Teaching Diversity Online - A Chronicle Webinar

On March 4th, IFYC sponsored the webinar, The Next Dimension for Online Education: Teaching Diversity and Difference hosted by The Chronicle of Higher Education. The webinar resonated with many, and more than 1,500 people registered for the conversation.

Little did we know that just a few days later, the entire world of higher education would be upended by Covid-19. What seemed like a conversation aimed at the future quickly became immediate action necessary as most campuses moved to online learning for the duration of the 2019-20 academic year.

Dr. Paul LeBlanc, President of Southern New Hampshire University, which has been at the forefront of online learning throughout the past decade, was one of the webinar panelists. President LeBlanc commented recently on our current moment and why the webinar matters so much. “Because of the pandemic, America is engaged in a massive experiment with online education,” said LeBlanc “Many faculty who have never taught online -- and may have looked down upon it -- are now trying to understand how to teach in a virtual setting. If they can master the teaching of diversity online, they will not only serve that important goal itself, but they will develop the tools needed to teach the kind of complex, important, and distinctly human skills they thought impossible in virtual spaces.”

Dr. Eboo Patel, Founder and President of IFYC, agrees saying, “Because of Covid-19, almost every college student in the United States is doing some of their higher education online. As the leader of an organization dedicated to promoting the civic value of religious diversity, the webinar helped crystalize my belief that online learning can engage diversity positively in ways that are organic and unique to the online environment.”

You can view the full transcript of the conversation here.

Access more resources on how to teach about religious diversity here and here.

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The opinions contained in this piece are solely the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Interfaith Youth Core. Interfaith America encourages a wide range of views and strives to maintain a respectful tone with a goal of greater understanding and cooperation between people of different faiths, worldviews, and traditions.