we're building things, that we're inclusive in terms of accessibility and representation. And so that's another equity issue that happens quite frequently in online courses.

Another one is that the courses are not based off of equitable need, but perceived interest. And so we might give students towards what we think the student is interested in and not necessarily what the student specifically needs. And what I mean by that is, when a student comes in the door, and we hear an accent, and we think English language learner.

And we don't necessarily assume, OK, maybe they are interested in our Integrated Education and Training or IET program. Or maybe they are interested in doing an ADE class because they want to get into a CTE program or anything like that. So we want to make sure that we're offering courses based on need and interests and that it's equitable and not what we are assuming and the assumptions that we're making about our students. Because we do that sometimes. And we want to avoid doing that especially in online courses where students are not necessarily always going to see you face to face.

And so they need to know that they're represented, that they can engage with the activities, and that, when they do activities, it's not going to come back with a bias that they can access software no matter where they are, no matter what kind of devise that they're using, and that we're doing these things in a way that meet the student's need and not based on what we think that they need.

Melinda, do I have any questions, or are we still good?

Melinda: No questions so far.

Sudie Whalen: OK. So let's talk a little bit about the cultural competence continuum. A lot of times, when we talk about cultural competency, we easily see how that works in brick-and-mortar classroom. And so we're going to talk about that, and we're going to talk about how to translate that into what we do in an online course.

So first, I want to gauge your understanding and knowledge of the culture competence continuum. So let me go ahead and get my poll for you. All right, so are you familiar with the culture competence continuum? Have you never heard of it, you have heard of it, or are you familiar enough that you feel like you could teach other people about it? A few more seconds on the poll. I want to make sure everyone's voted.

So I'm going to go ahead and end polling. So 70% of you said you've never heard of it. Great, so this is going to be a fun webinar for you. 27% of you say you have heard of it, and one of you said that you could teach others about it. That's fantastic. So I'm going to go ahead and close my poll window. Make sure you close your eyes too, so that it's not blocking your screen. And so let's dive into that aspects of the continuum.

So the far into the cultural competence continuum is cultural destructiveness. And we're going to talk about what each one of these mean in a moment. So we have cultural destructiveness, cultural incapacity, cultural blindness, which is often well-meaning, but not often very good, cultural pre-competence-- which is where people who come to webinars like this typically tend to be if not further down a line within the continuum because people who don't care about competence or equity don't come to webinars like these-- cultural competence or cultural proficiency.

So I feel like most of us in this webinar probably in those top three over here towards the right there. But if not, that's OK, because we're to talk about what all of these are and how we can improve upon things.

So culture just--

Anthony: Sudie?

Sudie Whalen: Yes, sir?

Anthony: Sudie, Sorry, this is Anthony. So actually before we jump into this discussion, there was a question that come up-- when you were talking about color blindness, do you have a do you have any recommendations for maybe sites to take a look at to learn more about that and specifically about colors to use and things like that?

Sudie Whalen: I do, and I can share that in a little while. Yes.

Anthony: OK, thank you.

Sudie Whalen: I'm going to mute myself, like I was going to stop talking. Sorry. All right, so continuing with the cultural competence. And I'm going to share multiple resources with all of you guys as we go further down the line. So just hang tight. And if there's anything else you ask for and I don't get to it today, I will email you resources. So feel free to email me. So let's talk about cultural destructiveness and capacity.

Culture destructiveness is the dehumanizing dehumanization of specific cultures and individuals and people based on our own underlying biases towards and feelings of superiority in being a majority group. Or even if you're not part of a majority group, feeling that your group is somehow better than a different group, and then being disrespectful or intentionally dehumanizing people of other groups. That's cultural destructiveness.

When we get to culture incapacity, that's our inability to work with diverse populations. So culture destructiveness is the group of people who will overtly say things to your face that they know are hateful or rude or racist or bigoted or things like that. Whereas, cultural incapacity is the person may not necessarily say anything, but they can't work with someone who is different than themselves or within a diverse population.

Then we have cultural blindness, which, again, is often well-intentioned, but is not necessarily a good thing. And an approach is used by people who believe that everything that we do is basically for the greater good. And that's generally the majority perspective in that it doesn't matter what color you are and things like that nature. I don't see color, I just see humans, or we all bleed red, and things like that. Well, it's true. We do all bleed red. We all are the same on the inside.

