How does the mission of your business address racism?
What can each of us do as online educators, to address this systemic problem?
At the Learn and Get Smarter community meeting on Saturday, June 6th, in the midst of one of the most tumultuous weeks in American history, we took a hard look at our businesses and our areas of expertise. And we found some surprising and encouraging connections.
For example, this article from the New York Times points out that the African American community is being affected more adversely than other communities, by the move to online learning, for reasons relating to computer ownership and internet access among many others. But while many people don't have computers, most do have smartphones.
What this means for online educators is that it's critical to make sure our online courses are mobile friendly and responsive, so that people accessing them from smartphones have the same opportunity to learn as those using computers.
One might not have thought of "mobile first" as a tool for fighting systemic racism.
It may be a small tool, but it's an important one.
In fact, while large sweeping changes are certainly required, it may be small micro-shifts that hold the most power. As one of our brilliant community members, Janice Fingler, pointed out, " Microshifts are very valuable right now... on an individual scale. Making shifts in how we interact with each other becomes a way of slowly nudging the system."
What micro-shifts can you make in your business, to contribute to fighting racism?
What is YOUR business mission and your purpose for teaching online?
How do these promote justice, fairness, equality and opportunity for all?
Ben & Jerry's provides an inspiring (and tasty!) example of powerful business values that really pack a punch (as well as a pint).
While remaining true to their core business focus on providing delicious ice cream, Ben & Jerry's also focuses on promoting social justice. As they explain on the "Values" page of their website, they begin their focus on values "inside the pint", by supporting local sustainable farming.
I thought about this example with reference to my own business. What are MY main ingredients and how can I use them to fight racism?
My main supplier is my licensed image subscription. I work hard to ensure that the images of people on my website and in my courses and marketing materials represent and include all races, and not just in token ways.
Over time I've been able to train the search algorithm to show me more diverse groups of people and specifically, more African American people, so that my web page and course materials reflect the values I hold of being a place of welcome for all.
Being mobile friendly? Showing diverse images? These are small things. These are micro shifts. But they lead to big things, because online learning must be both accessible and welcoming if people of all races are to benefit from it.
But the big shift that my business makes is the shift to online learning that really delivers on the promises it makes.
How does that fight racism?
Education has always been a tool in the fight against racism.
Lack of education, poor education, and education that does not contribute to the empowerment and well-being of all people, are the equivalent of missing, broken, or even dangerous tools.
The Covid19 pandemic has adversely affected people of color more than others due to the effects of systemic racism. The pandemic has also shifted the focus of education online, much faster than would have happened otherwise.
It's critical that education delivered online be not only accessible and welcoming to people of all races, but also highly effective at actually teaching what is promised.
Parents and community members may need to step into the gap to ensure that students of all ages are able to learn as well online as they used to in physical classrooms.
Helping my students and clients create effective online learning programs helps THEIR clients and students, who can be of any race. My goal is to provide opportunity for all through highly effective online learning that really WORKS.
My mission is to ensure that as you create your own online courses you have everything you need to provide powerful, effective tools that promote positive change and deliver real transformation for the people you are here to serve.
The Course Design Formula Master Course starts June 16th!
Make this YOUR summer to make a powerful difference for the people you're here to serve.
If you're willing to devote 2 hours a week to class and 2 hours a week to creating your course, you'll be ready to teach online in a way that really makes a difference, by fall.
Write to Rebecca@learnandgetsmarter.com to reserve your spot!
The Learn and Get Smarter community is diverse demographically and geographically, while being united in shared goals of service, transformation, and making a difference through teaching online.
Online teaching can create jobs and promote entrepreneurship for everyone. Being one's own boss is a great solution for anyone who faces a glass ceiling (or worse) in the traditional workplace.
There are many role models of highly successful African American entrepreneurs in the online learning space, such as Xayli Barclay and Danielle Leslie.
There are many vibrant, dynamic and successful experts and entrepreneurs of all races and backgrounds, within the Learn and Get Smarter community.
(Perhaps some of them would like to step forward and showcase their work in this space in future weeks. That's an option we can discuss at the Learn and Get Smarter community meeting on Saturday, June 13th).
I hope to see you there as we continue to explore our work and service in the context of these challenging and historic times!
Register for the meeting
Saturday, June 13th 2020
9 AM Pacific/ 12 noon Eastern