The causes of test anxiety may surprise you

Understanding the causes of student test anxiety and how online proctoring can help reduce it

As online learning continues to grow, so has testing anxiety. Learners have concerns about the technology, the process and the presence of live proctors.

But online proctoring doesn’t need to add to the stress of test-taking. When institutions create the proper environment and prepare test takers for online assessments, they report that having a live proctor can actually reduce anxiety. Further, effective proctor training can build confidence.

To learn more about test anxiety during a proctored online exam, Honorlock conducted a survey. Jordan Adair, VP of Product at Honorlock, recently sat down with Tests and the Rest podcast to share the survey results and discuss how remote proctors can help reduce test anxiety.

What is test anxiety?

Test anxiety is any physical and emotional reaction that negatively impacts a test takers ability to perform well on a test. 

5 key learnings from the test anxiety survey:

1. How do test takers react to proctored online exams?

Regardless of how well-prepared the test taker is, many still feel a sense of anxiety.

In the online proctoring space, this is often increased, as test takers may be unfamiliar with the online proctoring system or the method of proctoring that will be used on a particular exam. The findings indicated that even well-prepared test takers are likely to feel anxious heading into a proctored assessment, with 64% agreeing or strongly agreeing with the statement “taking an online test makes me nervous.”

2. Does the environment affect test anxiety?

Test takers experience testing anxiety both in-person and online, so it isn’t just the environment. The increase in online assessments has heightened anxiety due to concerns about the technology, the testing process, and the presence of live test proctors.

3. What causes test anxiety?

It mostly stems from not understanding how online proctoring works and not knowing what to expect.

3 main causes of test anxiety

Technology concerns and how to use the proctoring software

Test takers often worry about their device work with the online proctoring software and other issues, such as internet connection.

Unaware of what behaviors may be flagged

They may not understand what behaviors are acceptable and what may be flagged by the proctoring solution or live proctor.

Unfamiliar with how interactions with a proctor will go

Potentially interacting with a proctor can be nerve-racking, especially if the test taker hasn’t never experienced it before.

4. What can help reduce test anxiety?

When you create a proper test environment and prepare learners beforehand, they report that a live proctor can actually reduce anxiety.

Describe how online proctoring works

A basic understanding of how online proctoring works goes a long way. Give learners a high-level overview of how the online proctoring software works and what they can expect before, during, and after the exam.

Explain what behaviors may trigger flags from the proctoring platform

Test takers need to know what behaviors are appropriate compared to those that can trigger a flag. 

For example, here are the things test takers think might get flagged (none of these actually cause flags in Honorlock):

Offer practice exams

After they understand the basics of how online proctoring works and what behavior is acceptable, let them use it.

Practice exams provide learners with the opportunity to get comfortable with using the online proctoring platform, making sure their technology works, and interacting with a live proctor.

Show them where to find support

Make sure test takers know where to find support if they need it. Ideally, live support will be available 24/7 without having to leave the exam window. 

5. How does remote proctor training help with test anxiety?

How proctors are trained is crucial for helping reduce test anxiety. They need the ability to identify symptoms of test anxiety and stress and how to positively interact with test takers during the proctored tests.

Identifying symptoms of test anxiety and signs of stress

Proctors should be trained to spot physical behaviors and signs of stress. Test anxiety symptoms can include things such as lip licking, excessive throat clearing, propping the head up, and touching or rubbing the face. 

Positive interactions

Once physical signs of stress and anxiety are identified, proctors need to understand how to best interact with a test taker. This includes approaching a them in a helpful manner and then having the correct training and tools to help alleviate any stressful situation while decreasing the risk of confrontation. 

Honorlock’s remote proctoring team received training from a nationally certified counselor to learn how to de-escalate test takers who are stressed or anxious and reduce anxiety so that they can continue taking the exam.

Positive interactions with a proctor can have a lasting impact on reducing test anxiety. In fact, a test anxiety survey found that 100% of test takers who interacted with an Honorlock proctor responded “Yes” to the interview question, “Did the proctor make you less anxious?”

