UEL uses micro-learning platform to advance racial equity on campus

UEL, the multi-campus, East London university which hosts 15,000 students from over 150 countries, has engaged GoodCourse, the pioneering micro-learning company to roll out TikTok-style, micro-learning courses on equity and inclusion to the university’s incoming cohort of first-year students.

The initiative is being spearheaded by Professor Buge Apampa, Dean for the Office of Institutional Equity at UEL, who’s responsible for advancing institutional equity for students and staff. Her team has a strong track record on inclusion and was one of the first institutions in the country to be awarded Advanced HE’s Race Equality Charter (REC) – bronze award. The Charter provides a framework through which institutions work to identify and self-reflect on institutional and cultural barriers standing in the way of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic staff and students.

While some progress on equity, diversity, and inclusion has been made across higher-education institutions in recent years, deep-rooted racial inequity still remains. A report from Universities UK (UUK) highlighted the awarding gap that exists at the vast majority of universities between students of different ethnicities. The report stated that it was imperative that “difficult conversations about race, racial stereotypes, microaggressions and biases are held within universities, regardless of feelings of unease”.

UEL is tackling this challenge head-on, starting with first-year students who will be taking courses on bystander intervention and microaggression training. Where classic e-learning courses or in-person workshops have historically failed to engage student populations, Professor Apampa and her team recognised the value of GoodCourse’s learning design proposition – which encompasses TikTok-style videos to capture the attention of a new generation.

The course content is designed by psychologists specialising in equity, diversity, and inclusion and delivered by young, relatable personalities, many of whom are TikTok influencers. The platform has been designed to feel like the familiar social media apps students use every day, with learners swiping through each section of a course. The visual style is vibrant and the language is intentionally jargon-free and relatable to Gen-Z learners.

Professor Apampa, Dean for the Office of Institutional Equity at UEL said: “University is not just about knowledge, it’s also about becoming a global citizen. We need to make more space for developmental activities that help promote people’s sense of belonging. The courses and the way they’re delivered by GoodCourse are a totally different proposition from anything else we’ve seen. They’re designed with the audience fully in mind which makes them highly engaging. Crucially, students can take them straight on their phones in just four or five minutes a day – we all loved it.”

Chris Mansfield, GoodCourse co-founder, said: “Both organisations share the vision that campuses should be safe spaces for students to be able to learn and have positive life experiences. Driving real progress on inclusion and student safety requires a wholly new and holistic approach that is proven to engage students on such issues and gives them confidence in their university – which is why we’re so excited to partner with UEL.”