However, I want to appreciate and respect you because of who you are, not just in spite of who you are or ignoring part of who you are. And so we embrace people for who they actually are when we're not being colorblind, when we can acknowledge that all these different skin tones are beautiful and wonderful and things like that.

Oh, Sachi, about the live closed-captioning, this is actually a function in PowerPoint. It's built into your PowerPoint. You just have to turn it on. And I can probably show you guys what that looks like. If we have time at the end, I'll show you what that looks like, but it's a really easy thing to turn on in PowerPoint. I'm glad you brought that up. I was going to bring it up later, Sachi.

Back to cultural competence-- so when we talk about cultural blindness or color blindness, it's not that it's necessarily a completely negative thing. It's very often well intentioned. It just ends up saying that I am ignoring a part of you. And so there are a lot of studies about the damage that can happen from being color blind and from telling students that I don't see your color because that can also-- if that's so tightly connected to our identities, especially here in the United States, that it can feel demeaning, and it can feel dismissive.

Then we have culture pre-competence, which is where I hope all of us are at least here. And that's an awareness of differences and different types of culture communication, the ways that we interact with each other, individuals within the schools desire to provide a fair and an equitable treatment with appropriate cultural sensitivity.

But they may not know exactly how to proceed. And so when we're at culture pre-competence, that's when we're at the point where we're saying, I embrace equity, I embrace diversity, I think it's great, I love the little melting pot that we California. But I'm not really sure how to demonstrate that in my classroom or in my online learning environment.

And so this is where we want at least get people to the pre-competence stage. Because when people are pre-competent that [audio out]. I think why most of us are probably here because, again, you came here for this webinar.

And then we have cultural competence, which is the demonstration to a commitment to diverse populations in all aspects and structures, a function within your organization, your agency, your school, things of that nature. This commitment is characterized by having a sustained systemic integration and evaluation at all levels of significant collaboration from diverse populations. And it becomes a part of the infrastructure of the organization. It becomes the way that you do business. And so that means, when you're serving diverse populations, you have a staff that is also diverse.

When you start serving diverse populations, your boards, your advisory committees, your focus groups, things like that, look like the population that you serve. And we know that in adult education, our populations tend to be diverse anyway, just by the nature of our work and what we do here. And so when we're in the cultural competence phase, we understand that. We recognize that, we accept that, and we are committed to making sure that our students are well represented regardless of their ethnicity, their gender, their ability.

If we're talking about their age, things like that, we are very inclusive, and we make sure that we understand that, in adult education, all of our populations are very diverse, and we embrace that intentionally. And it's, again, part of the way that we do business. What's coming up in the chat?

And then, cultural proficiency is demonstrated by the centrality of the school's commitment to diversity, by external expertise, leadership, proactive advocacy, and promoting appropriate care for all the diverse populations. The big difference between cultural competence and proficiency, when you really dive into the literature, is the fact that, within cultural proficiency, a cultural proficient school or agency, everybody is committed to being culturally competent. Everybody on the campus is culturally competent.

They've received the professional development. They understand bias. They understand how to avoid bias and all these great things. When we have that happening, we get the agency to cultural proficiency. Sometimes we'll have people who can be culturally proficient, but the agency is just not there yet.

And so when we're talking about this cultural competency moment, we're talking about the entire agency being committed to that diversity of needs within all of our student population. And again, when we're talking about this, we're not just talking about ethnicity and race. We're talking about all aspects of students' cultures and backgrounds.

And I see more coming in the chat. It looks like she answered that question already.

Anthony: Sorry, we're just having an OTAN discussion. So we'll let you know if there are CALPRO questions. Sorry about that.

Sudie Whalen: Thank you. All righty, so what is included in cultural competence? Well, we have things such as self-awareness. When I say self-awareness, I mean talking about-- identifying our own biases and things that occur because of our own biases. And an example of that, you have things like the Implicit Project by Harvard University.

And you can literally just Google Implicit Project. It's the first thing that comes up. And you can do all kinds of implicit bias tests to find out, do you have bias? And again, implicit bias being it's not an intentional bias. You don't realize that you have it, but it's something you can learn about.

I did this, and I found out that I had a bias against males, which was, again, that was during that same JSPC conference when I found out that I wasn't including guys and men in my promotional materials. And I was like, huh, do I really? And so that bothered me. And so I was very intentional with trying to make sure that males were included and had a sense of inclusivity and my classroom and in our programs and things like that. And so once you identify that you have a bias, then you can overcome said bias.