Applying these key learnings can help build confidence and prepare learners to perform their best on exams.

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Biden Student Loan Relief Recap

Biden student loan forgiveness plan information

Quick recap of the Biden student loan forgiveness plan that will:

Biden student loan forgiveness plan takes the next steps toward relief

President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan will forgive $10,000 for borrowers making less than $125,000 per year and extend the student loan payment freeze until the end of the year. Student loan payments will resume in January 2023.

Biden’s plan will also cancel up to $20,000 in debt for Pell Grant recipients that have loans with the Department of Education (DOE)

When and how can borrowers claim this student loan relief?

There’s no set date yet, but in the next few weeks, the DOE will announce more details about how borrowers can claim this relief. Borrowers’ income data will automatically qualify them for the debt relief. 

 

Who will loan debt relief impact the most?

According to the DOE, about 87% of the debt cancellation will go to borrowers who earn less than $75,000 per year. The remaining 13% will go to those earning between $75,000 and $125,000 per year.

 

How much student debt could be canceled in the future?

For now, $10,000 ($20,000 for certain individuals) but some politicians have asked for up to $50,000 per borrower.

However, in April 2022, Biden stated that if there is additional student loan forgiveness, it will be less than $50,000.

How much student loan debt is there?

The total student loan debt is around $1.75 trillion owed by 45 million people in America. The total includes federal and private loans.

Federal loans total around $1.62 trillion in debt owed by 43 million borrowers.

Historical student loan debt in the U.S.

Will this loan forgiveness program impact future student enrollment?

For some borrowers, forgiving $10K is a drop in the bucket. For others, it could mean having the ability to complete their education.

A recent study found that 42% of students stopped pursuing their education because of financial constraints. So, this loan relief may be just what some people need to re-enroll and complete their educational journey.

This impact on enrollment remains to be seen but higher education institutions should still plan for a potential boost in enrollments. From reducing costs on campus and streamlining processes to implementing new technologies to improve online learning, preparing ahead of time will be worth it.

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Ernst & Young’s $100 Million Fine for Cheating Could’ve Been Avoided

Ernst & Young fined 100 million dollars by the SEC after employees cheated on CPA exams and for misleading an investigation

Ernst & Young fined $100 million by the SEC after discovering the firm knew employees cheated on CPA exam sections and for misleading an investigation.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) released a statement that Ernst & Young will pay a $100 million fine after admitting that it knew of employees cheating on the ethics portion of CPA exams and for misleading an investigation.

This is the largest fine the SEC has imposed on an audit firm.

In addition to the fine, Ernst & Young agreed to undergo extensive measures to address and fix ethical issues raised in this investigation.

The SEC statement detailed that Ernst & Young employees cheated on the CPA exam’s ethics portion and other continuing education courses required for accounting professionals to maintain CPA licenses. An administrative order said that, “Over multiple years, a significant number of EY (Ernst & Young) audit professionals cheated on these exams by using answer keys and sharing them with their colleagues. From 2017 to 2021, 49 EY audit professionals sent and/or received answer keys to CPA ethics exams.“

During the SEC’s investigation, Ernst & Young initially submitted that they didn’t have issues with cheating, even though the firm was informed and aware of potential cheating on a CPA ethics exam. Surprisingly, Ernst & Young didn’t correct their submission after an internal investigation confirmed that cheating occurred on the CPA ethics exams.

While there are questionable ethics in this situation, there are ways for organizations to deter, prevent, and detect cheating on online exams.
Technology to deter, detect, and prevent cheating
With an online proctoring solution, organizations can protect their exams in many situations, such as:

With the right type of online proctoring, such as Honorlock’s platform, organizations can proctor exams that use common question types, such as multiple-choice and true-or-false, but they can also proctor non-traditional tests that may include employees using actual software.

To offer this range of flexibility, the proctoring solution combines AI monitoring software with human review.

Here’s how this type of online proctoring works

The AI monitors each employee’s online exam session and alerts a live, US-based proctor if any indicators of cheating are detected.

