Teaching & Learning
The INCLUDE team is working with partners across the UConn campus to create
an ecosystem that supports diverse learning styles and cultivates the potential
of neurodivergent students to contribute to innovations in engineering.
The INCLUDE team has developed ten (10) revised courses which will be delivered in the 2021-2022 academic year. These courses are aimed at providing an improved educational experience for students in their sophomore and junior years. Students enrolled in the INCLUDE sections of the following courses may choose to participate in research that will provide valuable feedback that will further shape the course redesign process.
Civil Engineering Courses:
- CE 2110 - Applied Mechanics I (Statics)
- CE 3110 - Mechanics of Materials
- CE 3510 - Soil Mechanics
- CE 3610 - Basic Structural Analysis
- CE 4210 - Operations Research in CEE
Environmental Engineering Courses:
- ENVE 1000 - Environmental Sustainability
- ENVE 3120 - Fluid Mechanics
- ENVE 3220 - Water Quality Engineering
- ENVE 4210 - Environmental Engineering Chemistry
- ENVE 4540 - Design of Groundwater Systems
This course module will introduce neurodiversity to students enrolled in FYE (UNIV 1800) courses through the School of Engineering.
Course module may address some of the following questions:
- What is neurodiversity?
- Am I neurodivergent?
- How can I build my support network at UConn?
- How does neurodiversity help me as an engineer?
The I-Course Standards Framework was developed to guide the course redesign process of the CEE INCLUDE Working Group during the summer of 2020. The CEE INCLUDE Working Group collaborated with educational design coaches, experts from the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, and faculty from the Neag School of Education to create these standards for our I-Courses.
I-Courses are anchored by a commitment to a Strength-based Approach and centered around three core course features: Culture of Inclusion, Teaching and Learning, and Instructional Design.
Studies of strength-based initiatives in higher education settings show that exposure to a strengths-based interventions can produce immediate positive short-term effects including increases in confidence, self-efficacy and learning breakthroughs (Louis, 2011). By incorporating awareness of student and faculty strengths into teaching and learning, it is hoped that I-Courses may enhance engagement, motivation, and persistence in the face of challenges (Schreiner, 2014).
Culture of Inclusion
Course instructor builds a culture of inclusion by:
- communicating their commitment to inclusion via a written or verbal statement to students
- learning more about cognitive and other forms of diversity through workshops, readings, or other professional development opportunities
- connecting with their students and/or otherwise encouraging a sense of belonging
Teaching & Learning
Course instructor carefully considers ways to encourage student motivation and engagement by:
- providing opportunities for active learning
- building in some elements of flexibility or choice that allow students to personalize their education to meet their learning needs and preferences
- providing multiple modes of feedback and communication to students about their learning
Course instructor undertakes a design process that:
- centers students as stakeholders in the educational experience
- provides scaffolding and/or other supports for student learning
- follows principles of Universal Design to make the course accessible to all types of learners
An I-Course Syllabus should include a personalized inclusion statement from the faculty/instructor teaching the course. A sample inclusion statement is included below:
Sample for I-Course Instructors
I am a member of the INCLUDE program team, an NSF-funded neurodiversity initiative that aspires to create an inclusive learning environment in which all students can thrive. Emphasis is given to providing a strength-based approach to education that encourages students to identify, develop, and leverage their unique abilities to address complex engineering problems. This course was designed to address the diverse ways of thinking and learning that neurodiverse students possess. Several pedagogical innovations will be implemented in this course including, but not limited to peer-learning, alternative examination modalities, project-based learning, etc.
If you aren’t teaching a course that is designated as an I-Course, but you still want to build a culture of inclusion for neurodiverse students, consider a statement such as:
Sample for non-I-Course Instructors
I believe in creating an inclusive learning environment for all students and I value my students’ unique ways of thinking and learning. If you are experiencing difficulties for any reason, or if you would like to talk about ways that we can help you to succeed in this course, please contact me or your TA.