And there are so many different types of biases. Whether we're talking about age, whether we're talking about tattoos, if we're talking about religion-- there's so many types of biases, and we may not even realize that we have them. And so because we don't realize we have it, it can feed into the way that we do things, and we're not even acknowledging it or realizing it. And so understanding our bias and having that self-awareness makes a huge, huge difference in overcoming bias in and of itself.

Then there's cultural understanding. And a lot of times-- and there's been so much research on this about how to overcome bias. And one of the-- if you have a bias against a particular demographic group, one of the best ways to do that is to engage with that demographic group, to get to know them, to talk to someone.

And so that becomes really another way of actually overcoming bias and increasing cultural competence and increasing equity when we just get to understand how people different than ourselves function in society and how they operate and how what matters to them and what their expectations are in terms of whether we're talking about health care, or education, or child rearing. These things all vary. And so we want to make sure we understand and respect cultural differences.

Understanding multiple perspectives is also very big and cultural competence, understanding that my view is not going to be the same view as every other person, and expecting that and anticipating it and respecting it.

Another part of being culturally competent is intercultural communication. I had a co-worker who would say things, like you're my homie and things like that, but would never say it to other people. And I would always be, like, well, is that because I'm brown, black? Like was just because of the color of my skin that the word homie seemed an intentional thing to use? And it was at the time, it was funny. It wasn't something that was intended to be mean.

The person wasn't trying to be offensive or anything in any way. But at the same time, it is kind of a microaggression when you start talking in certain ways to certain people because you think that's what they expect. And we can have a whole two-hour conversation just on code switching and what that means and switching the way that we talk to specific people.

But when we're talking to someone who is, say, African American, and we start saying things like homie and sista ad bro, but we don't do that when we're talking to our white colleagues or our white students, then that's a little bit of an intercultural communication issue. And so you want to make sure that you're talking to students in a way that is respectful of them, but doesn't seem demeaning.

And also the same when we're talking to Hispanic students. And if you don't speak Spanish, but are-- and I've seen this when you don't speak Spanish, but then have that pseudo-Spanish accent where you're trying to talk to a Spanish student, like that's going to help them understand, that can come across as very demeaning as well. So we want to make sure, as we're talking in intercultural communication, that we're speaking with students in a respectful manner, that we're not demeaning them, or doesn't sound as though it were mocking in any way.

Cultural competence is very inclusive of relationship building. And adult education teachers are fabulous at this anyway. We get to know our students we understand their barriers, we understand their-- and we start to understand their needs and things like that. So that relationship-building is a huge part of cultural competence.

Flexibility and adaptability, being able to understand their needs and adapting to those needs, regardless if we're talking about a stereotype threat if a person doesn't understand something or thinks they can't do it because of, I'm a female, and I can't do math, or I'm black, I'm not good with reading, or these different things. These stereotype threats that can get into our heads and really bear us down and cause anxiety and prevent us from doing well and create a stress and test anxiety situation.

So if we understand things like this about our students, then we can work through getting better about doing that. And if you want to know more about stereotype threat, I see just reading the book, Whistling Vivaldi, or you can participate in CALPRO's motivation for persistence for adult learners module. We talked a lot about that in there.

Another part about cultural competence is intercultural communication and conflict resolution skills, being able to communicate to someone if you disagree with them, but do it in a way that's respectful without it becoming a big huge thing, without it becoming a big fight, or a issue, or a huge conflict. Just being able to say, hey, I know you found my name hard to pronounce, but it's Sudie and not being offended by that. I used to be in the military, and there's a guy in my platoon whose name, when I was in training, whose last name was Maldonado-- not a difficult last name to pronounce.

And we had a drill Sergeant and our training drill sergeant, who always called him alphabet. And it didn't make any-- throughout the whole training, the guy's name was alphabet because it had a lot of letters, right? And it wasn't even a hard name to pronounce. And so I always just assumed it did really bother Maldonado that much. And it wasn't until the last week before we were leaving that he was, like, you know, the guy's never said my name.

And those small, microaggressions like that-- like I'm not even I try to pronounce that, or not bothering to ask if you're saying someone's name correctly or attempting it can be a microaggression because your name is part of who you are. And so you want to feel respected, and you want someone to know that you respect me enough to at least say my name or ask if you're saying my name correctly. So it's small things like that, and then not making the issue of a name turn into a debate or things like that.