The proctor can then use an analysis window to review the situation before entering the exam session in real-time to address it.

What proctoring features can be used for online exams?

Employee ID verification

The proctoring software uses the webcam to capture a photo of the test-taker and their ID. In about 60 seconds, test-takers can begin their proctored online exam.

Test content protection

Honorlock’s online proctoring software searches the internet for leaked exam content (exam questions and answers) and works with instructors to request the removal of the material in a few easy steps.

Video monitoring
The test-taker’s webcam is used to monitor behavior during the exam and to scan the room for prohibited resources such as notes and books. The recordings also include timestamps of any potentially problematic behavior to review, such as moving off-screen or another person in the room.

Smart voice detection

Honorlock’s smart voice detection listens for specific keywords or phrases, such as “Hey Siri” or “OK Google,” to identify students who may be attempting to gain an unfair advantage. This smart voice detection is different from sound detection, which can be triggered by basically any sound, such as a dog barking or a cough. The oversensitivity of sound detection can lead to irrelevant flags to review for test administrators.

Browser lockdown

A browser lockdown prevents test-takers from accessing other browsers and applications during the exam and restricts certain keyboard functions, such as copying and pasting.

Detects cell phones

The AI can detect when test-takers attempt to use their cell phones or other devices to access test bank content during the exam.

Proctor instructions for exam customization

Test administrators can provide the proctors with instructions to customize the exams in many ways. For example, instructions can be given to allow test-takers to access Microsoft Excel during an accounting exam. They can also be given to provide accommodations for test-takers that may need to use assistive technology.

Other benefits of online proctoring

Convenience and flexibility for employees and test-takers

Whether it’s at the office or at home on the weekend, Honorlock’s online proctoring services provide employees with the flexibility to take proctored online exams 24/7/365.

24/7/365 support available

Honorlock’s online proctoring services include 24/7/365 US-based support for faculty and students at no additional cost.

No additional logins and passwords are not needed

Honorlock’s proctoring solution directly integrates with your learning platform, which means no extra logins or passwords are required.

Creating a culture of academic integrity

Online proctoring isn’t just a way to deter employees cheating on exams. It’s an integral part of establishing a strong culture of academic integrity at your organization. Our solution and proctors help create a supportive testing environment that levels the playing field and allows test-takers to focus on showing their knowledge.
Reach out to our team of experts to see how Honorlock can benefit your organization

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. (2022, June 28). Ernst & Young to Pay $100 Million Penalty for Employees Cheating on CPA Ethics Exams and Misleading Investigation [Press release]. https://www.sec.gov/news/press-release/2022-114

FBI Cybersecurity Recommendations for Higher Education Institutions

FBI cybersecurity recommendations to protect higher education institutions

The FBI Cyber Division released a notification in May 2022 that they discovered stolen login credentials from higher education institutions readily available on public forums and for sale on the dark web.

The notification also warned that the exposure of the stolen login credentials could put universities and colleges at risk of more cyber attacks in the future.

What is the dark web?

The dark web consists of hidden sites that use specialized browsers to keep internet activity anonymous, making illegal activities hard to track.

Here are some notable higher education cyber attacks in recent years, according to the FBI’s notification document:

How do cybercriminals get access to these credentials?

Cybercriminals primarily get initial access to utilizing social engineering (most commonly phishing).

What is phishing?

Phishing refers to fraudulent communications that pretend to be sent from a trusted source. The goal of phishing is to trick the receiver into revealing personal information in order to gain access to information such as credit card numbers and login credentials.

Consider this phishing situation and the impact it could have on the students, faculty, and institution

Initially a cybercriminal gets access to a student’s email login credentials. They can now begin reconnaissance and build their attack.

Now that they have access to previous email conversations, they could use those topics in the phishing email they’ll send to the professor and other students. In the email, they can mention the relevant topics and include a malicious hyperlink.

In this situation, the receiver may be more likely to click the malicious link because it’s from a familiar person and their guard is down.

