Fall 2020: I-Course Pilot Program

The INCLUDE team has developed three (3) revised courses which are being piloted in the Fall 2020 semester. These three courses are aimed at providing an improved educational experience for students in their sophomore and junior years. Students enrolled in the INCLUDE sections of the following courses may choose to participate in research that will provide valuable feedback that will further shape the course redesign process.

  • CE 2110 - Applied Mechanics I (Statics)
  • CE 3110 - Mechanics of Materials
  • ENVE3120 - Fluid Mechanics

I-Course Standards

The I-Course Standards Framework was developed to guide the course redesign process of the CEE INCLUDE Working Group during the summer of 2020. The CEE INCLUDE Working Group collaborated with educational design coaches, experts from the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, and faculty from the Neag School of Education to create these standards for our I-Courses.

I-Courses are anchored by a commitment to a Strength-based Approach and centered around three core course features: Culture of Inclusion, Teaching and Learning, and Instructional Design.  

Strength-based approach

Studies of strength-based initiatives in higher education settings show that exposure to a strength-based interventions can produce immediate positive short-term effects including increases in confidence, self-efficacy and learning breakthroughs (Louis, 2011). By incorporating awareness of student and faculty strengths into teaching and learning, it is hoped that I-Courses may enhance engagement, motivation, and persistence in the face of challenges (Schreiner, 2014).

Culture of Inclusion

Course instructor builds a culture of inclusion by:

  • communicating their commitment to inclusion via a written or verbal statement to students
  • learning more about cognitive and other forms of diversity through workshops, readings, or other professional development opportunities
  • connecting with their students and/or otherwise encouraging a sense of belonging

Teaching and Learning

Course instructor carefully considers ways to encourage student motivation and engagement by

  • providing opportunities for active learning
  • building in some elements of flexibility or choice that allow students to personalize their education to meet their learning needs and preferences
  • providing multiple modes of feedback and communication to students about their learning

Instructional Design

Course instructor undertakes a design process that

  • centers students as stakeholders in the educational experience
  • provides scaffolding and/or other supports for student learning
  • follows principles of Universal Design to make the course accessible to all types of learners

I-Course Inclusion Statement

An I-Course Syllabus should include a personalized inclusion statement from the faculty/instructor teaching the course. A sample inclusion statement is included below:

I am a member of the INCLUDE program team, an NSF-funded neurodiversity initiative that aspires to create an inclusive learning environment in which all students can thrive. Emphasis is given to providing a strength-based approach to education that encourages students to identify, develop, and leverage their unique abilities to address complex engineering problems. This course was designed to address the diverse ways of thinking and learning that neurodiverse students possess. Several pedagogical innovations will be implemented in this course including, but not limited to peer-learning, alternative examination modalities, project-based learning, etc.


If you aren't teaching a course that is designated as an I-Course, but you still want to build a culture of inclusion for neurodiverse students, consider a statement such as:

I believe in creating an inclusive learning environment for all students and I value my students' unique ways of thinking and learning.  If you are experiencing difficulties for any reason, or if you would like to talk about ways that we can help you to succeed in this course, please contact me or your TA.