University of Edinburgh launch unconscious bias course tailored for students

23rd November 2017

The University of Edinburgh has become the first university to launch an unconscious bias course tailored for the student context. The course, designed to be taken on mobile devices, will help students to be fair-minded and critique without bias when evaluating staff and services.

The University of Edinburgh’s 37,000 students will complete the course to help them understand their unconscious biases by asking the tough questions about individual self-awareness of bias, the power of prejudice, and what every student can do to commit to equality, diversity and inclusion. The Unconscious Bias course is the first on what will be a range of courses designed to prepare students for university life.

 

Professor Alan F. Murray, Assistant Principal of Academic Support and also Professor of Neural Electronics in the School of Engineering, explains the need for the unconscious bias course tailored for students:

‘We have a strong need to help both our staff and students to understand and deal with’ unconscious bias their own and that of others. Our students are highly able and very enquiring. It was therefore important to develop a course that explained the theory’ of unconscious bias (providing routes to further reading) as well as helping students to understand their own biases and ways of addressing them. The Marshall team were keen to understand both what we wanted from the course and the nature of our students.’

Marshall E-Learning has seen a strong upward trend in Unconscious Bias training being commissioned by universities and colleges across the UK, with the difference that these courses are being commissioned from the perspective of students, not just staff.

David Marshall, Managing Director at Marshall E-Learning, said:

‘The course content was designed to give students a far better understanding of their own bias and how they can look at addressing it. But beyond the course, this shows an appetite in UK higher education for going beyond general diversity training and learning how to implement diversity training in practical situations, an appetite from people who’ve completed different diversity training to understand how bias might affect them in meetings, talking to students, dealing with associations.’

‘The student context is very important, for two reasons. Firstly, by putting the learning in a setting that is familiar to them we immediately capture their attention, engagement levels rise. Secondly, the context is already correct, we’re not asking the learners to work hard to try and establish links between generic unconscious bias information and their own day-to-day setting. By immersing the learner in an environment they recognise and understand, it becomes easier to apply the learning objectives.’

Marshall E-Learning’s Unconscious Bias course explains how we can overcome our unconscious bias to improve decision making and professional relationships, and to create more open, inclusive and effective organisations.

Using examples and interactive exercises the course takes a straightforward look at one of the most important current issues in diversity management.

As David Marshall explains, it was important to make sure the design of the course appealed to students:

‘ It’s important that the solution we offer looks modern, is engaging and offers practical advice. Students have access to every form of technology, they have grown up in an internet generation, they are used to accessing online information and have expectations on how that should look. Getting the look and feel of a course right with the demographic is a challenging and requires a modern approach to the graphical treatment.’

Full details of the Unconscious Bias course can be found here.

For those interested in finding out more about the Unconscious Bias e-learning course, please contact David Marshall on 0845 123 3909 or contactus@marshallacm.co.uk.

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