FBI cybersecurity recommendations for higher education institutions
The notification document provided an extensive list of cybersecurity recommendations universities and colleges that we’ve consolidated and summarized:
Assessing the security of your technology partners
In addition to the FBI recommendations to protect against cyber threats, colleges and universities should also assess the security of their technology partners. This includes all online learning technologies and all additional course software, such as:

Remember, vendor security is your security.

Here’s a high-level list of what to look for and questions to ask when vetting technology partners:

Online proctoring isn’t just a way to deter employees cheating on exams. It’s an integral part of establishing a strong culture of academic integrity at your organization. Our solution and proctors help create a supportive testing environment that levels the playing field and allows test-takers to focus on showing their knowledge.

Data security

Proactive defense

Incident response plan

Company practices and employee security training

Vendor Security Cheat Sheet

For a comprehensive look at vendor security, download our Vendor Security Cheat Sheet. It provides a detailed look at questions to ask technology vendors, software and technologies needed, and important definitions to know.

How to Create a Culture of Academic Integrity

Punishing students for cheating vs encouraging academic integrity

How do cybercriminals get access to these credentials?

But academic dishonesty isn’t always black and white.

There are complexities and nuances that require a shift in the way we think about academic dishonesty.

With this shift, incidents of alleged cheating can be a learning opportunity, and you may even see a decrease in the amount of dishonesty in your courses.

This article will:

What is academic dishonesty?

Academic dishonesty means actions and behaviors, whether intended or not, that provide unfair advantages in an educational environment. It applies to everyone involved in teaching and learning, not just students. While academic dishonesty is a broad term, it can include things like:

In contrast, academic integrity is a code of ethics for students and others involved in the teaching and learning process to follow in their courses, exams, and overall behavior. Students should complete their own assignments, take their own exams, and earn their own grades.

Why do students cheat?

Students may cheat for any number of reasons, such as pressure from rising expectations, competitiveness, or even just opportunity.

But one thing that has significantly influenced students cheating is technology.

Technology provides quick and easy access to resources that help them gain an unfair advantage and curtail the learning process. Whether it’s finding leaked test content on the internet, asking Siri or Alexa for help during a test, and even having AI write essays for them, technology creates more opportunities to cheat.

Punishing students for cheating vs encouraging integrity

A common response to academic dishonesty is punishment.

But punishment is reactive, not proactive.

Students are only punished after cheating occurs. While it’s true that punishment can be seen as a deterrent, instructors should focus on improving academic integrity instead of punishing bad behavior.

Have groups of students work through scenario-based case studies

Create case studies with realistic academic dishonesty scenarios and have students work through them in groups.

By participating in these case studies as a group, students can have honest conversations about decision making and what they would do in very real situations with varying stressors and conditions. Practicing applied decision-making helps set the framework for upholding academic integrity in and out of the classroom.

By opening the door to dialogue about academic dishonesty and what constitutes cheating, you can create an environment where students are clear about course standards and what is and isn’t acceptable.

Communicate and develop a genuine connection with your students

The ability to communicate effectively and connect with your students can have a significant impact on your classroom.

But connecting with students takes more than learning their first names. You should make a real effort to learn about your students. Ask about their interests, goals, and hobbies – you may even have some things in common.

And tell them about yourself, apply emotional intelligence, be inclusive, encourage open communication, and be consistent.

In other words: make yourself human.

Rather than simply telling students, “Don’t cheat – or else,” have an open dialogue with them and infuse the importance of academic integrity in your communication efforts. This authentic effort to connect can go a long way to help support your efforts to improve academic integrity.

What’s all this have to do with Honorlock?

Honorlock takes a human-centered approach in everything we do.

Our approach to online proctoring is different because we strive to encourage positive decision making in a supportive environment rather than catching students cheating.

Honorlock test proctors are trained by a certified counselor and undergo rigorous training and shadowing – all to ensure they’re able to observe, intervene, and redirect student behavior in the testing environment. We even conducted a student survey with a university customer that showed our approach to online proctoring reduced student test anxiety.

Our proctors assume that students want to demonstrate knowledge, not cheat. Honorlock aligns with the goals of higher education to create a fair test environment and culture based on integrity.

