Building Virtual Community in a Three-way Distance Learning Course on Race

  • Donald Cunnigen University of Rhode Island
  • Abby Ferber University of Colorado Colorado Springs
  • Bruce Wade Spelman College
Keywords: Distance learning, Online technology, Race, Racism, Cross-racial teaching


This paper contributes to reframing how faculty view distance learning technologies by offering a case study of how diverse faculty from different institutions can utilize new technologies to advance their own pedagogical objectives. The authors discuss a three-way synchronous distance learning course on race, racism, and intersectionality, providing details so that the model can be replicated on other campuses. They discuss the challenges encountered, their goals for the course, and the direct benefits derived by the faculty members. 

Author Biographies

Donald Cunnigen, University of Rhode Island
Donald Cunnigen has a Ph.D. from Harvard University. He suffered a stroke in 2014. He served as president of the Association of Black Sociologists, and the Association of Social and Behavioral Scientists.
Abby Ferber, University of Colorado Colorado Springs
Abby Ferber is a professor of Sociology, and Women's and Ethnic Studies at University of Colorado Colorado Springs. Her research focuses on linkages between far-right and mainstream racial ideology; racial storytelling and remembering; and intersectional theory and pedagogy with an emphasis on privilege.
Bruce Wade, Spelman College
Bruce Wade is a professor of sociology at Spelman College. His current research interests include technological pedagogy and health disparities.
How to Cite
Cunnigen, D., Ferber, A., & Wade, B. (2017). Building Virtual Community in a Three-way Distance Learning Course on Race. Understanding and Dismantling Privilege, 7(1), 1-19. Retrieved from