And then the last piece of cultural competence is that multicultural organizational development skills. One of the things that, when I've given presentations like this, that I ask-- that comes up is, does your staff represent your population? What I mean by that is, if you're serving students that are in a large Hispanic community, but you only have black and white teachers and no Hispanic teachers, none of your staff looks like the students.

And so, as a student coming in, I may not see myself reflected in there. And so how do I make those students feel included? How do I get those students to come into our classroom? So it is important for us to, one, make sure that we are hiring people that are representative of the organization. But we're not going to only hire just Hispanic staff because we're in an Hispanic area.

We want them to get to the point that students understand that all staff are here to serve all students. But it also is helpful to have staff on hand that do represent students just to get them in the door. But we also want to be able to get to the point that students understand that everyone is there to take care of me.

And while we're on that note, I also want to talk a little bit about who's responsible for helping students? This has been talked a lot about within the last couple of years, and a lot of us has experienced this where something happens with a student, and that student is directed to the teacher that looks like them because someone just assumes that the student be more comfortable with that. So say a student is having a child care barrier. They're having an issue, they're not coming to class regularly, and when the teacher asks, I've got stuff going on, I've got a personal issue, and whatever.

And they're, like, well, do you want to go talk to Miss Sudie because maybe they're assuming Miss Sudie will be more comfortable talking to the student, say, if a student were black. And then, the student were to come to me, at that point, I would of course help us to know what their issue, but also say, hey, you know, Miss Melinda or Mr. Anthony or the other teachers can all help you. We're all here to help you. It's not just me. And so we start breaking down that barrier of the student that thinking that only someone who looks like that can help them.

So it takes all of us to get us to that point. It means all of us have to work together to let the students know that you're not just my student, you're our student, and we're all here to help you and to support you in creating a culture that does that. But now we're going to talk about, how do we translate that into the interwebs or online? So here's a question for you.

What do you do in your physical classroom to reflect cultural competency? What is it that you would do if you're in a regular classroom, brick-and-mortar classroom, what is it that you do to reflect cultural competency in your classroom? And you can put that into the chat. What is it that you already do to reflect cultural competency in your classrooms?

OK, Gianna, and I hope I said that correctly. Posters, flyers, different languages for ESL student, not all in English-- wonderful. "May-tuh," "My-tuh," I don't know if I'm saying it right. So if you can put into a chat, the pronunciation, let me know. Visual representation of people across countries. "My-tay," cool, thank you, Mytay-- visual representation of people across cultures.

Gloria said, I have some flags posters displayed around the classroom. Great. Dennis, in an ESL class possibly it's pretty much built in, yeah. Students express all backgrounds, names, traditions, et cetera. Yes, and not just in ESL. It's all types of adult Ed. They're so diverse. I put students together in groups to do projects of diverse nationalities-- love that, Marianne.

Suzanne said mix up teams so they reflect different backgrounds, ages, et cetera. Wonderful, wonderful. Anyone else want to share? I post on Bulletin Board cultural traditions of varied nationalities in our EL civics lesson in diversity, great. Postcards and posters from different countries, ask students to share. I teach Afghan women. And when I teach them a new English word, I have them teach me the word Dari and Pashto. Wonderful. Use trans language and pedagogy. Thank you, Rita.

Clayton said, acknowledge different countries of origin. Ken said, if I use Spanish, then tell me more English interaction to non-Spanish-- then give more English interaction to non-Spanish speakers. OK, great. Jeannie said, I think I-- Jean, Jeannie, Jean-- I'm going to say Jean, but if I'm wrong, please correct me.

Students are broken in different groups. Dominique says learn to say students' names correctly. It's such a big deal, right? Because my class has many Latino women, I encourage them to believe that, in this country, they can become what they want to be. That's so important, Matt, thank you. And Mytay said, address the whole student. Yes, wonderful.

So all these things that you are doing right now in your regular classrooms, do the same thing online. The images and the graphics that you use, the types of things you would hang up on your bulletin boards and things like that, put those in your online courses. Make sure that they're seeing in your background, if it's different flags and things like. That if you're posting images of people in your discussions or in your assignments, include diverse groups.

It's the same way you're using language for the diverse populations. Do the same thing online. The same ways that we improve cultural competency in our classrooms, we can bring that into our online learning environment.

