Author Archives: bizcombuzz

Tips to Create an Inclusive Classroom

The 2020 census made it official: America is an increasingly diverse country. And while that finding confirmed what many college instructors had been seeing in their classrooms for years, addressing the needs of such a diverse student body can be overwhelming.

Enter inclusivity in higher education, a movement that strives to improve pedagogy to meet all students’ needs, especially those in marginalized groups. This ongoing process seeks to transform learning systems, and campuses across the country are tackling the situation.

A recent pedagogy workshop at Johns Hopkins University addressed how to accommodate the needs of disparate learners. Instructors explored best practices for creating inclusive classrooms. Led by Dr. Karen Fleming, a nationally recognized expert who works to overcome biases against women in STEM, workshop attendees first examined their own biases by completing a series of surveys designed to illuminate unconscious biases. [The tests are available to anyone and results are confidential.]

Many instructors were shocked after the surveys revealed their own unintentional prejudices, but they learned that accepting this reality was the first step to overcome them. Then the group brainstormed strategies to make their classrooms more inclusive. Some of their results are shown below.

  • Establish classroom protocols for discussions and group activities, whether teaching online or in person. Revisit these procedures during the semester to both remind students and to adjust the rules.
  • Encourage students to speak up when they sense that a mistake was made, even an unintentional one, so the entire class can learn from the error.
  • Invite guest speakers from a broad mix of cultures, backgrounds, and identities.
  • Include a mix of course materials and content using video, images, research papers, and graphs.
  • Incorporate frequent classroom activities that consider differences in learning acquisition.
  • Follow accessibility guidelines such as including closed captioning or transcripts.
  • Provide opportunities for students to respond anonymously so they can express themselves without fear of judgment.
  • Conduct small group activities so students can learn about one another. [Refer to our post on best practices for group activities online, which are easily adapted to the live classroom.] Urge students to form study groups with their classmates.

College instructors possess a unique opportunity to model as well as encourage inclusive behavior that will benefit students long after they leave the academy.

Strategies for an Inclusive Classroom. (2021, July 28). The Innovative Instructor Blog. Retrieved from

It’s Okay to Network Without Drinking… Getting Students to Do the Reading… How Instructors Can Help Student Well-Being

It’s Okay to Network Without Drinking

People don’t consume alcohol for a host of reasons—medication interactions, mental health, or other disabilities—and non-drinkers may not want to share those reasons in professional settings. Nevertheless, many networking opportunities center around drinking, with comments such as Come on, just one often a recurring chorus.

Consequently, those who avoid consuming alcohol should prepare comebacks to questions or comments about their status. If asked to take a drink, the abstinent networker should be able to leave it at an even-toned Thanks, I’m good. The more specific response, I don’t drink, begs a follow-up Why? In this case, the best response is to remain poised, avoid sounding defensive, and move onto another topic.

Moss, H. (2021, July 8.) How I navigate networking events as a person who doesn’t drink. Fast Company. Retrieved from https//

Getting Students to Do the Reading

Do your students ignore assigned readings? If so, try one or several of the strategies below to encourage compliance.

Grade. Assign evaluative summaries of readings or give reading quizzes. The more weight awarded to reading goes toward final grades, the more likely students are to do it.

Don’t summarize. Avoid doing the work for students by covering the reading in depth during class.

Integrate readings into class sessions. Discuss and encourage questions about readings or put students into groups to discuss main takeaways with prepared prompts.

Assign less. Undergraduates respond best to a “less is more” approach.

Suarez, F. (2021, July 12.) 5 weeks to a better semester: Who’s done the reading? Chronicle of Higher Education Newsletter.

How Instructors Can Help Student Well-Being

Isolation, loneliness, and anxiety mark many students’ experience of higher education since the pandemic. Without taking on the role of therapist, instructors can help their charges by heeding a few tips.

