What is it about?

How can we improve minority achievements in higher education? We test an intervention that modifies the institutional learning space to convey a sense of belonging. This was achieved by altering the display of the lecturer's name on Zoom from the default (one language option) to three languages (including Arabic). We find that the intervention positively impacted minority students’ sense of belonging, class participation, and overall grades.

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Why is it important?

Our work demonstrates how a light-touch intervention can have substantive impact on minority students in higher education. We emphasize the critical role institutions play in shaping minority students reality. While most psychological interventions take a bottom up approach to social change, this intervention takes a top down approach, and by that makes way for more research on how institutions can reshape reality for the better.

Perspectives

I am a strong believer that real social change requires both a bottom-up and a top-down approach. I am proud of this work because it pioneers an attempt to tackle how a top down approach in psychology would look like, and the results make me very optimistic.

Roni Porat
Hebrew University of Jerusalem

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This page is a summary of: Zoom out: An intervention on the virtual learning environment improves minority students’ grades in two field experiments in Israel, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, May 2024, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2313496121.
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