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Thought Leadership: The Peralta Online Equity Rubric

A very interesting article mentioning the Peralta Community College District was published last month in Educause Review. The article, “A DEI Course Design Rubric: Supporting Teaching and Learning in Uncertain Times” by Kim DeBacco and Nick Mattos, explains the process the University of California Instructional Design and Faculty Support community of practice went through to develop a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Course Redesign Rubric for sharing across the UC system. Guess what? They based the UC system rubric on one created right here in our community college district.  

The article states, "Work on DEI initiatives and resources was already underway in various sectors of higher education. Two key resources stood out as the foundation for the DEI rubric that the working group decided to create: the Peralta Community College District Online Equity Rubric (licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License) and the University of Wisconsin–Green Bay "Equity-Minded Worksheet for Instructors of Online Courses." 

The University of California system DEI rubric is based in part on the Peralta rubric. From the article, "The [UC] rubric is organized around eight dimensions, which were informed by the literature review (in particular, the Peralta Community College and University of Wisconsin– Green Bay documents) as well as many articles and presentations that were shared throughout the development process." 

Peralta online equity conference

The Peralta Equity Rubric is a research-based course (re)design evaluation instrument to help teachers make online course experiences more equitable for all students. The rubric’s criteria include: addressing students’ access to technology and different types of support (both academic and non-academic); increasing the visibility of the instructor’s commitment to inclusion; addressing common forms of bias (e.g., implicit bias, image and representation bias, interaction bias); helping students make connections (e.g., between course topics and their lives; with the other students); and following universal design for learning principles. 

The Peralta Equity Rubric was developed by employees of PCCD who wanted to help teachers serve students better in online learning environments. The groundwork was laid at the California Community Colleges Online Teaching Conference, June, 2018, in Anaheim California. The Peralta team, consisting of faculty members Chelsea Cohen and Inger Stark, and classified professionals from the IT department, Srujana Tumu and Alex Hernandez, gave the initial presentation.  

The Peralta team next presented in November 2018 at the Online Learning Consortium (OLC) conference in Orlando, Florida. This time, Inger and Chelsea were joined by student trustee Corey Hollis and consultant Kevin Kelly with additional support from Alex and Srujana. In their presentation, they explained the goal of the Peralta Online Equity Rubric was to build online programs for all students, and to institutionalize practices that support equity.  

The Peralta presenters won the OLC’s award for Effective Practice. People noticed. 

In addition to Chelsea, Inger, and Srujana – who all still work here in the district – and the other folks mentioned above, Nesi Moore (a student worker) and then-Vice Chancellor of IT Jason Cole played important roles in crafting the rubric. Since 2019 it has been championed by Siri Brown in her role as Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs and Student Success, and Didem Ekici as the current PCCD Distance Education Coordinator. 

The Peralta Online Equity Rubric was born of collaboration between faculty and student services teams - people who work closely with students and who care about their success.  

The work done by Peralta's Distance Ed team in coming up with the Online Equity Rubric has really demonstrated our district's thought leadership around diversity, equity and inclusion, and the rubric is having a real impact in people's lives, across the state of California, the United States, and even beyond our national border.   

Siri Brown commented by email, “We work in a 3-tiered class based higher education system (CCCs, CSUs, UCs), where we faculty are often looked down upon intellectually yet carry the highest teaching load. For PCCD to receive this acknowledgement is much bigger than it seems. It documents that we were way ahead of the UCs in this form of equity application and pedagogical ingenuity that has an impact on teaching and learning.” 

And that impact continues...this week!  

PCCD is hosting the Third Annual Peralta Online Equity Conference which is free and will take place online from Wednesday, April 26, 2023 through Friday, April 28, 2023. We are expecting virtual attendees from all over the world! For more information, visit the conference website here. 

Tags: District, distance education, online equity rubric


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