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Tales Of Teaching Online Episode 54

5 September 2022

How to increase belonging and inclusion through character design

In episode 54 of the Tales of Teaching Online podcast Joan Sutherland speaks to Kat Cain and Sarah Fennelly about how characters can increase a sense of belonging and inclusion.

The podcast covered digital equity in Episode 50, with Darren Britten explaining how accessibility is about providing access to everyone regardless of what challenges they face, and inclusion is about providing equal access to people from diverse backgrounds. In this podcast Kat and Sarah talk about how they built an inclusive character pack that could be used across different platforms, including CloudDeakin, promotional material and social media.

To be more inclusive through the character design, there were two factors that were important in the design phase. The first was that students would be able to see themselves in a character, the second was that they would be able to gain new perspectives from different characters that they may not have previously considered.

Kat explains the notion of mirrors and reflections, where they attempted to provide a valuable representation of the different cohorts at Deakin, as well as other broader representations. Through a collaborative process across the University, they were able to determine the different characteristics that would inform the character design.

Sarah highlights that her role as a designer was to translate the information provided by many stakeholders across the University to design and develop these inclusive characters.

These characters are currently used exclusively by the Deakin Library, however there is an appetite to build a more expansive range of inclusive characters to be used in teaching and learning across the University. If you would like to know more and how to access these character packs, contact

Listen to Episode 54 to learn more about building a sense of belonging and inclusion through character design.

Access transcript.

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