  1. Don’t overwhelm students. Many students already feel they have lost out on learning opportunities and are playing catch-up, so make review a part of teaching practices. Use empathy when communicating during class and in online communications to help students feel supported.
  2. Focus on the process of learning. Students may not understand that struggling is part of learning. Remind them about the process of acquiring knowledge and provide opportunities for them to take multiple stabs at assigned work.
  3. Offer a “big picture” of curriculum. Throughout the term, make connections between the course content and what students can take away from learning activities.

Imad, M. (2021, July 8.) Pedagogy of healing: Bearing witness to trauma and resilience. Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved from



Polishing Parallelism

Although parallelism sounds as if it might be a gymnastic feat, it is a writing technique that involves skillful, balanced writing. Sentences written so that their parts are balanced or parallel are easy to read and understand. Parallelism satisfies our basic love of symmetry. We remember expressions such as of the people, by the people, for the people and Seeing is believing (not Seeing is to believe).

To achieve parallel construction, use similar structures to express similar ideas. For example, the words computing, recording, and storing are parallel because the words all end in ­–ing. To express the list as computing, recording, and storage is disturbing because the last item is not what the reader expects. Try to match nouns with nouns, verbs with verbs, and clauses with clauses. Avoid mixing active-voice verbs with passive-voice verbs. Your goal is to keep the wording balanced when expressing similar ideas.

Lacks Parallelism Achieves Parallelism
Candidates must be reliable, creative, and show enthusiasm. Candidates must be reliable, creative, and enthusiastic.
The committee is expected to monitor timeliness, quality is to be verified, and provide feedback. The committee is expected to monitor timeliness, verify quality, and provide feedback.
Our advertisements have three objectives:

(a) We want to increase product use.

(b) Introduce complementary products.

(c) Our corporate image must be enhanced.

Our advertisements have three objectives:

(a) Increase product use

(b) Introduce complementary products

(c) Enhance our corporate image

Not only must we check our website, but also monitoring the entire internet is a necessity. Not only must we check our website, but also we must monitor the entire internet.

Improve the following sentences by perfecting opportunities for parallelism.

  1. My boss is well-informed, witty, and she is fair.
  2. Business messages must be concise, correct, and written with clarity.
  3. In preparing to write a business report, you should determine the report purpose, identify the relevant issues, and then information must be collected.
  4. Good listeners do the following: (a) They usually stop talking, (b) Remove distractions (c) Questions are asked but they must be relevant.
  5. Guidelines for improving workplace safety include changing locks before moving into a new office, interior lights should be left on even when the business is closed, and fire exits must always be kept unlocked.
  6. Not only do we design and support your new wireless network, but also troubleshooting and free consulting are provided by us.
  7. The most important considerations for today’s job candidates are the salary, the environment of work, and candidates give special consideration to career advancement opportunities.
  8. This week’s program is all about money—earning it, investing it, and how you will spend it!
  9. A high-powered MBA costs hundreds of dollars an hour. Our program covers the same sage advice (a) Starting a business (b) You will learn information about writing a business plan and understanding taxes (c) How to write a marketing feasibility study (d) Employment benefits plans and licensing requirements are studied.
  10. Not only were the training sessions stimulating, but also they were a challenge.
  11. The proposal will elaborate on (a) dealing with the public, (b) how to obtain corporate contributions, and (c) the timing of a marketing campaign.
  12. One way small businesses can attract talented employees is to provide opportunities to telecommute, working in virtual teams, and encourage employees to collaborate online.
  13. Classes will be available in training for strength, being flexible, reduction of stress, and aerobic/cardiovascular conditioning.
  14. We have hired a consultant to help managers stay on track with the new organizational plan, team resources must be developed, and they will monitor customer feedback.
  15. [Convert to a vertical list.]  To make a YouTube video you should first obtain a video recording device such as a cell phone, webcam, or camcorder. The most popular YouTube videos are video blogs, comedy skits, how-to videos, and travel videos. Decide what you want to make. Remember that your video must be 10 minutes or less for traditional YouTube membership accounts. You will want to create a video with good light quality, and that usually means daytime recording. Finally, be sure to use computer editing software to change or delete anything.

Polishing Parallelism Exercise

Key-Polishing Parallelism