Here a couple more things that we can also do. So scaffolding-- everybody that's a teacher understands scaffolding, the layering on of instruction in digestible nuggets. Teachers use elements of the students' culture within the course, for example, using texts that reflects the various cultures of students in the course. So if I'm talking about-- if I'm assigning reading and things like that, I want to make sure that the people that they're reading about are not always exactly the same that, that we're diversifying that.

Zones of proximal development, which is the level from which a student can do something with help with the teacher to where they can do things on their own-- we set tasks at higher levels and students believe achievable. This helps us get over stereotype threat. And then we use scaffolding to promote the students' success.

Students' successful progression through the proximal development-- in other words, their progression through being able to do something with help to being able to do it on their own provides cognitive evidence to our teachers of the possibility of success for students from minority cultures as well, right?

And then we have the improvement of outcomes-- activities that demonstrate to students their own capabilities that they're-- it helps them understand their teacher believes in their capabilities as well, and that improves their outcomes. This also improves relationships. Yes.

Melinda: I'm sorry. We have a request that you slow down just a little bit.

Sudie Whalen: OK, I can do that. Thank you. So thank you. I do talk fast, so I appreciate that reminder, thank you. So doing the scaffolding and increasing the expectations that we have for students and identifying that, no matter who you are in my class, whether it's online or in person, I believe that you have the ability to perform academically. Then that allows me to increase the cultural competency of my class because I do that for all of my students.

Marianne, the zone of proximity development is the difference between what a learner can do with help and what they can do without help.

Anthony: Sudie?

Sudie Whalen: Yes.

Anthony: The other question from Sachi. Any advice when students-- this was your previous discussion about pronouncing the name correctly.

Sudie Whalen: I see it. I was about to answer her question. So Sachi asked, any advice when students give themselves English names and don't use their real names in class. That is a decision for the student. And so we want to respect what students do. If the student is not comfortable using their given birth name or the government name, some people say, if they're not comfortable using that because they've had negative experiences with it in the past, that is up to the student to decide how they want to do that.

We can say things like, oh, your birth name is beautiful, and it's a wonderful name and things like that to encourage them to feel good about that name. But what we don't want to do is harp on them and say, well, you need to go back to using this name because that's not your real name and things like that. So make sure the decision lays with the student on what name they choose to use. And so any other questions about this segment before we move on to more things that we can do?

Moving on to, what can we do? So there are lots of free tools. One of things we want to do is make sure we're assuring equity of access. Use web accessibility checkers. There's CynthiaSays. This last link I need to switch out. It is actually correct in the 508-compliant version of the PDF that was sent to Anthony. But these are three different free tools you can use for accessibility checking. And it will check things like, is the color consistency correct so visually impaired students can see it? So those are fantastic.

And then there's a separate link here from W3 that gives you a whole list of all kinds of various accessibility checkers for different types of things. And some of those are free. Some are free for use, so you want to definitely check those. If you're going to recommend an accessibility tool to a student, like a screen reader or something like that, please make sure you're recommending one to them that is free because we don't want to create a barrier and anticipation that they use things that are not.

Speaking of screen readers, we want to make sure that whatever you do post in your online courses and things work with a screen reader. A really good practice to do, as you're developing things is, once you get it built into your course, to run it through the screen reader and see if every aspect of what you posted can be read including image tags.

If you have images, make sure you're captioning them. Or if you're using something like Moodle or Blackboard or any of those online learning management systems, you can include image tags, and you just describe the images. That way someone who's visually impaired can actually get a description of what the image is.

JAWS is free after a try-- it has a free trial, but it's a fee after that. NVDA, the Non-Visual Desktop Access is completely free. And it's literally a donation-only platform. It's very popular, and I like that one personally.

Ensure equity of access. Check your recommended applications and software. This is really important. Are they available in more than one app store. Do they have a-- do they work on various operating systems? Will they require my students just to spend money? If they do, probably shouldn't be using it because then we might create an equity problem. Do they work for English language learners?

And one thing I do want to point out, because I've had people tell me, well, my English language learners can't really do this because they don't learn English-- they don't know English yet. Most of them do actually engage with using their smartphones, social media, email, things like that. We just want to make sure-- so they can in fact engage with digital activities if they have the digital literacy skills and foundation. And so just make sure that whatever you're directing them to can be translated into their native language until they get the language skills they need in order to use an English-only application.

Another thing to consider is, is it accessible to those who are visually and hearing impaired? I know I've been harping on that a lot, but it is very important because, if you have students who cannot see or cannot hear, you're going to lose them because we're switching to online, and we can't help it, right?

