The term diversity is used a lot. But what does it actually mean? Diversity describes the variety of all people and their different ways of life. The term does however mean even more. “It’s primarily about individual and institutional attitudes and strategies to help recognize diversity and combat discrimination,” explains Yasemin Karakasoglu, professor of intercultural education at the University of Bremen. Accordingly, diversity competence means dealing with images in people’s minds and institutional barriers that hinder equal access to various areas of society for people of different social or ethnic backgrounds, gender, sexual orientation, religious affiliation or worldview, age, or physical or mental abilities. Among the aim of the series of courses, she said, is the understanding that very different dimensions of diversity can overlap.
“In the new online course, we are concerned with raising awareness among and enabling students to deal with each other in a diversity-conscious, appreciative, and discrimination-critical manner and thereby develop a (self-)critical view of their own attitudes and of the system in which they live and work, so that they can form their own informed opinion,” says the professor. The video series analyzes practical examples from this perspective, such as the impact of gender and sexual orientation on access to the labor market, discrimination in the housing market, or racism in the education system.
Each of the 13 chapters begins with a short introductory video on the topic. Renowned international academics will address various diversity issues from different research perspectives and highlight fields of action from different areas of society. These include: Professor Gabi Bellenberg (Ruhr-Universität Bochum), Professor Kerstin Knopf (University of Bremen), Professor Rozena Maart (University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa), Professor Paul Mecheril (Bielefeld University), Dr. Emilia Roig (Founder and Director of the Center for Intersectional Justice), Professor Andrea Petö (Central European University, Budapest, Hungary).
“The course is the result of collaboration between an interdisciplinary team at the University of Bremen,” says Dr. Jutta Paal of the International Office. It consists of staff members of the Center for Multimedia in Education ( ZMML) and the International Office, the Officer for Diversity Management Nele Kuhn, and an academic advisory committee (Professor Yasemin Karakasoglu and Professor Kerstin Knopf). The project was led and managed by Dr. Nadine Binder in cooperation with InterCultur, a Hamburg-based nonprofit company specializing in intercultural education projects.
Offer for a Broad Target Group
“The topic of diversity is very complex,” says Nele Kuhn, Officer for Diversity Management. “As a result, it’s impossible to cover the entire spectrum, but the course highlights a large number of diverse perspectives in a way that is exemplary and easy to understand for a broad target group.”
The course was inspired primarily by the guiding principles of the University of Bremen’s 2017 diversity strategy, which was instrumental for the content.
Due to the creation of a pure online format and the integration into eGeneral Studies at the ZMML, all students of the University of Bremen can participate in the course. eGeneral Studies (eGS) are completely video-based online courses and are offered as Supplementary Degree Courses at the University of Bremen. The offer is aimed at all students who would like to acquire knowledge and competencies that fit to their individual and heterogeneous learning requirements. However, it is also open to anyone else who is interested.
Accompanying Videos in Sign Language
The online course “Diversity Competencies” has been designed to be as accessible as possible and provided with accompanying videos in sign language and subtitles. This was made possible by the cooperation with the University of Bremen’s BALLON project and the company Skarabee – Das Team für Gebärdensprachen. To receive credit points (3 CPs), students complete the course by taking an electronic examination at the University of Bremen’s Testcenter.
Coordination of digital courses
Center for Multimedia in Education (ZMML)
University of Bremen
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