I began developing this pedagogical website, The Social Justice Classroom, which can be found in this link (https://sandy-burnley.github.io/SJC/) during my CHI fellowship and after attending pedagogical workshops on anti-racism, disability studies, indigenous studies, animal studies, and other social justice issues that inspired me to reframe my approach in both my research and in my teaching. Coming together as a community of responsible instructors and scholars enriched the resources that were available on certain topics but were restricted to a relatively insular niche of scholars working on this particular issue, from this particular lens, and with their specific disciplinary approaches. As an interdisciplinary scholar, I saw the value in threading together and sharing these resources with a larger audience who could adopt what was useful and easily tweak this material to fit their approach and educational environment. I also experienced FOMO as my responsibilities were scattered throughout different departments and often forced me to miss a workshop, conference, or meeting that piqued my interests. While virtual attendance during the pandemic resolved a lot of these scheduling conflicts, I still felt there was a need to crowdsource these valuable documents, approaches, and pedagogical frameworks in an accessible, asynchronous, and open-source platform.
The Social Justice Classroom hosts the generous contributions of collegiate instructors’ ongoing efforts to promote and center social justice in their pedagogy. The site’s collection approaches pedagogy as a constantly evolving practice that does not aim for premature or idealistic conclusions but offers various materials and tools we may use to approach, interrogate, and consistently refine our practices. Contributors use a google form to submit their material and are given the option to pair and contextualize their work with virtual interviews uploaded as MP3s and transcribed for accessibility. This allows users to feel more confident and adopt or remix the work to fit their own approach or discipline, all the while building a collaborative network of transdisciplinary scholars committed to sustaining and persistently improving our pedagogical diversity and inclusivity.
The largest hiccups were how to organize the site and its layout. I strove for cleanliness and uniformity to omit any overstimulation. I decided to add click here buttons for screen readers to easily navigate the site and signpost what users will find on the next page. The second issue was the icons. I used The Noun Project for my icons instead of standard ones to mitigate the offense of certain generic icons that were ill-adapted to suit the purpose for which I was using them.
The next steps to this project will be to gather an editorial board from different departments and disciplines to help review the submissions the site has received but that I am not qualified to assess. Once this editorial board is established, more submissions will be hosted, followed by a way to sign up for updates for users to stay informed when there is new material. I will also add the transcription containers and contact link once the site is posted on its long-term domain during the summer.