Using an Ethos of Care to Bridge the Digital Divide: Exploring Faculty Narratives During a Global Pandemic

Kari Goin Kono, Sonja Taylor


Prior to the COVID-19 emergency, some faculty resisted the move to digital learning formats due to concerns for student equity or that engagement would suffer. The purpose of this study was to understand how faculty adapted their courses during the rapid shift to remote and online learning in the spring of 2020, and to understand the role of equity in their experiences. Faculty narratives revealed that elements such as flexibility, reducing coursework to essential content, and personalization – all stemming from an ethos of care – were effective in mitigating the equity issues that surfaced during the emergency transition to universal remote learning. Our findings support the critical importance of extending culturally sustainable practices to all online learning environments in higher education as a way to mitigate equity issues related to the digital divide. These findings are in line with, and contribute to, the growing body of research on culturally sustaining pedagogy within the context of online learning.


culturally sustaining pedagogy, digital divide, ethos of care, narrative inquiry, online learning

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