Morong & DesBiens, 2016

Morong, G., & DesBiens, D. (2016). Culturally responsive online design: learning at intercultural intersections. Intercultural Education, 27(5), 474–492.


This article presents evidence-based guidelines to inform culturally responsive online learning design in higher education. Intercultural understanding is now a recognised core learning outcome in a large majority of Canadian public universities; however, supporting design methodology is underdeveloped, especially in online contexts. Our search for valid intercultural learning design criteria began with two questions: What is the research evidence for learning design practices that support intercultural learning? In what ways do current course design rubrics address intercultural learning? For answers, first we explored recent literature reviews, articles, books, professional discourse on cultural aspects of learning, and the related internationalisation and Indigenous literatures on formal learning. Next, we examined three course design rubrics commonly used in Canada to identify practice supports and gaps in relation to the literature. Various research-indicated supports are present in these rubrics; however, major gaps include critical and holistic pedagogies, explicit intercultural learning outcomes, and intentional diversity group work. The proposed guidelines synthesise key research-indicated supports for intercultural learning and show how they can be integrated in core online course design components. The guidelines present a base for online design methodology to support intercultural learning and enable formative evaluation of pedagogy, learning activity and assessment applications.


Online learning design, intercultural learning, Indigenisation, internationalisation, critical discourse, engaged pedagogies