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Building Academic Integrity in Online Courses

The pandemic revealed many benefits of online learning, as well as the appetite for it among students. Drawn by the flexibility and convenience online learning provides, students are driving demand for greater online course offerings. As colleges consider expanding their online programs, how can they ensure academic integrity?

The Chronicle convenes a panel of experts to answer that question in the upcoming virtual forum, “Building Academic Integrity in Online Courses.” Join us as they look back on lessons learned so far and offer projections for online learning’s future.

  • What lessons did institutions learn during the pandemic pivot to virtual learning?
  • What’s the right role for learning technologies like AI proctoring software?
  • How do administrators and faculty members make sure those tools uphold student privacy and equitable education outcomes?

Speakers

Paul Fisher

Associate CIO & Director TLT Center,
Seton Hall University

Alice has several years of marketing experience within healthcare and most recently in higher education focused on social media growth, tradeshow management, and communication. She is passionate about creatively navigating new challenges and discovering innovative ways to connect with educators.

What the Great Resignation Means for Women Leaders

What the Great Resignation Means for Women Leaders

2021 was a historic year for the job market. According to the US Labor Statistics, of the 69 million people who were separated from their position (quit, laid off, or terminated), 47.4 million voluntarily left.

Some call it “The Great Resignation.”

But no matter what you call it, the power has shifted toward the employee – at least for the near future. But what does the impact of the Great Resignation mean for women in leadership roles?

​​With so many people leaving the workforce and more organizations doing as much as they can to attract talent back to work, we may have reached a tipping point that could mean good things for women leaders.

In this article we’ll detail:

The struggle starts before the “Glass Ceiling”

For years, you’ve probably heard the terms “Glass Ceiling” and “Broken Rung” that women face. Both terms essentially refer to the fact that women face more challenges in advancing to senior leadership roles compared to men.

But the struggles start earlier than that.

“For every 100 men who are promoted to an entry-level manager position, 72 women are promoted. This has a waterfall effect because there aren’t enough women in the leadership pipeline from the very beginning,” said Robin Kistler, current Executive Talent Program Director at Anthem, Inc. and former director of non-degree business programs at the University of Notre Dame.

Three questions women in leadership should ask themselves every seven years
  1. What should I leave behind?
  2. What do I want/need to learn next?
  3. What drives me now?

Why seven years?

“It’s long enough to have transitioned from education to the workplace, to have made a new career move, and to have experienced a life-changing crisis. Yet it’s short enough to feel practical,” Kistler explained.

What should I leave behind?

This is where you determine what you don’t want in your career and life. Remember, knowing what you don’t want is just as important as knowing what you do want.

“We’ll need to get more skilled at letting go of what was — our old identity, relationship, competencies — to embrace what’s next — as yet unknown, undefined, and ambiguous.” – Avivah Wittenberg-Cox, Consultant, Coach, & Author.

To dig into this more, ask yourself these questions:

 

What do I want/need to learn next?

As you’re figuring out what you do and don’t want in your career, decide what you want to learn and what you need to learn.

It’s important to note that this can be both formal and informal learning. Depending on your path, you may need to learn more to help pass an industry certification, or you may want to learn how to improve emotional intelligence.

Regardless of what you need or want to learn, make a list and get started.

What drives me?

Just like our priorities change in life, so do our drivers. Some people are driven by money, while others are driven by schedule flexibility. Regardless of what drives you, make a list of what your drivers are and why they’re important to you.

Type up your answers to these questions and then email them to yourself and print a copy to keep on your desk.

What women should look for when choosing their next role and company

Women can be more particular about roles and organizations

“Women professionals have more choice than ever before, and that means you can be more particular about the roles and organizations you work for. The war for talent has intensified, which means women leaders are on the right side of the equation,” Kistler said.

But what should women in leadership actually look for in a role and company? Kistler used this list to guide her own career search:
 
Committed to empowering women in the workforce


“If an organization has a track record of progressive thinking toward women in the workforce, they will attract, promote, and retain the best female candidates. This includes visible indicators of a female pipeline from early career to executive level,” Kistler said.

