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Is your educational content inclusive to all and free of bias? Three areas to consider.

Our personal upbringing and experiences lead to our beliefs which creates the way we view the world. Finding innovative ways to capture bias-free language and references can be a challenge. During the process of content creation for higher education, designers must consider the diversity of learners who read the material and follow the course curriculum. During the editing process, an instructor or course designer must be able to identify a bias and remove it.

I am proud to be a part of Emerson Agency's Self Publishing division, where the Agency and Lumina Datamatics’ have teamed up and developed an artificial intelligence system, which is designed to perform inclusion and diversity audits automatically by engaging natural language processing algorithms.

As a 16-year Adjunct Professor, I see the importance of monitoring content. Todays increased online education means there are fewer borders and much more diversity of students and thought in the courseroom. People like to feel a part of a group, they like to know that course content is relatable, even if it means using a name that is not native to the school's primary region. Examples chosen to explain a topic need to be carefully chosen. Not everyone has grown up with the same cultural background. Take a look at Disney! They had an epic failure as they brought their theme park to France. It was just assumed that kids and their parents would embrace all the characters such as Minnie and Mickie Mouse, like most children from the United States have. No research done by Disney, to make the park "relatable".

#1 - Avoiding Gender Bias

Writing in a non-sexist way requires the ability to recognize sexism in the first place. The next hurdle is to figure out a way to eliminate any inherent sexism without disrupting the flow of the piece. Here are a few techniques to help avoid bias.

Gendered Nouns

The first way to avoid gender bias in your writing is to use gender-neutral words when referring individuals in various positions:

Avoid Try

businessman, businesswoman business executive

chairman, chairwoman chairperson

the common man the average person

salesman, saleswoman salesperson sales clerk, marketer

Avoiding Race and Ethnicity Bias

When speaking about a racial or ethnic group, deciding which term to use can be a tricky subject because the ascribed meaning to particular terms and labels can frequently change. When choosing between terms to refer to a group, it is best to ask a member of that group what they prefer.

As a general rule in a business setting, do not mention a person’s race or ethnicity unless it is directly relevant to the situation.

Avoiding Disability Bias

As a general rule, avoid using labeled nouns when talking about people with disabilities. Try to use emotionally neutral expressions rather than ones that assign a role, such as victim.

Avoid Try

the disabled the people with disabilities

the schizophrenic the person diagnosed with schizophrenia

an AIDS victim a person with AIDS

a person suffering from epilepsy a person with epilepsy

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