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The story so far: reflections on our Inclusive Teaching and Learning workshop series

15 Feb 2022 | Jess Moody As the first delivery of a new workshop series on inclusive teaching and learning nears completion, the delivery team share reflections in preparation for the second cycle over Spring/Summer 2022.

As introduced last year, the Inclusive Learning, Teaching and Assessment suite of modules was developed in response to requests from our member institutions, many of whom were looking for new ways to explore challenges which cross traditional equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI), student success and teaching and learning contexts. As we approach the end of our first cycle of workshops as open programmes, and prepare our own programme enhancements for the second cycle, we share some interim reflections from just a few of our skilled delivery team.

Breaking down silos

Dr Patrick Baughan, Senior Adviser for Learning and Teaching at Advance HE said of Module 1: Intro to EDI in Learning and Teaching and Module 2: Inclusive and Equitable Assessment and Feedback, “The programme moves beyond an approach in which we consider learning and teaching, or assessment and feedback, or curriculum design, in a way where EDI is just one of a range of ingredients in the planning process. Rather, we consider EDI issues as starting points, as underlying priorities which need to inform the whole learning, teaching and assessment cycle.”

Our five module programme currently provides an introductory workshop to issues of inclusive and equitable learning and teaching, followed by ‘deeper dives’ into three key areas of learning and teaching (assessment, curriculum, student engagement). The final module is targeted more towards those who will be ‘leading’ others in change or enhancement projects in this area.

More questions than answers?

Interactive workshops, not training sessions: that was an important distinction to us from the start. We really wanted to provide facilitated spaces for both individual and group deeper thinking. Alongside exploration of case studies and academic research, the aim was to equip those attending with the critical tools they needed to take back to their own institutional or disciplinary contexts and challenges.

I found the approach to be collaborative and compassionate: giving participants time and space to engage and reflect on what they were learning… there were quite a few ‘aha’ moments where the learning was quite palpable.”

Dr Lindy-Ann Blaize Alfred, Senior Adviser for EDI at Advance HE, on Module 1: Introduction to EDI in Learning and Teaching

Some of our provocations even stemmed from the name of the programme. Why is language like ‘inclusion’ sometimes used as a ‘catch-all umbrella’ (albeit going ‘beyond ‘diversity’ or ‘equal opportunities), and in which circumstances does it risk avoiding discussion of explicit harms or inequalities (and their intersections)? How do you authentically engage with terms like ‘anti-racism’, ‘equity’, ‘belonging’, or ‘social justice’? What does ‘fairness’ look like, and how does that apply to issues of quality assurance, rigour, assessment, or student engagement? These are just some of the discussions and provocations embedded across the programme: asking participants to reflect on their own institutional language, visions, and methods. 

Dr Lindy-Ann Blaize Alfred said, “The Inclusive Learning, Teaching and Assessment programme goes beyond the inclusion narrative which promotes assimilation and actively engages in inclusion from an equity perspective. Participants on this course are not just going to find it ‘interesting’ and ‘thought provoking’ – but are going to be able to develop a practical and action plan to forefront change.”  

From reflection to action?

While participants valued ‘space to think’, we also wanted to provide a way for that to link into practice, by building in some individual exercises, independent reflection tasks, and even co-producing some principles and outputs.

Participants came with a range of personal and institutional challenges: from specific work within a programme of study, to more institutional change projects, or wanting to know how to approach support and development of colleagues. From within and beyond the UK, participants have fed back their enjoyment of:

  • being introduced to new threshold concepts, and overviews of current sector(s) practice and educational research
  • the opportunity to discuss issues critically with others: many are noting both the inspirational nature of the conversations (perhaps we could do that?!) as well as the solidarity (‘I’m not alone with this issue’)

Allowing the space for participants to reflect on their challenges and using scenarios that resembles situations that they may have come across in their practice makes the workshop very engaging and stimulated valuable discussions.”

Robiu Salisu, Advance HE Associate for Module 4: Inclusive Student Engagement and Partnership

We wanted to be a place where a range of backgrounds came together: not just teachers, programme leads, or academic developers but also professional and support staff, and EDI leads and student reps.

Dr Patrick Baughan said of Module 1: Intro to EDI in Learning and Teaching and Module 2: Inclusive and Equitable Assessment and Feedback, “Our participants have really added to the discussions; some of them have considerable expertise in EDI issues themselves and want to look at how better to apply these to pedagogic contexts; others have expertise in pedagogy but are seeking input and ideas-sharing about how to be more equitable and inclusive in their pedagogic work and influence. With the range of activities, everyone has the opportunity to contribute and learn.” 

This workshop is useful for all HEI staff, but if I was to make a special call out for a group to attend [in future], it would be staff in Academic/Student Services roles where they are developing policies and processes for student cycles.”

Robiu Salisu, Advance HE Associate for Module 4: Inclusive Student Engagement and Partnership


As educators and practitioners ourselves we also continue to reflect on our own experiences of the workshops, and the many great conversations that have taken place. 

We’ll pool these reflections and participant feedback into the design and content of the second series, as well as continuing to share the latest research and evidence.

The programme is available as a suite, but we also welcome participants who want to join single modules where they have a specific topic interest. If in doubt, the first module ‘Introduction to EDI in Learning and Teaching’ is designed as a thoughtful, welcoming and friendly space to get a sound overview of the sector challenges and start a process of individual reflection.  

We are also open to requests for online delivery for specific institutional teams or departments where these workshops would complement local work on student success, experience, and equity in learning and teaching.


Jess Moody is a Senior Adviser at Advance HE focusing on inclusion and equity in the student and staff experiences.

Inclusive learning and teaching workshop series - 10% multi-booking discount

Our Inclusive learning and teaching workshop series is a suite of five modules that can be taken individually or as a programme of development covering an introduction to EDI in teaching and learning, inclusive and equitable assessment and feedback, inclusive curriculum, inclusive engagement and leading on inclusive teaching and learning.

Institutions/individuals looking to book multiple workshops will receive a 10% discount when booking all five workshops. Each workshop can be attended by a different individual from the same institution.

  • Introduction to EDI in Teaching and Learning (1 & 15 March 2022)
  • Inclusive and Equitable Assessment and Feedback (5 & 27 April 2022)
  • Inclusive Curriculum (10 & 24 May 2022)
  • Inclusive Student Engagement and Partnership (8 & 22 June 2022)
  • Leading on Inclusive Teaching and Learning (30 June & 14 July 2022)

Find out more

We feel it is important for voices to be heard to stimulate debate and share good practice. Blogs on our website are the views of the author and don’t necessarily represent those of Advance HE.

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