Look for employers that:

 

Focuses on creating a culture of diversity and inclusion

Kistler detailed that employers that truly embrace a culture of diversity and inclusion should:

Embraces progressive employer practices

In addition to a company that’s truly committed to creating equal opportunity for women in the workforce and creating a workplace that’s diverse and inclusive, they should also:

 

Addressing the causes of burnout in the workplace

Workplace burnout isn’t a badge of honor. But what causes burnout at work?

 

Watch the Webinar Recording

 

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How Can Diversity & Inclusion Improve Business Performance?

How DEI improves business performance for businesses

More companies are investing time and effort into improving diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace because of the impact it has on the employee experience and the tangible performance improvements it creates.

“The business case is glaring. Diverse companies with inclusive cultures outperform more homogenous companies. Revenue, market share, smarter teams, retention – there’s just no lack of evidence.” – Miriam Lewis, Chief Inclusion Officer for Principal.

Click to view each section:

Click here to download the diversity statement template

How diversity and inclusion efforts impact a company’s performance

According to a six-year study completed in 2020 by McKinsey, diverse companies are 36% more profitable than less diverse companies.

Diversity and inclusion (D&I), when done the right way, create a domino effect of improvements for businesses.

D&I is linked with employee engagement, which is a foundational element of productivity and employee retention. Both employee productivity and retention can directly impact financial performance.

To show you what we mean by this web of improvements, the graphic below shows how the benefits of D&I intersect in various areas.

How to improve diversity and inclusion in the workplace

Understand the difference between diversity and inclusion

As organizations begin planning, it’s important to understand the difference between diversity and inclusion, which are sometimes used interchangeably or even as a joint term.

“Diversity is the mix of individuals. Inclusion is how you make that mix work.” – Jameel Rush, PHR, SHRM-CP, Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at The Philadelphia Inquirer, Adjunct professor at Villanova University

 

Focus on first creating inclusion and THEN building diversity in the workplace

Many organizations’ knee-jerk reaction to diversity and inclusion efforts is to hire for diversity.

The problem is that you can hire for diversity, but it can still be a poor experience for the employee if they’re entering a workplace that isn’t inclusive. It isn’t enough to set up occasional employee training and hire a few diverse employees as a way to check the box.

So, before you hire, focus on creating an inclusive culture that’s genuine and ongoing.

“Adding diversity to a team isn’t what drives better outcomes. It’s adding diversity and making sure you can leverage the different points of view and different perspectives to work toward a stronger solution. That’s what adds to the better business results.” – Jameel Rush

 

Be transparent and create awareness

Be transparent about D&I efforts and create awareness about the impact and importance.

Leadership can’t shy away from communicating the organization’s efforts and goals around D&I. They need to be transparent and open about the organization’s short-term and long-term goals and what efforts will be made to get there.

Leaders need to create awareness about how a diverse and inclusive work culture benefits each employee in the organization and everyone around them on a day-to-day basis.

Set expectations about behavior and accountability

Ultimately, every employee at every level needs to know what their role is in creating an inclusive culture. This means that employees need to understand what’s expected of them and what they can expect from organizational leaders and the organization as a whole.

Explain exactly what’s expected from each employee and what behaviors won’t be tolerated. Likewise, they need to know what to expect from leaders and the organization in return. Detail what to expect from measuring and communicating progress, anticipated timelines, and how leadership will be held accountable for progress towards D&I efforts.

 

Educate employees and assess their knowledge

Conduct frequent diversity and inclusion education programs in the workplace and use assessments to track progress and gather feedback. Set specific timelines to conduct employee D&I educational opportunities and stick to the plan. Whether it’s once per quarter or twice a year, make sure that you educate employees and get their feedback.

Once employees have completed the educational requirements, it’s important to test their knowledge. You can use a variety of question types, such as multiple-choice, written responses, and true or false.

As part of the employee education and assessment process, gather feedback within the assessment or offer a separate low-stakes assessment where employees can provide anonymous feedback through polls, written responses, and other surveys.