And so make sure that we have alternative methods if you're not accessible for them to still engage and for them to still participate. And if you have students who can't connect to the internet and they cannot participate, make sure you have a mechanism for them to catch up later or to turn in packets or to get to still be participating. Just always consider what other alternatives can we have so we don't have to lose students.

And then, lastly, is it accessible to students in rural areas if applicable to you? If you're in the middle of San Francisco, and all your students are in San Francisco, whether or not applicable it works for rural students may not be that important to you. But if you are serving, say, students who are in the Sacramento area, and some of them are further out in time in Rio Linda or further areas further north, than you might want to make sure that your students that are commuting into your schools can access things. Any other questions from the chat? I thought I saw something pop up. No.

And then, don't forget that representation matters. Demonstrate diversity in your online content the same way you do it in your classrooms already. Subjects in your videos and graphic imagery, make sure that they're very diverse, the subjects in your curriculum, the reading that you assign, the things that-- even the math word problems, things like that, that they're also diverse.

And subjects as examples of failure and success are also very diverse. There was a study that was done about imagery in classes and how, typically, when something-- I think was an all-- I believe it was all girl;s school. But typically, when the images was something positive, it would be the person with the blonde or red hair.

And when it was something negative, it was a person with really dark hair. And so there was a bias in the imagery because, if it was negative, it was always a person with dark hair. If it was positive, it was always someone with light hair. And that was a European study, I believe. But just make sure that whatever examples of success and failure using our diverse so that doesn't become connected to one specific population.

And lastly, don't rely solely on algorithm-based technology. If you're doing online scavenger hunts, make sure you're being really specific with what you want them to look for and the things you want them to do so that they're not all coming back with people that don't look like them, so that they do see themselves in the examples of what you're what you're using and what you are doing.

And so the last thing is some minor shameless CALPRO plug. We do have an upcoming blended learning module called Success for All Learners Through Equity. It will be available to all of our California adult education providers in the fall, and it's going to be piloting here pretty soon. But there we dive a lot deeper into the various aspects of equity, including cultural competency, microaggressions, the zones of proximal development and all that great stuff in the full module. We don't have enough time in this webinar to deep dive into all of those things.

And it looks like CALPRO rocks. Thank you. Thank you, I appreciate that. I think CALRPO is pretty great myself. So here are some resources I do want to go over with you really quickly. Access and equity for all learners and online and blended learning instruction-- great article to read. "Bias in online classes-- evidence from a field experiment," another good article, accessing technology to creating equity in schools.

CDE also has some really great distance learning guidance. And it's been updated because of COVID-19. So please take the time to go and check out those resources. Take a look at them, and see if there is anything-- not if. There's a lot of useful information on there even in terms of guidance on equity and things like that.

And then, lastly, OTAN's resource guide-- we collaborated a little bit with OTAN on that. And I appreciate them for jumping on this so quickly and so immediately, especially Anthony, for putting that together and making sure it worked for all of you. Actually every resource that we mentioned in here is in that resource guide, all those links, everything else. That's all in there. So please take advantage of these resources.

If you want to read more, than what we've been talking about there's three articles for you. If you want to access the tools I've been talking about, they're on the OTAN resource guide. If you want to CDE's guidance on how to navigate through coronavirus and do distance learning well, if you will, then please check out that distance learning guidance. And just familiarize yourself with it so you understand it. I really recommend reading that.

Do we have any questions?

Anthony: Sudie, there was a question-- you said you were going to come back to it about the closed captioning.

Sudie Whalen: Yes, I can show you that.

Anthony: --for the webinar.

Sudie Whalen: One second, sure thing. I'm going to have to just switch which screen I'm sharing, and then I'll show you where it lives. Give me one seconds. OK, so we are on screen one I think. Can you see my screen?

Anthony: Yes.

Sudie Whalen: So this little button right here, this is your closed caption button. I can [audio out] off and on. So it's built into PowerPoint. It's a really great tool. So if you're doing, say, a Zoom meeting or something like this-- and I personally like subtitles, not just for people who are hearing impaired, but in case you fall behind, you can just read up really quick on what you missed. So it's really, really great for doing that. And Margaret, I did include the accessibility links in there. It does have information for colorblind students.

