“Treating voice as a value means discriminating in favour of ways of organizing human life and resources that, through their choices, put the value of voice into practice, by respecting the multiple interlinked processes of voice and sustaining them, not undermining or denying them.”Nick Couldry
“Digital rights are human rights.”Nani Jansen Reventlow
“In the world of digitally networked publics, online participation — if you know how to do it — can translate into real power. Participation, however, is a kind of power that only works if you share it with others.”Howard Rheingold
“All paradises, all utopias are designed by who is not there, by the people who are not allowed in.”Toni Morrison
Muhlenberg recognizes that prioritizing diversity, equity, and inclusion is central to its academic and civic mission and strength. This priority extends into digital space, where technologies can all too easily reproduce and even fortify existing power structures and inequities. All learners require meaningful access to and use of digital resources, technologies, and spaces. Meaningful access suggests that students have the technologies, frameworks and supports necessary to use digital resources in ways that expand their presence and participation in their own learning and that of the community. Meaningful access also requires that faculty and staff are partnering to raise awareness about the ways in which digital technologies and spaces reinforce or break down inequities.
Digital literacies are increasingly significant to students’ abilities to fully and meaningfully participate in our community, and in our social world. However, digital inclusion is more than access to technology — it requires imagination and intervention to build more inclusive and humane socio-technological worlds for learning, discovery, and growth. We aim to nurture curiosity about, and intellectual, humanistic engagement with, the histories of exclusion and inequity within socio-technological systems present in academia and beyond. And we purposefully design digital initiatives, and the training surrounding their pedagogical integration, to counter these histories and create more humane and inclusive digital futures.
Technology itself does not shape more inclusive learning space. That is a human effort. It is the work of the Digital Learning Team to evaluate each new digital tool and space through the lens of our institutional value of inclusion. Decisions about which digital tools, spaces and practices to promote intentionally engage with this institutional priority. This means that our work pays critical attention to:
- How digital tools can be leveraged to help facilitate more equitable participation and inclusive pedagogies in teaching and learning
- The dominant corporate structure of edtech that extends surveillance capitalism and control into spaces of teaching and learning
- The necessity of imagining ethical edtech practices that unsettle the digital status quo to imagine more transformative technological practices that serve our liberal arts ideals of democratic participation, education as the exercise of freedom, student engagement and well-being.
- The implications of edtech platforms, systems, and tools on our students data and privacy
- The ways that edtech often reinforces patterns of exclusion and privilege and the possibilities for more equitable and inclusive visions of digital learning in the liberal arts