More Than Words


Note: This essay was written for the 2nd Module of the MILT OOPS! – the Multicultural Inclusive
Learning and Teaching Open Online Seminar focusing on higher education.

I start this small essay with pairing of key words: multiculturalism and multicultural,
inclusion and inclusive, cultural competency and learning aims.

Smith Image 1I tend to associate multiculturalism, inclusion and cultural competency with realms of policy making regarding, for example, a multiculturalism that attends to immigration numbers and settlement patterns; an inclusion framework that requires, in part, “development of accessibility guidelines and standards for the built environment, transportation, communication, medical diagnostic equipment, and information technology”; and an understanding of cultural competency as development of “a set of congruent behaviors, attitudes, and policies that come together in a system, agency or among professionals and enable that system, agency or those professions to work effectively in cross-cultural situations.” I tend, additionally, to…

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Who in the World Are We?


Note: This essay was written for the 2nd Module of the MILT OOPS! – the Multicultural Inclusive
Learning and Teaching Open Online Seminar focusing on higher education

We Bring…Worlds

world in 100We come from multiple worlds with some connections:

We are part of a 1% with our graduate degrees.

We are also:

  • Learners seeking to understand learning.
  • Teachers seeking to understand teaching.
  • People who care about worlds of learners, teachers & communities, who seek to understand multiple – sometimes intersecting, sometimes divergent – ways for learning in and about these worlds thru interaction.

We Bring…Stories

lone treeThe single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story. 

Chimamanda Adichie

I grew up hearing oscillating narratives revealing family ups & downs, variations in family, culture & community. I wanted this in classrooms: content linking chemistry to…

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Characteristics of a Participatory Seminar


Now that we’re launching our open online participatory seminar, some ideas on those last couple of words:

In high school I spoke during class discussions only in Doc Hanneman’s geometry and calculus courses, and in history/civics courses that Lynn Pierce, William Schimmel, Roger Stouffer, and Marty Wiltgen designed around scenarios and simulations requiring role plays supported by research, discussion, and reflective writing about learning. As a college student, I began speaking in class only during year five when I switched to a political science major because the faculty welcomed dissent as part of learning.

The principles I learned from those teachers inform this seminar design:

  1. Learning requires participation and change.
  2. Learning is an activity in which participants work to create climates of safety where risks of saying, hearing, creating, and testing ideas are supported.
  3. Learning builds on the principles of improvisation.
  4. Learning takes place whether we’re ready for it…

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Making Your OOPS! Work Open

What does the “open” in “Open Online Participatory Seminar” mean? When people think of open and courses, they often think of the very popular “MOOC,” meaning Massive Open Online Course. But we wondered quite a bit about what being open really meant. The Wikipedia definition of MOOC states that open means,

“unlimited participation and open access via the web

Most of the time, this means that course resources are freely available to anyone and that participants can join and leave the course at any time, for any reason. Open remains pretty simple. However, in its apparent simplicity, we felt it left out some important ways we should think about openness.

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Participating in the MILT OOPS!

Welcome to the Multicultural Inclusive Learning and Teaching OOPS! (Open Online Participatory Seminar – see our “What is a MILT OOPS?” video to learn more). Whether you’re joining us for course credit, for badges, or to see what’s going on, this course is open to your learning and participation. We want to take a moment here to elaborate on ways that teachers interested in multicultural inclusive learning and teaching might participate in seminar discussions as well as share seminar-related writing and resources they post to personal blogs, share via Twitter, or post to other social media sites.

The Seminar Moodle Site: If you’re registered for the seminar (which you can still do through February 1st at, you can participate on our seminar discussion forums on the Moodle site. While some open courses allow users to register at any time, we’re trying to create a different sort of “open” in our class, the sort that comes through building of trust, relationships, ideas, and an atmosphere of “safety to take risks” over a period of time. So, while all of the resources that support the seminar (readings and videos, for example) will be made  available on, course discussions and participant work will be shared within the Moodle community of participants registered for the seminar.  In this, we encourage participants to choose to share their work beyond the Moodle space, determining when and where to post their work publicly, and we can share those links here, via We’ve set up this blog, in part, to serve as a point of convergence for all of our open and public facing resources and conversations. Content produced for the course, including videos, essays, assignments and other seminar materials we create, as well as Collaborative Bibliographies, will all be made available here. We’ll also publish week-by-week summaries of course activities. We’ll include in this conversations linked to our Twitter and Facebook hashtag, #learning4all. We’ll also (re-)publish the blogs and other writing of participants who write about the course. You can follow these posts at or snag our RSS feed through a feed reader like Feedly.

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