Partnering to Promote Equity and Digital Learning describes a 15-month collaboration between three Every Learner Everywhere partner organizations (Achieving the Dream (ATD), the American Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), and Digital Promise) and five colleges, all engaged in a research-practice partnership (RPP) around enhancing equity and digital learning in gateway courses. The report describes the key features of research-practice partnerships, the design choices made for this Equity and Digital Learning RPP, the process of establishing the RPP, RPP activities both within and across institutions, and data on student perceptions and academic performance in the target courses before and after the RPP activities.
The partnership was motivated by the desire to fill gaps in our understanding of how to integrate culturally responsive practice and digital learning tools to promote equitable outcomes. The partners wanted to work together to go beyond high-level abstract descriptions of desirable features of instruction (e.g., “inclusive” and “technology-supported”) to elucidate and try out specific practices that designers and instructors could implement. The team at each higher education institution selected one or more of their high-enrollment gateway courses as the focus for their Equity and Digital Learning work, examining student data for the course, brainstorming course improvement ideas, and laying the groundwork for implementing a revised version of the course in spring 2022.
To ground the RPP work in student needs, Digital Promise developed and supported the administration and analysis of a student survey focused on equity and digital learning. The Equity in Digital Learning Survey (EDLS) solicited students’ course experiences and perspectives related to course quality, digital learning practices and challenges, and equity and inclusion practices.