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North Carolina State University

How can the design of an online course material preparation tool that uses machine learning assist design educators in identifying their social positionality to improve accommodations for marginalized students, build empathy for intersectional out-grouped identities, diversify cultural perspectives in course materials, and encourage critical reflection to develop a more inclusive pedagogy?

Master of Graphic + Experience Design Thesis Project

(D)esign (E)ducat(i)on

Promoting Diverse, Equitable, and Inclusive Design Pedagogies during Course Preparation

Although an increasing number of design students identify as belonging to a marginalized social group, the absence of diverse perspectives in design curricula perpetuates implicit racism and systemic oppression, which disadvantages intersectional students (AIGA, 2021; Costanza-Chock, 2020). This investigation explores how a course material preparation tool can aid design educators in recognizing biases and fostering empathy for intersectional identities, motivating them to diversify cultural perspectives in supplementary materials and incorporate moments of critical reflection during class preparation processes.


Using their social identity positionality as a framework to focus on building empathy for their social out-groups, this investigation aims to strengthen educators’ cognitive empathy for intersectional identities through an archive of narratives from current and former design students. These experiential student narratives may promote the development of course materials that serve intersectional students and motivate the diversification of materials to include diverse cultural perspectives. Further, this study proposes that ML-generated reflective prompts may guide educators in critically engaging with topics of privilege and discrimination, recognizing potential areas of growth, and encouraging lifelong learning by documenting their experience using the developed tool.

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