Create a diversity and inclusion statement for the workplace

Create a diversity and inclusion statement for your team and/or company that describes your commitment to creating an inclusive and diverse workplace and how it impacts everyone in the organization.

Employees need to know that it’s a true effort and that they’re welcome regardless of race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic background.

What is a diversity and inclusion statement?

A diversity and inclusion statement explains:

  • The individual/team/company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion
  • How D&I impacts the workplace
  • What employees can expect from the leader/company
  • What the leader/company expects from employees

How to write a diversity and inclusion statement for the workplace

Describe your commitment to DEI and why it’s important

This is where you set the tone for the rest of the statement, provide context, and begin building trust.

 

Explain how D&I impacts each employee’s experience

The goal is to explain exactly how D&I benefits the workplace experience for each employee and their coworkers. Create an understanding that regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, age, or condition, each employee is welcome and included in the company.

 

Describe what employees can expect from the company and its leaders

At a high level, explain what efforts will be made to create and maintain a diverse and inclusive workplace, what success looks like, and how employees can hold the company and its leaders accountable. Acknowledge challenges and describe what will be done to overcome them.

 

Be clear about what’s expected of each employee

Employees at all levels need to know exactly what is expected of them and how they play a role in creating an inclusive work environment.

Be direct about what behavior is expected
Explain that derogatory and offensive language won’t be tolerated and the consequences that will be enforced.

Explain why their words are significant
Speak about the importance of using inclusive language and how it can help create a sense of belonging for other employees.

Example diversity and inclusion statement for companies to use

[company name] is committed to creating a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace because it’s these differences that drive innovation, encourage creativity, and build a respectful and safe work environment for every employee. Regardless of any differences, whether race, gender, ethnicity, age, or condition, you are an important part of this organization and community.

As [company name] works toward improving DEI, expect us to provide frequent and transparent updates regarding our progress, challenges, and plans moving forward.

Your role in creating a diverse and inclusive work environment is equally important because you can make an impact on others. You’ll treat each employee with respect and understand that your words and actions influence everyone around you. [Company name] will not tolerate any derogatory or offensive words or actions. It’s your duty, just like ours, to stay aware, informed, and proactive.

Remember that we all play an equal part in an ongoing effort to create a diverse, fair, and inclusive workplace that welcomes all employees, encourages open and respectful communication, and supports each of you throughout your career and life.

 

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Writing DEI Statements for Online Courses

Tips for how to write a diversity statement for online courses

A well-written diversity statement sets the tone and communicates your firm commitment to creating and improving educational opportunities regardless of race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic background.

But, what goes into a diversity statement? How long should it be? How is a diversity statement different for an online course?

We’ll answer all of your questions and provide you with an DEI statement example to use in your online courses.

What is a diversity statement?

A diversity statement is a document that explains:

  • Your commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)
  • How DEI impacts the students’ learning experience
  • What your learns can expect from you
  • What you expect from your students

A diversity statement is often referred to as a DEI statement or diversity and inclusion statement/policy.

 

How long should a DEI statement be?

Be clear and concise, but don’t worry about counting words.

Whether you write 100 words or 100 pages, your main goal is to clearly explain your DEI mission and purpose.

Is a diversity statement different for an online course?

Most of the information will be similar, but a diversity statement for an online course requires some additional information.

Writing a diversity statement for an in-person class will be similar to the statement you’ll use in an online course. However, for an online course, you’ll need to explain the extra steps you’ll take to overcome the obstacles that a distance learning environment creates, such as web accessibility and how you’ll help drive engagement in a virtual setting.

Is there a diversity statement format you need to follow?

Nope. Write the diversity statement how you want and make it your own.

If you want to use paragraphs, go for it. If you prefer bullet points, use them.

Use any format and content you want to get your point across in a meaningful way.

We’ll provide you with a sample diversity statement template later in this article, but keep this in mind: it’s just an example to give you direction and inspiration. Use it as is or edit it as much as you want.