And if you Google the CDE, California Department of Education style guide, I really like it because it specifies in there which colors don't work really well. And so I've been actually kind of using that one just because I really like that it's really specific as to what colors work well for people who have vision impair and color blind and what when which ones don't and which ones you should use. So I know nobody really pays attention to the CDE style guide. That is a really great tool, just saying. So yeah, please use that.

Not just PowerPoint-- I believe so. And I think Google Slides does also have a function to do captioning, is that correct?

Melinda: Yes, it does. Their button looks like a CC.

Sudie Whalen: There you go. So yeah, if you're using Google Slides or PowerPoint, and you're doing Zoom or Google Slides meeting or Teams meeting, or whatever platform you're using, you can closed caption that for your students, absolutely. Other questions in the chat?

Anthony: Sudie--

Sudie Whalen: Thank you, Anthony for posting the style guide.

Anthony: Oh, sure. Margaret-- I'm sorry, oh, did you answer this question already about Margaret's question on the colorblind students.

Sudie Whalen: Yes.

Anthony: Oh, I'm sorry, OK.

Sudie Whalen: That's how we started talking about the style guide.

Anthony: OK, so I think we're caught up on those questions then.

Sudie Whalen: OK, awesome. And so that's all from the chat also. All righty, so, at this point, I'm going to pass us over to Anthony he wants to share some information with all of you.

Anthony: So really, if you're wondering what OTAN is up to during the week, just come to the Home page again at, and then you can sign up for any and all webinars. We also have our dedicated COVID field support page. So if you click on this Red button off on the right-hand side-- and now I'm wondering, Sudie, in your discussion about the colors and all that. But it's the top button, COVID-19 field supports. So go ahead and click on that button. You'll come to our dedicated page.

Like I say, we are trying to centralize our resources on the one page here. So starting with OTAN, and people have been asking about, well, can I see the recordings, can I get the slides, and all that kind of stuff? So we have some of our webinar slides already up from last-- we had a couple of webinars last week.

We actually have Stephanie Thomas's Padlet from her presentation yesterday morning. That's linked here as well. Melinda was talking about the recordings. We have to go through a process to make them accessible adding closed captioning and such. So we have a queue of those. There's a little bit of a backlog, but we're working as quickly as we can to get those recordings up. And when we have them ready, they will be posted here as well.

As we're adding more and more webinars, we may rethink the organization of this and maybe just create a dedicated webinars page. So if you're looking for any and all of those, then you'll be able to find them. But at the moment, they're listed under OTAN. CALPRO, actually Sudie and the CALPRO folks are sending us a folder of resources that have to do with building online courses. And I believe one or two of those resources have to do with accessibility specifically. Sudie, do you want to talk about those?

Sudie Whalen: Yes, those were actually emailed yesterday, so you should have them now so you can use them. And yes, those-- one is a resource for learner persistence in online and blended learning environment. Another one is about engagement. And online blended learning and includes a online course engagement rubric that you can use to check and make sure-- to check off all the boxes and make sure that you're doing all the things that you need to in terms of accessibility and other things to keep your students engaged.

And then last one is basically this presentation that we just did in a 508-compliant format so that you know you have all the slides. And then there's one last resource that just has a lot of research and tools and things like that that's just our little curated list of things that will help you with developing your online courses in a fair and equitable manner.

Anthony: OK, so yeah, we're going to try to get that folder of resources up by the end of today so that people have a chance to take a look at them and download those resources. We have a few things from CASAS. Again, they're going to present tomorrow on distance learning and all that. And then from the CDE Office, the Adult Ed Office, this was actually a notice that came out of the field I think last week. But if they send any other notices out, we will also post them here as well.

CDE itself actually has a whole page on resources that support distance learning. And I think Sudie mentioned it as one of the resources she had in her PowerPoint. So this would be a good place to look for more resources. For our students, we just want to keep some things in mind for our teachers and students, especially the census.

I think all of us have been receiving notices now from the US Census Bureau. Please, fill out the census form. And so many of us have been doing so much work in the last six months to the past year to let our students know the importance of filling out the census form. If there were ever a time to fill out the census form for California, this is the time because this is how resources are going to get to this space now and into the future.

And then we just have a few other links to organizations that we all should be monitoring, the World Health Organization, CDC. California has a dedicated as COVID-19 page as well. Our friends at CCAE also have a resource center too. So again, this page, our fields page, is really meant to be the central place for folks to come and take a look at a variety of resources that they may need back at their agencies with their students. So that's my PSA. Thanks, Sudie.

Sudie Whalen: You're very welcome. Thank you.