B(ui)LDS: Biological, Universal, and Inclusive Learning in Data Science Community

and Inclusive Learning in Data Science

Builds Resources on Inclusion

Brian Dewsbury's Resources on Inclusion

Ontologies for UDL and Related Content

Inclusive Petagogy for Life Science Education Tagging Ontologies


Brian Dewsbury's Resources on Inclusion.

Taking the next steps

Below is a list of material in various platforms that I hope help inform your developing thoughts on the ways in which social structure affects the nature of teaching and learning. Older works discussing the explicit connection of social context to the classroom for example, can be best found in the works of Paulo Freire (Pedagogy of the Oppressed)and bell hooks (Teaching to Transgress). I don’t necessarily subscribe to all social interpretations present in the suggestions below, but they do provide a broad perspective of various aspects of history. To aid your journey into this ‘rabbit hole’, I include some summary words describing how the material was valuable to me, so you can anticipate on some level how it may impact your thinking. 

Launching into one piece of material will likely lead you to seek more. For example, a colleague told me that WEB DuBois might be turning in his grave at how his work was summarized in a brilliant book (mentioned below) I recently read called Stamped from the Beginningby Ibram Kendi. He then directed to more original works to better interpret DuBois’ interpretation of black intellectual progress such as W.E.B. DuBois: Biography of a race, 1816-1919 by David Levering Lewis. This means that you in turn will find yourself with more questions than answers at the end of each, but I trust you embrace that. Ultimately it is your interpretation and wrestling with our fractious histories that will evolve into how you see our ‘chance at birth’, each other, your students, and ultimately your instruction differently. 

Books (General)

Whistling Vivaldi: How stereotypes affect us and what we can do by Claude Steele 

This book discusses the phenomenon of stereotype threat. It is defined as the contingency experienced by the awareness of a stereotype associated with one’s identity. This awareness research shows can result in decreased academic performance. The author includes in the later chapters very clear suggestions on teaching strategies to reduce the potential of ST in the classroom.

Blindspot: Hidden biases of good people by Anthony Greenwald and Mahzarin Banjani

The authors here summarize the development, implementation and results of the implicit association test (http://implicit.harvard.edu). They also discuss the neurological basis for implicit bias and suggest ways, with very interesting examples, in which we can adjust everyday activities to reduce the potential effects of implicit bias.

A Different Mirror: A history of multicultural America by Ronald Takaki

The author discusses the immigration patterns in late 19thand 20thcentury America. Beyond simply listing the patterns, he discussed the challenges and triumphs of the assimilation process. This book can be useful for understanding how social groups of new identities integrate into spaces dominated by different cultures. After all, social belonging research largely began with the study of immigration. 

Some of my best friends are black: The strange story of integration in America by Tanner Colby

A somewhat satirical take on 20thcentury race relations, the author uses five location specific examples to explain the nuance of what we think of as immigration. I suggest this because it’s one thing to understand the jurisprudence of integration or even the morality behind it, it’s a different thing entirely to watch it manifest in detail. It is certainly not a straightforward process, and as you work through his examples it may remind you of residential segregation in the current day, which might have real relationships to your student population. At the very least you will be laughing for 50% of the book (maybe more). 

The Color of Law: A forgotten history of how our government segregated America by Richard Rothstein

Speaking of housing segregation, this book is a brief history of the deliberativeness of the housing patterns seen today in major American cities. The structure of some of these communities may inform the nature of your student population. When we think of social mobility, we must not forget the very powerful systemic forces that historically worked against it. 

Paying the Price: College Costs, Financial Aid, and the Betrayal of the American Dream by Sara Goldrick-Rab

The Higher Education Act was SUPPOSED to usher equitable access to college. It did for a while then a lot happened and glitches multiplied on themselves. This book illuminates several black boxes when it comes to paying for college, that may explain why even recipients of aid still find themselves straddled in debt. 

Stamped from the beginning: The definitive history of racist ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi

The author summarizes centuries of black history to address the thesis of why the black diaspora has been historically perceived in an inferior light. The book lifts heavy, and each section is best digested separately, but it may impact your (maybe even progressive) mental narrative of global black history. 

White Trash: The 400-Year untold history of class in America by Nancy Isenberg

In this book, the fractious history of America is told through the lens of how various groups of whites were seen as occupants of the social bottom. The ways in which class was manipulated to maintain power structures have lessons and ramifications for social relationships today.