How to write a diversity statement for an online course

Describe your commitment to DEI and why it’s important to you

Set the stage for the rest of the statement and use this section as your opportunity to provide context and begin building trust.

  • Use a powerful introduction to set the tone and grab their attention
  • Explain what DEI means to you and describe your experience.
  • Regardless of your race, gender, ethnicity, age, or condition, describe your experience and understanding.

 

Explain how DEI impacts the learning experience

The goal of this section is for learners to understand exactly how DEI benefits the learning experience for themselves and others.

  • Describe how DEI creates a well-rounded learning experience that considers different perspectives.
  • Explain how it creates a learning environment that provides everyone with a fair and equitable opportunity to learn.
  • Emphasize that DEI creates an inclusive learning environment that welcomes everyone.

Tell them what to expect from you

Just like learners want to know what’s expected of them, they want to know what to expect from you as an instructor. This is also where you’ll add information about how DEI is especially important in an online course and the steps you’ll take to improve it.

  • Explain that you’ll consider DEI in every aspect of the course, from the course content and exam accommodations to the language you use and discussions you facilitate.
  • Reiterate that you will enforce consequences for poor behavior and ask students to be vocal about holding you accountable and helping to educate others.
  • Acknowledge that a remote learning environment poses challenges, such as effectively communicating and connecting and ensuring web accessibility, but tell them you’ll take extra steps to continually learn and improve to overcome any barriers.

Tell learners what you expect from them

Explain what’s expected of them and how they play a role in creating an inclusive learning environment.

  • Be explicit about what behavior is expected.
  • Explain that derogatory and offensive language won’t be tolerated and the consequences that you will enforce.
  • Speak about the importance of using inclusive language and how it can help create a sense of belonging for other students.
  • Explain how their words and behavior play a role in creating an inclusive learning environment.

Example Diversity and Inclusion Statement

Feel free to copy-and-paste this templated DEI statement example below, but remember that it’s just an example. You can use it how it is or edit it as much as you’d like.

As an educator, using diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is one piece of a larger effort that helps achieve a very important goal: improving the educational experience for each student.

I’m committed to this effort because I know it’s these differences that inspire compassion, encourage creativity, create a community, and support you in your education and life.

The terms are interconnected, but let’s lay out what they mean.

Diversity goes beyond things like age, race, gender, and sexual orientation; it also includes our perspectives, experiences, and backgrounds that make us the unique individuals we are.

Equity doesn’t mean equality. Instead of providing you all with identical resources, you’ll receive the specific resources you need as an individual to learn, access, participate, and succeed in this course.

Inclusion creates a genuine sense of belonging in an environment where everyone is welcomed, valued, respected, and heard.

DEI impacts the educational experience for you and your classmates in many ways. It provides different perspectives, challenges you to think holistically, and creates an invaluable sense of inclusion and belonging.

What to expect from me

You can expect me to use a variety of resources and challenge you to think from a diverse perspective in every area of this course.

Online learning changes. Your needs change. Technologies change. What works today may not work tomorrow. That said, you can expect me to get things wrong. But I promise to continually learn, adapt, and improve to the best of my ability, and I challenge you to do the same.

I take feedback very seriously and use it as a tool to learn and improve. I expect and hope that you’ll give me feedback along the way. This means sharing your concerns as well as what you (and even your peers) enjoyed.

Your role

Each person in this course plays an equal part in creating a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment. You can make a positive impact on the educational experience of your peers. I challenge you to learn from them and share your knowledge.

You’ll treat each student with respect and understand that your words and actions influence everyone around you. I will not tolerate any derogatory or offensive words or actions. It’s your duty, just like mine, to stay informed, aware, and proactive.

Remember, you have a voice, and your voice matters. You’re an important part of this course and our ongoing effort to create a better educational experience that truly supports your educational journey and life.

How to establish and use DEI in your online courses

Now that you know how to write a diversity statement, you need to know how to effectively establish and use DEI in your online course.

From the way you communicate with your students to the way you develop course content and test their knowledge, DEI plays a role in every aspect of your online courses.

 

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