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Build Inclusive Hands-On Environments

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An instructor might devote time and effort to build an inclusive classroom, only to have these efforts undermined by a student’s experience of an exclusive and inequitable situation in the lab, the field, or archival space. Building IDEAL hands-on environments is an integral component of creating a unified and inclusive course experience for students. 

Laboratories, archives, studios, and the field are examples of course learning environments in which students conduct hand-on course activities that cannot be done within the classroom. Such spaces play a vital role in students' learning by providing alternative ways of interacting with course content, applying and deepening learning, developing more advanced skills in research and creation, and fostering extended interaction with peers.

Many of the same strategies for building inclusive classrooms can be applied to build inclusive hands-on environments, but they must be adapted to the unique features of these spaces and their learning purpose.

More Team Project Ideas

Steps to consider


  • Articulate and interrogate norms specific to the space, and to the discipline’s research and creation activities
    (Module 2: Integrating Peer-to-Peer Learning, Module 3: Creating a Positive Course Community, and Module 6: Anti-Racist Pedagogy)
  • Closely evaluate required materials, and lower or subsidize costs
    (Module 4: Making Success Accessible) 
  • Promote learning for students with different prior experiences
    (Module 4: Making Success Accessible, and Module 5: Giving Inclusive Assessments)
  • Enable access for students with disabilities
    (Module 4: Making Success Accessible)
  • Diversify the methods and exemplars presented to students
    (Module 1: Include Diverse Representation, and Module 6: Anti-Racist Pedagogy)

Go to the IDEAL Pedagogy Canvas course to explore the learning modules referenced above.

Stanford examples and resources

Equity and inclusion in STEM lab courses guide for lab course development and iteration from CTL (Google Doc).


Ahmad, Afra Saeed, Isaac Sabat, Rachel Trump-Steele, and Eden King. 2019. “Evidence-Based Strategies for Improving Diversity and Inclusion in Undergraduate Research Labs.” Frontiers in Psychology 10.

Chaudhary VB, Berhe AA (2020) Ten simple rules for building an antiracist lab. PLoS Comput Biol 16(10): e1008210.

Emery, Nathan C., Ellen K. Bledsoe, Andrew O. Hasley, and Carrie Diaz Eaton. 2021. “Cultivating Inclusive Instructional and Research Environments in Ecology and Evolutionary Science.” Ecology and Evolution 11 (4): 1480–91.

Fedesco, Heather N., Drew Cavin, and Regina Henares. 2020. “Field-Based Learning in Higher Education: Exploring the Benefits and Possibilities.” Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning 20 (1).

Barriers and facilitators to students with physical disabilities’ participation in academic laboratory spaces, Jeannis et al., 2019

Stefaniak, Kristina R., Merrie K. Winfrey, Anna C. Curtis, and Sarah A. Kennedy. 2021. “Implementing an Iterative and Collaborative Approach to Inclusive First-Semester General Chemistry Laboratory Redesign.” Journal of Chemical Education 98 (2): 340–49.