There goes my everything: White Southerners in the age of civil rights by Jason Sokol

My initial readings of incidents during the civil rights era tended to focus on extreme personalities both good and bad. This book takes a look at the same period through the eyes of white supporters, detractors and ambivalents during this time period. It is not an easy read, but I think necessary if we are not to take binary positions on easily polarizing issues such as race relations.

Becoming a critically reflective teacher by Stephen Brookfield.

In this book Dr. Brookfield argues powerfully for the role of reflection in a consistently evolving pedagogy. He offers practical advice both for why reflection is necessary and how it can impact the everyday practice. 

Waking up White by Debbie Irving

This raw confessional is an autobiographical documentation of a white female coming to terms with the ways in which racism and classism allowed her to experience the privileges she did. It is somewhat generalization heavy, but there is much to learn from the awakening she experienced. 

Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance

An autobiographical account of growing up in rural America, and eventually navigating to the army and then law school. Vance’s book is his own interpretation of his rural upbringing, and gives us a peak into class differences in that part of the country.

Gender Trouble by Judith Butler

This work is jargon heavy and a slow read, but provides the theoretical underpinnings of how we think of and discuss gender today. 

Documentary Films

Ivory Tower [Andrew Rossi]- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BjfwnBuj3O0 –
Discusses the current and future of higher ed. Interesting points worth discussing. The director reaches far and wide but not too deep. There is a lot to consider her regardless of the nature of the institution you teach at.

13th[Ava DuVernay]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V66F3WU2CKk –
Extraordinary documentary on the 13thamendment and crime in America. 

Tell them we are rising| The story of black colleges and universities[Stanley Nelson]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cgmri7VBzpA. The social context and history of the creation, evolution and meaning of black colleges and universities in the United States. 


Three miles: This American Life - https://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-
archives/episode/550/three-miles - Podcast covers different things in education including school disparity in K12, and social belonging in elite schools. The power in this work are the interviews with the characters on how the different education experiences impacted them. You may find yourself seeing examples of your students in the voices you here. 

A not so simple majority: This American Life - https://www.thisamericanlife.org/534/a-not-so-simple-majority- This podcast discusses a fractious relationship between a inhabitants of the East Ramapo school district and their school board. The relationship has a history worth dissecting. It was wonderful. 

Summer melt: Hidden Brain - http://www.npr.org/2017/07/17/537740926/why-arent-students-showing- up-for- college - Podcast, using examples, explains how the college admission test can exclude low-income students.

Community: Planet Money - http://www.npr.org/sections/money/2015/03/18/393904767/episode-611-community. For some identities access is what matters, but it’s a whole other story knowing what to do once there. Focusing on the transition of a community college student, this podcast may make you think more deeply on the need for intrusive, deep advising. 

Scene on Radio [Seeing White] - http://www.sceneonradio.org/seeing-white/. The host unpacks what it means to be white, and in so doing discusses in depth the relationship between racism and power. This is a 14-part series. I strongly recommend listening to each as an individual lesson that needs unpacking. 

Radically Normal: How gay rights activists changed the minds of their opponents. https://www.npr.org/templates/transcript/transcript.php?storyId=709567750. This episode of the Hidden Brainexplores over a decade of work that gay rights activists engaged in to seismically change public opinion on LGBT culture. Lessons from this can have implications for the role of engaging those with drastically different mindsets in our work toward equity.  

People like us: How identities shape health and educational success. https://www.npr.org/2019/06/03/729275139/people-like-us-how-our-identities-shape-health-and-educational-success. Using examples from education, health and others, this podcast explores the concept of social belonging. It tackles tough questions including how do you encourage the belonging that is engendered from affinity groups without diminishing the potential for creating cross cultural communities?


If you want a look into my own inspirations for being in the classroom, please enjoy my recent piece in Scientific American (https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/voices/the-soul-of-my-pedagogy/). 

These are a start, but there is more. Feel free to reach out to me directly (dewsbury@uri.edu; 401 874 2248) if you want to discuss anything you read, or are looking for other suggestions. I do tweet on issues relating to education, class and race, and you might find some of those things useful (@bmdewsbury). 

Enjoy the rest of the academic year all.


Meghan’s suggestions: 

Well, what can I add after Bryan’s terrific list?! Thankfully, there are many people hard at work writing and speaking on these ideas, so I have a few more. I will echo what Bryan mentioned, in that I do not necessarily subscribe to everything mentioned in every resource here, but I have found these to be informative to broadening my perspectives and improving my approach towards education in practical ways. 

Books & guides



Podcasts & videos: 


Examples of my work: 

Ontologies for UDL and Related Content

Universal Design for Learning (UDL) –A framework to improve and optimize teaching and learning for all people based on scientific insights into how humans learn (http://www.cast.org/our-work/about-udl.html#.XV25uXt7lPYCAST).

