Önder organized the course around two new pedagogical strategies: “embodied experiences” and anonymous posts to the class website.
The embodied experiences presented students with tasks that forced them to move outside their comfort zones through a series of “dramatic enactments.” Activities ranged from transgressing social norms like eye contact, to taking on a “disability” and observing how it impacts one’s interactions on campus, to participating in a mini boot camp to simulate the physical and mental conditioning of student veterans.
The anonymous assignments were designed to give students the opportunity to share their honest reactions to their experiences without worrying about how their thoughts would be perceived by the professor or their classmates. These posts as well as student reflection essays revealed the impact the Doyle approach had on student experiences in the course. Önder believes that communicating the Doyle-inspired goals of the course with her students was essential to deepening their engagement with the theme of diversity. In her words, “This made it possible to go much farther in one semester than the normal approach, and made students feel alert to differences and similarities between themselves and others in the class.”