“A way of seeing is also a way of not seeing.”

Burke, K. (1935). Permanence and change: An anatomy of purpose. Muriwai Books.

Introducing EDI principles

Illustration of video chat
(Koch, 2021)

Now that you’ve spent some time thinking about your goals as a learner, we’d like you to take a moment to reflect on who you are as an instructor. We all have a “way of seeing” that is rooted in our own experiences and background, and we bring unconscious biases to our work as instructors. By becoming aware of these experiences and thinking about how our unconscious biases affect our teaching and interactions with learners, we can take steps to use more inclusive language and teaching approaches, encourage more empathetic communication, and promote vocabulary and terminology that respects and values the diversity of the Canadian and global community.

It is important to note that terminology and definitions are always evolving as society grapples with these complex ideas, so we encourage you to approach this as a life-long learning pursuit toward more inclusive teaching.

Some key terms for equity, diversity, and inclusion

Equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) are common terms used today to frame an intentionally comprehensive approach to a particular goal. In our context, it is equity, diversity, and inclusion in online learning.

Click the terms to reveal how we view each of them in the context of this course and your learning.

Our use of EDII as an acronym

This course focuses on providing guidance for creating quality online learning experiences and while we are focusing on key instructional design principles, part of this includes EDI approaches. Given the Canadian context of this course and that we cannot dedicate significant time to any one topic, we will only be able to provide a few examples of how to Indigenize your course, and will not be providing guidance on decolonizing course design and materials. However, we highly recommend searching the eCampus Ontario Open Library catalogue to locate specific courses and resources for authentic and non-culturally appropriating approaches to decolonization and Indigenization of learning and teaching. We still recognize the importance of incorporating Indigenous knowledge systems and teaching/learning approaches so we will often use the EDII terminology when discussing EDI concepts to explicitly acknowledge the work that remains to be done in the Canadian educational system.

How we’ve incorporated EDII perspectives into this course

An EDII perspective on [topic]

Look for the “An EDII perspective on [topic]” call-out boxes (such as this one!) interpolated throughout the course. These are designed to signal EDII content and offer EDII insights on the topic under discussion.


Take a moment to reflect on yourself as an instructor in your field and also as an instructor in the online space. Before you begin to design your course, think about these questions:

  • How do your assumptions and personal history influence your approach to teaching online?
    For instance:

    • How do you bring your identity to the classroom (e.g., first language, race, gender, ethnicity, socio-economic status, nationality), either inherently or purposefully?
    • Have you always been able to study full-time, without the distractions of part-time jobs or family responsibilities?
    • Do you have prior experience being an online learner yourself?
  • What has your access to technology been like?
    For instance:

    • Have you had consistent access to the internet? Has cost been a factor?
    • What is your process for getting comfortable with new technologies, or do you avoid them?
  • What do you consider your primary role as an online instructor?
  • Have you ever considered why you teach the content that you do?
    For instance:

    • Is it mandated by your profession? The government?
    • Are there types of knowledge that you inherently see as more important? Why is that?
    • Is there space for different perspectives in your course?
  • How might the above considerations influence the way you approach teaching online?

Power, privilege, & intersectionality:

Click the titles to learn about additional concepts to keep in mind as you work through this course.

Click the titles for simple strategies and prompts for critical self-reflection that can interrupt unconscious biases.

Resources for further study

If you wish to further reflect on the potential privileges and oppressions of your own identity, we recommend the following privilege/oppression diagram provided by the Intertwine Charter. It is helpful in proposing examples of actions that avoid discrimination and in proactively adopting an intersectional approach.

You may also find the below glossaries useful for becoming more comfortable with certain EDI-related terminology. It is okay to feel unsure about proper usage; as long as you are humble and open to asking questions and receiving answers, most people are happy to clarify what a term means to them and how it should be used.


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