There are 3 aspects or tenants to this framework

  • Engagement:Stimulate interest and motivation for learning
  • Representation:Present information and content in different ways.
  • Action and Expression: Differentiate the ways students can express what they know.

Universal Design - The design and composition of an environment so that it can be accessed, understood and used to the greatest extent possible by all people regardless of their age, size, ability or disability. An environment (or any building, product, or service in that environment) should be designed to meet the needs of all people who wish to use it (http://universaldesign.ie/What-is-Universal-Design/Center for Excellence in Universal Design).

NOTE:Drew sees utility in both of these and yet both feel deficient. The former reads more like a mission statement. What does it mean to “improve and optimize teaching and learning for all”? The three tenants help a little with this. The latter is a little more explicit “accessed, understood, used,”and lays out what aspects of a person should be rendered irrelevant to their access, understanding and use. However, it feels very physical and does not address learning other than as a “service” provided in an environment. A combination may be useful. Not sure.

Accessibility – The ability to access and benefit from some system or entity (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accessibility). In the UDL context, this term generally refers to access for people with disabilities, particularly compatibility with assistive technologies. It is also used more broadly in the sense that a goal of UDL is to make learning accessible to the widest range of people possible. Not to be confused with usability.

NOTE: The distinction between UDL and Accessibility is hard to make when thinking beyond assistive tech (which people should). My own feeling is that one can work on accessibility while not truly taking a UDL approach, but good UDL requires accessibility. However, this could be argued depending on conception of Accessibility. Also, this entire conception of the term makes much less sense when thinking about accessibility in the context of open science and OER, where the question is more focused on, “Can I get my hands on it?”

Usability – The ease of use and learnability of a human-made thing, usually software or website. It usually refers to a specific target user group and a specific use context. In learning , a more “usable” tool imposes less cognitive load on students, allowing them to focus on content, not the tool itself. The term is primarily presented here to differentiate it from accessibility.

NOTE: This usability versus accessibility issue is also muddy. For instance, you could have two accessible things and yet one is more usable than the other, depending on who the user actually is. However, interpret accessibility broadly enough and you can argue that it is impossible to be accessible if usability is low.

Assistive Technology (AT) - Any item, piece of equipment, software program, or product system that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of persons with disabilities (https://www.atia.org/at-resources/what-is-at/Assistive Technology Industry Association). This can be low tech (e.g. puff-painted lines on paper) or high tech (screen reading or language processing software). AT can also be inclusive or specialized learning materials and curriculum aids.

Assistive Technology Compatible – Any materials tested to be compatible with one or more assistive technologies.


Inclusive Petagogy for Life Science Education Tagging Ontologies

Developing Self-awareness: Explore one’s own professional and social identity in order to best engage with how it intersects with your class design and student interactions.

Developing Empathy: Create opportunities to get to know and understand students. Give students a voice in creating their narrative.

Classroom Climate: Encourage respectful and supportive peer interactions, providing students’ opportunities to collaborate in building understanding, identify shared interests in course content, develop a supportive classroom network.

Fostering a Sense of Belonging:Use diverse scientist narratives, use inclusive language, use student names, helping students understand adversity as shared, transient experiences to increase social belonging.

Promoting Engagement and Self-Efficacy: Enhance students’ opportunities to contribute and benefit from the intellectual community of the classroom, use course structures to promote engagement in and out of class, enhance cooperation and reduce competition, emphasize the relevance of coursework to real life, support students’ sense of autonomy to increase interest and enjoyment and possibly decrease anxiety measures. 

Leveraging Networks: Explicitly connect other aspects of campus life designed for student success to classroom content, such as living learning communities and curricular communities, invite staff and faculty from around campus into your classroom, connect first-year courses to other first-year curricular and co-curricular requirements.  


Dewsbury, B.M. (2019) Deep Teaching in a College STEM Classroom. Cultural Studies of Science Education, 1-23.https://doi.org/10.1007/s11422-018-9891-z

Dewsbury, B., & Brame, C. J. (2019). Inclusive Teaching. CBE—Life Sciences Education, 18(2), fe2. https://doi.org/10.1187/cbe.19-01-0021

Inclusive Teaching Checklist, CBE-LSE (2019) https://lse.ascb.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2019/05/Instructor-Checklist%E2%80%94Inclusive-Teaching.pdf

Actually, Data Science CAN Be Accessible: Barriers to inclusion of people with disabilities in the data science workforce pipeline and ideas for lowering them