Need innovative ideas

Dec 15, 2011

Any ideas on the most innovative way to create a e-learning module on affirmative action for a university? Just need some slide ideas to make this serious topic pop....

11 Replies
Iman Moore


I have attached the PowerPoint that I just redid using one of the templates that Tom put on the E-learning Heroes Blog (also used some of the people and other graphics).  The Vice Chancellor wants also wants a video (I have found one just hoping that it will allow me to embed it and that it will play in Articulate) and more "engaging" graphics. There is a storyboard that goes along with the PowerPoint that would provide the "meat" of the presentation.  Thanks in advance for any ideas you can provide.


Doug Mattson

I can see a couple of spots for scenarios, where dialogue takes place in the work setting to show the participant what discrimination looks and sounds like, in order to help them identify it when they actually see it.  Tom has some great articles on how to build them.  Here's one:

Ron Price


I agree with Bruce . . . it looks like there are some opportunities for Scenarios here.  Using the Scenarios to set up a "What would you do?" can help you create more of an interest in what the policies are and especially the gray areas or fuzzy lines that people tend to deal with on a day to day basis.

I like Tom's template and graphics, but not sure if they represent the visual voice of the course.

UNC-G?  I have some good friends there - I led an Articulate class there for Preston Yarborough when he was there - and my dear friend Marin Burton runs the experiential center out at Piney Lake - spent many of days there with her. . . 

"It's a small world, but I wouldn't want to paint it"  (Steven Wright)

David Anderson

Hi Iman,

Innovative? I can't say. But here are a few design ideas that aren't found in typical courses.

Idea: Open with an inappropriate question that everyone fails:
 "What race are you?" "What color are you?" and so on. It doesn't matter because regardless of their choice, a popup will inform them they can't take the course because of who they are. Inform them you appreciate their time but they'll have to find another course. Please click Exit to close out. Good bye. Then transition into your intro.

Idea alternative: Use something similar to Harvard's Implicit Association Test to demonstrate the need for the training and the importance of the law.

Idea: Reverse it or turn it around
Begin each module (scenario, quiz, fully-developed vignette) with the opposite of what the module is about. I'm thinking Day Without a Mexican here. What would affirmative action look like if were designed to enable discrimination?   Use that to lead into a specific chapter's topic.

Idea: Use a "myths and misconception" design for the course.

Open each section or module with a common myth or misconception. That could be a good way to go since everyone "knows" about affirmative action but probably has a misconception or two about it.

Oh and Greensboro? I got my Siberian Husky in Greensboro

Melanie Sobie

Hi Inman,

In my local area, there is a newsletter published by an attorney with a law firm that has some excellent articles from which you could use tidbits to create very interesting realistic scenarios. His name is Bob Gregg. At this link, go to Reading Room on the right hand side; then click Labor and Employment Law and you can see the archives listing of all the newsletters. Previous to my recent plunge into the e-learning design world, I worked in the EEO/AA unit of the state agency I am working in, and I learned so much from his speeches and trainings that I attended about the EEO/AA field.

I also agree that using a couple of myths and misconceptions would be great in the course. I think the biggest myth is that AA is about quotas. Second biggest myth is  that EEO doesn't apply to white guys.

Another idea is to include real life stories of people you know that if not for affirmative action laws and such they would have never escaped the continuing discrimination they endured. I have used a couple of these stories in trainings I've conducted. My mother-in-law worked in finace for a large national corporation back in the 1970's and because of a class action suit that had been filed by other females she was finally promoted to a supervisor position.  A coworker I met about 10 years ago told me a story about how she worked for the Postal Service for 20 years and always had to train the new supervisors they hired for years and years. Male college graduates. She wasn't permitted to apply. Then as a result of a class action lawsuit, she was finally promoted to the supervisor position and was the first female supervisor of that type of mail processing center ever. My last supervisor, who is in her 50's told me about how when her mother was pregnant with her and applying for jobs they would ask her if she was pregnant (she wasn't even visibly showing yet at all), and when she answered Yes they told her to not bother applying. It happened every place she went.

I went to a training once and they showed a PBS video production about a high school. In the class, students took dna swabs (inside the cheek) and sent them off for DNA analysis. The kids were assigned to research their family history, if available, and try to guess whom else in the class they were most similar. When the DNA results came back the teacher reviewed them all and they were all completely suprised. The kids thought that because of similar skin color and other basic things they might be genetically similar, but the DNA showed much different. And the final point of it all was that we are all so much similar to each other than we are different - in a huge way. It was a completely different take on diversity and it certainly captured my attention. if you look at PBS online you might be able to find that video.

Sorry for such a long winded post!  Hope this information helps!

Iman Moore

Thank you all for your suggestions and recommendations! @ Ron: Do you have any suggestions for a template?  @ David: I especially like the myths and misconceptions design idea.  @ Melanie: The video that I have identified is a PBS video so hopefully I can embed it without trouble.  Let me ask you all this, do I scrap what I had completely and start fresh or do I simply retool it?

Melanie Sobie

Hi Inman,

When I made my original post, I hadn't yet opened and looked at your storyboard or PPT.  I see that you need to cover things like the affirmative action plan, recruitment, selection, etc. I don't know if it works like this where you are, but in the state agency I work in, alot of the AA goals and processes happen automatically in the background for recruitment and selection, so supervisors don't realize how many of their job functions are tied to AA. For instance, positions are posted on many different job boards and other outreach resources in an attempt to reach more under-represented groups. Increasing the applicant pools with more diverse individuals casts a wider net and results in getting more qualified candidates to apply.

Since your training is for supervisors, you might want to show how the AA practices and principles work when they need to hire an individual.  Supervisors play a key role in ensuring equal employment opportunities and affirmative action plan elements are achieved, but they don't often realize it because it is kind of invisible to them and handled by HR or other process that are built in place to happen automatically.  Tying the concept of AA to a supervisor's role and what they do in recruitment, hiring and coaching and developing their own staff makes it real to them.

If you need to cover the AA-related laws an engage interaction historical timeline works great for that.

Supervisors play a big role as you know in day to day activities relating to equal opportunity.  One example that I've used that can turn the lightbulb on for a supervisor is a very common situation that can get a supervisor in hot water. With restricted budgets, some supervisors will not think twice about telling certain staff they won't be allowed to go to training or enter a leadership development program because the employee is going to be retiring in a couple of years. That can be an act of age discrimination.

Sammy Hwang

How about starting with an interesting legal case? That is what I  would do. You might want to watch the clip in the below. I really like Professor Sandel's lecture series because he starts with his lecture with introducing a legal case related to a topic. And he does not try to lead a debate. What he does is to facilitate the debate among students. No wonder why he is such a  popular professor.

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